2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Toying with Presidential Myth: Finding Obama's Caricature on The Late Show with David Letterman
Nathan A. Vickers
Dr. Jay W. Self, Faculty Mentor

More than two years into Barack Obamas presidency, late night comedians are struggling to find ways to make fun of the president. For other presidents, comedians relied heavily on verbal caricature to write jokes, sketches, etc. that made fun of their personality traits, mannerisms, and physical features. One late night comedy program in particular, The Late Show with David Letterman, used caricature on a nightly basis to make fun of presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. During the George W. Bush presidency in particular, Letterman created a caricature of the president through his monologue jokes, Top Ten Lists, and comedy clips that no doubt helped to define Bushs presidency. This paper examines the ways Letterman and his writing staff have struggled to come up with ways to make fun of Barack Obama. As a result they have not created a clear caricature of the current president.

Keywords: Barack Obama, Late Show with David Letterman, George W. Bush, David Letterman, Presidential Humor, Caricature, Late Night Comedy, Talk Show


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 45-2
Location: VH 1228
Time: 3:00

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