Why Are Obama Impersonators So Wack?
Could it be because they have little to make fun of?
As the country celebrates the reelection of President Barack Obama, some are still complaining about what was lacking in his first term. Some people say they don't have jobs. Others say they still don't have full health care. But, you know what else we don't have? Comedians good enough to make real fun of him.
One of the highlights of any presidency, at election time specifically, is when comedians pull out their best stuff to crack jokes about the commander in chief.
Dana Carey as George Bush, Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton, Will Ferrell as "Dubya" gave people a reason to keep watching Saturday Night Live in the '90s. Jay Leno and Jon Stewart's endless supply of jokes about George W. Bush kept us laughing, if not distracted from being peeved with him for running the country into the ground.
But the last four years of President Obama's term have been a complete bore on the comedy front. Don't believe us? Take a look for yourself. (Fair warning: Some of the language used may be objectionable to some.)
Fred Armisen as Obama
When Obama was first elected president, SNL was lacking in the black people department. Kenan Thompson was the only "black dude" on staff and he's a little too heavy to play Obama. So what does SNL do? Slap some make up on Fred Armisen and tell him to go. We're guessing this was supposed to be OK since Armisen is not white, but of Venezulan/German/Japanese decent. So it can't be called "black face" more like "tan face."
Key & Peele as Obama and "Luther"
Key & Peele already have a pretty dicey relationship with the African American viewing audience, but their "Anger Translator" bit is the epitome of unfunny. The concept sounds like a great idea since the consensus is that we want Obama to "act blacker" every once in a while. But wearing gold rings, pronouncing "lost" with an extra "sta" on the end and doing the Hammer dance? No, thank you.
[Also Read: Key & Peele Are Selling Comedy Blacks Aren't Buying]
Honestly, Reggie Brown probably has the most spot-on impersonation going. The pauses, the mannerisms; he has them down. But the funny factor loses some points because well, he does it all at Republican conventions.
Baracka Flacka Flames
This video was probably black folks' biggest guilty pleasure since watching "Flavor of Love." Comedian James Davis made a YouTube hit with his presidential rendition of Waka Flocka Flame's "Hard In The Paint," titled "Head Of the State." With enough N and F-bombs to start a war with, Baracka Flocka Flames even had the song's originator calling it "disrespectful."
Jay Pharoah does a great Denzel, which is what got him his job at SNL. So when word broke that SNL would finally stop with the Armisen routine and hand it over to Pharoah, hopes were high. But so far, it's been a let down. He has the voice, but something seems to be missing. Republicans aren't looking forward to four more years of Obama in office. The rest of us aren't looking forward to four more years of this on TV.
But perhaps these gentlemen's bad impressions are not all their fault. Obama himself just isn't a lighting rod for jokes. He isn't fat. He isn't ugly. He speaks well. He loves his family. He loves his wife, and only his wife. Really, what is there to make fun of about him?
We're hoping that Obama's second term goes smoothly. But for comedy's sake, we're hoping at least something happens to make these guys' jobs easier.