Comedy Shows: The New Political Fountain of Youth

Stay relevant by either getting laughs, or getting offended

By Sara K. Smith
|  Thursday, Jun 18, 2009  |  Updated 1:35 AM CDT
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Comedy Shows: The New Political Fountain of Youth

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Sarah Palin, expert attention-attracter.

Three political figures have discovered the key to staying in the public eye long after ceasing to be of any legitimate interest: Associate yourself with a comedy show. You might make a cameo appearance on a satirical show about you, or you might appear as a featured guest of a comedy troupe, or you might just declare war on a popular late-night comic. Any way you slice it, fame will be yours!

Let's start off with the human hairball, Rod Blagojevich, who was famous for about two minutes at the end of last year because he apparently tried to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat for a pack of gum and a lifetime membership at Curves. Blagojevich got thrown out of the Illinois governorship and people thought that might make him go away, but no. First he entertained ideas about appearing on some reality TV show, and when that didn't work out he just appeared in a live comedy show specifically intended to make fun of him. Now America will remember his name for at least another 35 seconds or so!

And then Mike Huckabee, remember him? The cultural conservative Republican candidate for president who could never get elected because he liked poor people too much? He's always writing inspirational books, but that won't be enough to prevent all the yokels who loved him so much in 2008 from forgetting him, because seriously, who reads those things? And even his biggest fans can't possibly watch his weekend TV show, "Huckabee with Mike Huckabee," because they're too busy watching the creepy prison shows on MSNBC. That's why, in order to raise his public profile, the former governor had to appear with a New York comedy troupe to talk briefly about taking out his trash and how much he loves Tina Turner.

But to see who's really extracting the maximum amount of publicity from the minimum amount of comedy, we need look no further than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has parlayed a dumb joke on late-night television into a week-long crusade. And you know what nobody's talking about now? The question of whether or not Alaska will be able to survive for the next 15 years on make-believe oil riches that may never materialize! That stuff is so boring compared to David Letterman messing with what's her face, that Palin kid who nobody knew about until her mother made a big stink about her.

The take-home message is this: if you want to give your political career a goose, you should either volunteer to eat bugs on television, or engage in innocuous banter with a comedy troupe, or declare war on David Letterman. It's just that simple!

Elite political strategist Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.

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