Every four years, the two major political parties in the United States of America meet in late summer to make formal their nominees for president and vice president, set party platforms, and mostly just party. As recently as a generation ago, the conventions held at least a modicum of drama (when the late Teddy Roosevelt challenged sitting President Jimmy Carter in 1980). Now, however, it’s all pomp and nonsense. A multi-day propaganda parade, with the mainstream media complicit in it all, because they enjoy a grand ol’ party like the rest of us.
As long as there’s no news coming out of the Republican and Democratic national conventions, might as well send in the clowns. Literally. Well, OK. Since TV shows and Comedy Central’s Indecision have sent in stand-up and sketch comedians, versus actual clowns in costume and make-up, we’re talking figuratively here in 2012.
The GOP convention (RNC) wraps up tonight in Tampa, Fla., with a speech from presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) celebrates President Barack Obama and Co. next week in Charlotte, N.C.
Let’s take a look at how the late-night TV shows have handled the politicians thus far.
LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS)
Letterman has “correspondent” Andy Kindler on the case. Here is Kindler’s impersonation of a convention delegate. Roll it.
For his next trick, Kindler interviewed Michelle “O’Bachmann.”
Conan sent one of his writers, comedian Deon Cole, to Tampa. Cole’s camera crew didn’t arrive when he did due to Hurricane Isaac. He eventually did make it onto the convention floor long enough to file a report, though, which he did for Monday’s show. Or did he? Skype it.
Once Cole had a full crew with him, things didn’t get any easier. Because he got kicked out. Did he deserve it? The evidence pretty much speaks/shows for itself. Let him explain.
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL)
Jon Stewart and his “news” team have broadcast extended live shows from Tampa (as has The Colbert Report), with his comedic correspondents making the convention delegates look as foolish as they make themselves to be. They’ll be doing this in Charlotte next week, too.
On Wednesday night’s show, Samantha Bee delivered this devastating report in which her interviews with GOP delegates revealed how far they’re willing to extend their definition of individual freedoms. The line they shall not cross? Bee’s uterus. Spoiler alert! Roll it.
Other reports from Tampa have included Aasif Mandvi on the GOP Convention themes:
COMEDY CENTRAL’s INDECISION
Online, Comedy Central has its Indecision site editor on the convention floor, and brought along NYC-based stand-up comedians Jared Logan and Jordan Carlos to file field-piece videos.
For their first piece, Logan and Carlos met up with former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson, an outspoken conservative. She learned them a thing or two about the evils of Obamacare.
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (NBC)
Normally, Leno has a correspondent at a big event like this. Then again, NBC owner Comcast recently forced 20 employees out at The Tonight Show — it would have been more layoffs, but Leno decided to take a pay cut from the money he famously “has never touched” anyhow to keep the downsizing at his show to 20 employees. So. I suppose that explains why there’s no Tonight Show presence in Tampa. Agreed?