Published November 01, 2012
A study released this week by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) found that since the conventions in September, late night comedians Jay Leno, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon have told more jokes about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney than all Democrats combined.
“Romney is leading in the humor race, but being the biggest joke is a race nobody wants to win,” the center’s president Dr. Robert Lichter said in a statement.
Overall, the study concluded that Republicans were the targets of political humor more than twice as often as their Democratic counterparts, with the most significant disproportion occurring in the monologues delivered by David Letterman. CMPA counted 290 jokes made about Republicans and 138 about Democrats.
Mitt Romney was been the bull’s-eye of 148 jokes, Barack Obama has been subjected to 62, with other Republican political figures such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Ryan, Clint Eastwood and Chris Christie also making the cut. Of the Democrats, only two others – former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden – made the Top 10 joke list.
According to some media gurus, the study results are hardly surprising.
“Romney is the butt of jokes because he is conservative. Yes, he is a rich, square Mormon guy with the perfect hair who has never had a drink or even a soda. But a liberal Democrat with the same qualities could expect much kinder treatment than Romney has gotten,” Matt Philbin, Managing Editor of the Culture and Media Institute, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column.
“Remember in 2009, Chris Rock basically said there was no way to make fun of Obama – there was nothing to make fun of. My Twitter feed says different, of course, but the President is their guy and they are not going to say anything to give aid and comfort to conservatives,” Philbin said.
On that note, CMPA also found that Obama avoided becoming the first, second or even third top joke getter in 2008. According to the release, 658 jokes centered on then-GOP candidate John McCain, 566 referred to VP hopeful Sarah Palin, and 244 were thrown the way of the outgoing President George W. Bush, while the campaigning Democrat was the subject of 243 jokes.
However, public relations expert Gene Grabowski noted that being made fun of by the late-night lineup could actually work in Romney’s favor.
“The fact that Romney is leading the punch line poll may actually be good news for him. After all, I remember how much fun the pundits and late-night comedians poked at Bill Clinton when he first ran for President in 1992 and Ronald Reagan when he ran in 1980 and in 1984. Johnny Carson, Arsenio Hall, David Letterman and dozens of other comedians make jokes about them every night,” Grabowski explained.
“Romney would be smart to capitalize on all the joking by showing that he is a good sport and laugh along with everyone else, like John F. Kennedy used to do when he poked fun at himself and his family during news conferences. If Mitt shows his sense of humor, he might even end up having the last laugh.”