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Caryn James

Obama and Galifianakis' Meta Political Video

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 11, 2014 11:42 AM
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It's hard to imagine that President Obama appearing on Zach Galifianakis' web series Between Two Ferns will really inspire young people to sign up for health insurance. What's easy to imagine is that the newly released Funny or Die video will be a huge hit and do a lot of good for the President's image in other ways.

Watch Comedy From Obama, O'Brien, Spielberg at the White House Correspondents Dinner

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 28, 2013 11:59 AM
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This year's White House Correspondents' Dinner gave us a few insights about comedy:

Obama, Romney and Tom Hanks in SNL's Debate

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 21, 2012 9:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Were all the “binders full of women” jokes used up? SNL’s debate sketch ignored the most popular satirical target from the last Presidential debate, focusing instead on the candidates' pugnacious attitudes, with the added attraction of Tagg Romney promising to punch the President.

SNL and the Post-Debate Fallout (The Horror, The Horror!)

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 7, 2012 10:40 AM
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It’s a good thing SNL had the presidential debate as fodder, because they absolutely wasted Daniel Craig. And while Jay Pharoah continues to struggle with his Obama impression (why the grimace? Obama doesn’t channel Denzel Washington) the sketches included a very funny, perfectly–targeted recreation of MSNBC’s post-debate coverage: the horror, the excuses, the Chris Matthews hysteria. 

SNL: Jay Pharoah Takes On Obama, But Sudeikis' Romney Steals the Scene (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 16, 2012 9:49 AM
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The best SNL political impersonations capture some essential truth about that person’s character, hilariously exaggerated: Darrell Hammond’s gleeful,hound dog Clinton, Will Ferrell’s squinty-eyed doofus W. spouting words like “strategery.” Fred Armisen’s Obama never managed that, and so this season he literally handed the role off to Jay Pharoah. In the opening sketch, Armisen’s character introduced the president with “Wouldn’t want his job, right?” – an edgy reference to being replaced but probably better than ignoring it. And Pharoah’s Obama? So far, a little skimpy, but he seems to be shaping up as a guy who may be too cool for his own good, saying “I’m not worried. I should be,” which at least makes him a caricature with a point rather than an bland impression.

Watch Clint Eastwood Talk to Invisible Obama at RNC

  • By Caryn James
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  • August 30, 2012 11:19 PM
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  • 4 Comments
There are no words . . . even Rachel Maddow was nearly stunned into silence at the end of Clint Eastwood's bizarre, rambling stand-up routine of a speech at the Republican National Convention. You can read a description - that Clint talked to an empty chair, pretending that President Obama was sitting there. But no description can prepare you for the odd reality of the cringe-worthy performance, part lame vaudeville comedy, part unintentional performance art. (In minutes, there was a Twitter account for "Invisible Obama.")

Jon Stewart and the Perils of 'Firstiness'

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 29, 2012 10:11 AM
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Jon Stewart added a brilliant new word to the vocabulary of media criticism yesterday: firstiness. Looking over the ludicrous flub in which first CNN and then Fox mistakenly reported that the Supreme Court had struck down the essence of the Obama health care plan – instead of, whoops, the opposite – Stewart mocked the crazed rush to be the first network to arrive with news that everyone knew was coming and all the reporters got at the same time. Asking, “Who would emerge from today’s chaos as the world’s grand champion of firstiness?” Stewart almost buried a word that is the perfect companion to Stephen Colbert’s classic, “truthiness.” Both allude to the slippery relationship between words and facts.

Will Ferrell And Jason Sudeikis Give Us the Secret George W. and Biden

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 13, 2012 12:49 PM
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It would take a lot more than a Will Ferrell impression to make me want George W. Bush to return for real, but Ferrell’s always hilarious fake-Bush was the highlight of last night’s SNL. In the cold open, President Obama (Fred Armisen, as usual) entered the bedroom of the Vice President, decorated in pure high-school-kid style. Jason Sudeikis was especially funny as a petulant Joe Biden, annoyed that he got no credit for pushing Obama’s gay marriage endorsement over the line. Obama left him with twenty bucks for pizza, wary about Biden’s imaginary friend George – then guess who steps out of the bedroom closet?

Edgy Obama Opens For Kimmel at White House Correspondents Dinner (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 28, 2012 11:41 PM
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  • 2 Comments
We always knew it would be impossible to top last year’s hilarious and secretly dramatic White House Correspondents Dinner, when President Obama slammed Donald Trump – and secretly knew the attack on Osama Bin Laden was underway. But this year's version had its own even edgier tone.

Obama With Fallon: The Prez Slow Jams The News

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 25, 2012 2:06 AM
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President Obama had a clear political agenda in visiting Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, on the road at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: reaching out to young voters and more specifically lobbying against a Congressional threat to increase interest on student loans. But how cool is it that he slow-jammed the news, a Late Night feature that seems surreal enough when Brian Williams does it?

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