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Late-night comics turn on Obama

October 12, 2009 |  8:47 am

For the second weekend in a row, "Saturday Night Live" has turned its biting satire on President Obama. Last week the bit involved a rebuttal to critics charging that Obamacare is socialism, with the defense that, as actor Fred Armisen put it, "When you look at my record, it’s very clear what I’ve done so far. And that is nothing.”

Then this week, SNL raised the ante. Commenting on Obama's surprise selection as winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, the show conceded that he won primarily "for not being George Bush" and adding that he'd also won a $70-million Powerball lottery.

The shift among late-night comics from cheerleader to critic is showing up in other monologues too.

Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's "Daily Show" recently disparaged the Obama administration's slow pace on changing the Pentagon's "don't ask don't tell" policy toward gays. “All that stuff you’ve been putting on your plate?” Stewart teased. “It’s ... chow time, brother. That’s how you get things off your plate.”

And Jay Leno recently warned against pressuring Obama to make a quick decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan. “Remember, it took five months to decide on a puppy,” he said.

Does it mean anything, if comedians have suddenly taken the gloves off?

Democratic consultant Jeff Nussbaum thinks not. In an interview with the New York Times, he called comedy "a lagging indicator" of the nation's mood, not a leading one.

But Florida's Republican Rep. Ric Keller thinks there have been "some clear shots coming across the bow from the comic left."

What do you think?

-- Johanna Neuman

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