Friday, October 17, 2008

"The Funniest Fifteen Minutes
of Your Life, or Any Other!"

Below are the intentionally comedic routines of both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama delivered at the annual Al Smith Dinner, held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York last night.

Each man delivered a good routine, and both were punctuated by self-deprecating humor, as well as friendly jibes aimed at the other fellow.

We thought John's performance was stellar. Great delivery, and a boffo finish.

Obama was good, but perhaps just a little too much giggling at his own punch lines. One of the great ephemisms of humor is that when a comic is succeeding, he's killing the audience, while the comic himself remains deadpan. But if he has to chuckle in order to telegraph the punch lines, the humor has obviously fallen flat.

Our title, above, is taken from the closer of the routine delivered by Senator John McCain, who went first. At the point where he delivered that line, John was pretending to have gotten a peek at a copy of the upcoming Obama routine. And he was warming up the crowd for what they should expect from the impending comedy debut of Senator Obama.

Of course by doing so, he was mockingly setting up the Illinois Senator, with wildly over-stated expectations, right after saying that to do so would be completely unfair.

Great stuff!

P.S. In each case, you should watch the first embed all the way to the end, and then click on the second embed. There is no need to click on the ghost white "switch" internally embeded right near the end of the first McCain video clip.

The first half of John McCain's routine begins here, with the second half posted embedded just below it.

The second half of John's routine begins here:

John was followed by Barack Obama, with the first half posted here:

The second half of Senator Obama's routine is posted here:

In addition to the McCain closer, there was one other telling moment during the evening which you may have noticed as well. After paying his obligatory personal respects to Al Smith, Senator McCain began talking about the wonderful work of the foundation named after the man.

It comes at about 4:04 of the second McCain clip. McCain ticked off all the foundation's work for the poor and needy, including their abiding respect for the dignity of life, and "especially your gallant defense of the unborn" all work which John said he can be counted on to support as "an ally."

His comment was followed by very warm general applause from the audience, and the camera panned over (at about 4:27) to record the reaction of Senator Obama. Note that he was indeed applauding, but very inconspicuously so, with his hands, for the first time, under the table.


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