Thursday, November 06, 2008

What, too soon?

When I was in high school, SNL was what all the cool kids were watching. Nowadays, college students proudly proclaim they get their news from the Daily Show. And there isn't a twenty-something alive in the US that hasn't seen at least one full episode of the Colbert Report. So when the big names in topical comedy both promised live election coverage, you can bet the young voters turned out in droves ... myself included.

But was I the only one who found SNL's Election Coverage and Comedy Central's Indecision 2008: America's Choice less than hilarious? SNL's primetime coverage was largely a clip show - while funny, it didn't have nearly enough new material for me. In contrast, Comedy Central paired up Colbert and Stewart for a night of witty banter - it was new material, but a lot of it flopped.
Stewart: Yes, the Bradley effect ... named after Milton Bradley, whose popular board game "Poll Tax" entertained and disenfranchised millions.
Audience: *cricket chirps*
I think the gravity of the situation dampened the comedic effect of these shows. Everyone was on edge - if the formula for comedy is tragedy plus distance, on Tuesday we were way too close to potential tragedy to enjoy ourselves. Maybe now that the election is over, we can catch the reruns (or the online content) and have a proper laugh.

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