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About (Late) Last Night: 'Conan' and 'The Daily Show' poke fun at Michele Bachmann [video]

January 27, 2011 |  8:49 am


On Tuesday night, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann broke with tradition and delivered the so-called "Tea Party response" to President Obama's State of the Union address, even though Rep. Paul Ryan had already been enlisted to deliver the official Republican rebuttal. CNN was the only major network to air the speech live -- a decision that drew criticism from some pundits -- but it's Bachmann's off-kilter performance that really had tongues wagging Wednesday. That's because, throughout the entire six-minute address, the Minnesota congresswoman was looking into the wrong camera. The slip-up was monumentally distracting and did little to counter Bachmann's image as a loose cannon. It's safe to say the Republicans won't be calling on her to deliver their official response next year.

But if Bachmann's goal was simply to draw attention to herself, then mission accomplished. Last night both "Conan" and 'The Daily Show" spoofed Bachmann's performance in nearly identical ways. On "Conan," Andy Richter and Conan O'Brien gradually turned away from the audience and toward each other, all the while criticizing Bachmann for being unprofessional. "The Daily Show" took an ever-so-slightly different tack, allowing a series of correspondents to deliver their own rebuttals. Olivia Munn, with a mock-up of the Constitution behind her -- just like Bachmann -- started out looking to one side, then to another, then up, then down, before eventually turning her back to the camera altogether. "The Daily Show" take was funnier, if only because they committed to the joke more fully than did "Conan." Regardless, it's interesting how certain public spectacles -- such as Bachmann's camera gaffe -- lend themselves, almost inevitably, to the same joke. Were both shows shooting fish in the comedy barrel? Probably. But Bachmann is the one who dived right into it.

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--Meredith Blake