With under a week to go until the inauguration of Barack Obama, virtually no-one seems to be mourning the exit of George W. Bush – particularly not the residents of New Orleans, following Monday's bone-headed comments by 43 regarding his administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. (Which we feel compelled to preface before the following blog: No laughing matter, folks.)
That said, a key exception to this rule would be the comedy community – in particular the writers of late-night television, who inevitably get a bit misty for an outgoing president's value as comedy material, and Dubya was certainly a cornucopia for them during his tenure. This time, though, it may not merely be those who make a living making us laugh who are losing their golden goose, but the innumerable Toms, Dicks and Harrys who in today's global pop-culture canon can express their god-given right to take a swipe at the commander in chief through the magic of the Internet. Bush, for better or worse (and rarely for worse), was the first president of the YouTube generation, and as such, plenty of memorable giggles came our way at his expense from ordinary folks with a little (and sometimes, a lot) of time on their hands.
Thus, we salute our favorite joker-vigilantes with a collection of Dubya-related YouTube classics – not nearly all of them, but a handful designed to demonstrate the full breadth of yuks in the past eight years, laid out for your perusal in a handy fashion by range of the skill and creativity involved. Call it our own version of the Homeland Security threat levels… Comedy Edition!
Comedy Threat Level: Green
The “One-Finger Victory Salute”
Granted, not a whole lot of time and energy on the part of the perpetrators here, other than the usual time (depending on your connection speed) it takes to upload a video on YouTube. The clip, however, speaks for itself: Bush while he was still governor of Texas, on local television, clearly unaware (or at least not bothered) that the cameras were still rolling to catch his naughty finger-gesture in all its glory. What's funny here isn't so much the gesture itself as the fact that it can now be perpetuated, over and over, for the whole world to “enjoy” as often as they like.
Highlight: “Were we rollin' tape on that?!” – painfully obvious now, isn't it?
Comedy Threat Level: Blue
Letterman's “Great Moments In Presidental Speeches” – The Director's Cut
Everyone in late-night from Conan O'Brien to Jon Stewart – maybe less
so Jay Leno, but we chalk that up to personal taste – managed to have
at Dubya on countless occasions, but the grand cham-peen of them all
was David Letterman and his recurring segment, segueing from the wise
words of FDR and JFK into that week's humdinger courtesy of our current
prez. Thanks to YouTube, a resourceful fan collected some of the best
Bushisms into this five-minute clip that elevates a series of chuckles
into a grand epic of stammers and stumbles. Fantastic.
Highlight: Say it with us… “recruiterments”?!
Comedy Threat Level: Yellow
Bush and Blair at the Gay Bar
Coming off the back of his marquee double-act of the new liberal elite
with Bill Clinton and his surge in popularity after putting the
monarchy in their place with respect to the reaction to Princess Di's
death, who would have expected Tony Blair to wind up such a bosom buddy
with Bush on Middle East policy? This enterprising Internetter,
clearly, whose Flash video to the tune of Electric Six's “Gay Bar” gave
“foreign relations” a whole new meaning. DI$CO!
Highlight: The long, long… long adoring glances. *sigh*
(Note: Might want to crank the sound up on this one, it's a little dodgy.)
Comedy Threat Level: Orange
Bush vs. Zombies!
WMDs? Sleeper cells? Who needs 'em… it's the Webosphere that has its
pulse on the real threats facing our imperiled nation, and we owe our
thanks to the gang at MyEverything.com for digging up this
little-covered exchange on the White House lawn in which an intrepid
reporter grills Bush on a particularly controversial new security
policy, one which might be of particular concern to any tourists
planning to visit the D.C. area. Or maybe we just missed the time that
Olbermann covered this one, perhaps our cable was out…
Highlight: Dick Cheney's cameo. Man, it explains everything, doesn't it?
Comedy Threat Level: Red
“Leave It to Bush” (featuring Gary Busey!)
Wow. It's hard to know where to start with this, the first in a brief
series of charmingly rude animated shorts from the now-defunct site
aptly named The Toilet (and we mean that as a compliment); subsequent
mash-up fun featured “appearances” by Bill Cosby and Samuel L. Jackson,
but they never reached the superlative “WTF?!” heights of the original,
landmark meeting between Dubya and a perfectly rendered Gary Busey… and
his adorable rodent friends. Fascist, campaign-financing rodent
friends. We're loathe to say anything else, really… it has to be seen
to be believed.
Highlight: The last line. For all the goofy weirdness that precedes
it, waving it away with that particular turn of phrase is actually a
pretty clever indictment of Bush policy in general. Bravo!