Has Joe Biden become so unpopular that late-night comics might actually move away from their clapter production and start being funny again? Bill Maher made this transition months ago, but the rest of the late-night comics have been as loathe to target Biden for pointed political jokes as they were with Barack Obama. Or so it has seemed, anyway; late-night TV comedy has been pointless for well over a decade as it went from being funny to being didactic.
However, it appears that Joe Biden’s infamous fist-bump with Mohammed Bin Salman shook loose some ancient instincts on CBS’ Late Night. In his monoloue last night, Stephen Colbert blasted Biden for meeting with MBS, for his age, and for his hypocrisy over gas prices. It’s almost as if — gasp — Colbert decided to speak truth to power, or something!
Colbert: The Crown Prince Is Infamously a ‘Murderer’ But on the Other Hand, Gas Is Five Bucks a Gallon pic.twitter.com/Pi4JuVQKoZ
— Alexandra Datig | Front Page Index 🇺🇸 (@alexdatig) July 19, 2022
Transcript via Twitchy’s Greg P:
Switching over to the guy who actually won the election. President Biden was on a trip to the Middle East last week, where he had a bit of a controversial meeting with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, seen here saying, “no, you drink York tea first.”
This was always going to be a touchy trip because the Crown Prince is infamously and I’m putting it delicately here, a murderer. But on the other hand, gas is $5 a gallon. So nah. So it was important that Biden put a lot of thought into how he would greet MBS. This was the decision.
OK, he got out of the car, approaching Mr. Bonesaw, and boom go the ethics. Can we see that from another angle, Jim? Okay.
Bang. There it is. Maybe that’s not a fist bump, maybe at 79 that’s as hard as Joe can punch. Throw them dukes out, Mohammed Bin Jack band. Okay, here we go. Here comes […]. Here we go. Watch this one.
Here it comes. Where’s it coming from? Where’s it going? You blocked me. The guy’s fast.
Okay? I hope they have some air conditioning over there because his bones are made of peanut brittle. Okay, I know I’ve made a lot of jokes about Joe being old, but in my defense, since I made those jokes, he has gotten even older. That’s on him. That’s not me.
There is something older than Joe Biden. It’s the universe. Thank you.
Don’t get too excited. That’s 110 seconds out of one five-minute monologue, one of an estimated 130 monologues or so. That comes to roughly 39,000 seconds of 2022 Colbert monologue time as an estimate, which puts this sharp attack at about 0.28% of Colbert’s focus in 2022.
Still, this seems like it could signal a sea change among television comics. Samantha Bee will never abandon her angry clapter strategy, but the others have to look at Biden’s collapsing ratings on both job approval and personal favorability and wonder if they’re missing the boat. Jimmy Kimmel just got caught dragging a nearly incoherent Biden across the finish line on his late-night show five weeks ago or so rather than use his comic skills to address what everyone else already sees. Colbert’s sudden opening — and the fact that Maher has been doing this for months already — could put pressure on other comics to finally follow suit.
I’d advise against betting that way for now, of course. But just as the Afghanistan fiasco turned into a tipping point for voters eleven months ago, it’s possible that the fist bump with MBS could push late-night comics into recognizing reality rather than ignoring it almost completely.