The Race for Comedian In Chief

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By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Casting about for more low-rated television shows to shill for, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate John McCain have shot "funny" campaign ads for this Thursday's season finale of "Last Comic Standing," NBC announced yesterday.

The 30-second-ish "ads" are a real coup for the NBC comic-competition series. This season it's pulling in its smallest audience yet, about 5 million viewers, which is slightly smaller than in that third, rushed season in fall '04 when NBC yanked the low-rated show and sold the finale to Comedy Central.

Speaking of Comedy Central, we're guessing the candidates got sucked into doing this for "Last Comic Standing" after getting good notices for their appearances on, say, "The Daily Show" -- which, they are about to find out, has mostly to do with how good Jon Stewart is at making them look funny and human and all.

Don't believe me?

The Obama ad opens with the candidate standing behind a lectern, telling Americans: "Hi, I'm Barack Obama and I'm running for president of the United States. Remember to vote for me in November. And if you don't think I'm funny, you've obviously never seen me bowl."

A picture of him bowling appears on-screen.

Obama then turns to someone off-screen and says, "I'm not going to deliver this line any better than that" and walks off.

The End.

The McCain ad begins with him behind a lectern, telling Americans: "I'm John McCain and I approve this message. A president has to be funny. They just have to be." Photos of a slack-jawed, cowboy-hatted President George W. Bush; a sax-playing President Bill Clinton; and a Bonzo-bedtiming pre-president Ronald Reagan appear.

"Unfunny presidents only serve one term if they win an election at all," McCain continues. "I may not be the last comic standing, but I'm definitely the funniest candidate for president."

"Yeah -- funny-looking!" says an off-camera voice.

"Who said that?" barks a faux-angry McCain.


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© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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