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Comics Seize on Government Shutdown to Mock Washington

Comics Seize on Government Shutdown to Mock Washingtoni
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October 04, 2013 3:00 AM
U.S. comedians on late night TV love to make fun of American politicians whose feuds often paralyze national decision-making. When the disputes led to the federal government's shutdown this week, the jokes went into overdrive.
Comics Seize on Government Shutdown to Mock Washington
U.S. comedians on late night TV love to make fun of American politicians, whose feuds often paralyze national decision-making. When the disputes led to the federal government's shutdown this week, the jokes went into overdrive.

The government shutdown has given some of America's most popular TV comedians new ammunition against one of their favorite targets: Republicans.

In a YouTube clip posted by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the host pounces on Republican lawmaker Todd Rokita for opposing President Obama's health care law.

"I just want to help the American people get by and through what is one of the most insidious laws ever created by man. And that is Obamacare," said Rokita in the clip.

"Not just one of the most insidious laws ever created by America, which has Jim Crow and slavery on its resume of laws, but by man - putting Obamacare up with the Nuremberg laws, the Spanish inquisition and 'prima nocta' - the medieval law where on your wedding night the king gets to sleep with your wife," ridiculed Stewart.

In another video posted to YouTube, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report sees irony in Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's criticism of the president.

"Where is our commander-in-chief, why isn't he on the phone right now, calling the Senate and House leadership, and telling them our nation is at risk because of the government shutdown," Senator Graham told Fox News.

"Yes, why isn't the president telling Congress that shutting down the government is bad? And why won't he tell them the stove is hot? Boehner keeps burning his hand over and over again," mocked Colbert.

Conservatives are not the only ones being mocked. On a YouTube video of NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, host Fallon finds it hard to sympathize with the thousands of furloughed government employees.

"This is nice, actually. I saw several bars in Washington, D.C. are offering discounts on drinks to federal workers affected by the government shutdown. Or, as people who aren't federal workers put it, 'I'm a federal worker.'" said Fallon.

And in a YouTube clip of NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, the veteran comic points out that tourists have plenty of sites to see besides the monuments shut by the government.

"Well, as you know, most of the tourist stuff is closed. Well, here's the story," began Leno.

"With the government shut down, the impact is being felt far beyond the nation's capital, as zoos, libraries and national parks are now closed. However, there are some alternatives to the shutdown. For example, with the closure of the National Zoo, you can still see dangerous animals at an [Oakland] Raiders football game. The Library of Congress also will be closed, but don't worry about it - nobody goes to libraries, anyway. And for those of you hoping to get a glimpse of Joshua Tree National Park [in southern California], you might want to reroute your trip and head for the 'Kardashian butt-acle' forest," offered Leno's mock news report.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

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