Late Night: Jon Stewart decides Romney is funnier than Obama
Who's funnier, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama? Jon Stewart asked this vital question Wednesday on "The Daily Show" and, well, his answer might just surprise you.
He began by playing clips in which Romney and Obama were asked -- by Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, respectively -- if they considered themselves funny. Having established the issue as one of crucial importance, Stewart carefully weighed the evidence before him.
Yes, President Obama "killed it" at last year's White House correspondents' dinner (almost literally, as Stewart pointed out, since the SEAL Team Six raid of Osama bin Laden's compound was going on at virtually the same time), but he's at a different point in his career.
While Obama is playing big rooms, Romney is still "slugging it out" with the smaller crowds on the campaign trail. Stewart provided some constructive criticism for Romney, suggesting it's not wise to make jokes about being unemployed when you're gathered around a small table with actual unemployed people. He was also a bit puzzled by Romney's stated comedic influences, the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and the Keystone Kops. ("How old are you?" he wondered.)
But Romney earned relatively high marks from the comedian for an impromptu moment from New Hampshire last summer, when the candidate pretended a waitress had pinched his rear end during a photo op. "That's a solid bit," Stewart conceded. "That is grade-A uncle humor."
Stewart reluctantly gave the edge to Romney, if only because he once told Wolf Blitzer, "I live for laughter." That passion was enough to clinch victory in Stewart's eyes, assuming there wasn't "a piece of videotape of him somewhere saying the exact opposite."
Cue footage of Romney, en route to the "Tonight Show," saying, "I'm rarely funny on purpose."
The apparent inconsistency prompted a declaration of "I love you" from Stewart, who takes evident glee in the Republican's tendency toward self-contradiction. Who knows if Romney's funnier, but for Stewart at least, he's certainly easier to laugh at.
-- Meredith Blake