Prompter, Prompter On The Wall, Who's The Funniest One Of All?
Being press secretary is a real hoot. Unlike those Bush duds before him like Dana Perino (she was pretty though) and Scott McClennan (eh not so much), Obama's White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is a regular laugh riot. He may look shlubby and dull, but things are not always as they appear. Move over Letterman, Leno, and Conan, there's a new comic superstar on the block and his name is Robert Gibbs!
Sure, the U.S. is facing some of its most difficult challenges in history: the economy's gone to hell, North Korea is being its usual nutty self, and Dick Cheney has embarked upon a nonstop apocalyptic doom media tour across the U.S. But over in the White House press briefing room, the media is having the time of their lives.
In the first four months of Robert Gibbs' stint as the nation's new press secretary and resident comic genius, there have been more than 600 officially recorded instances of "Laughter" in the transcript. That's an average of more than 10 laughs per day!!!
Which is more than can be said for George W. Bush's last press secretary Snoozefest Dana Perino who got all of 57 laughs in her first painfully dreary four months. Ditto for Wah Wah Scott McClennan who could only muster up a measly 66 laughs in the same four month stint. Even George W. Bush's resident jester and press secretary ace the late Tony Snow doesn't even come close to Gibbs, with his paltry 217 laughs looking more like a librarian's performance than a bonafide comedy star.
But it's not like it's all fun and games in the James S. Brady Briefing Room. While no Gibbs press briefing has been entirely devoid of giggles, there have been a few days of near-laughterlessness when Mr. G didn't quite bring his A-game. Like the somber Ides of March (10 and 27), when only two instances of "Laughter" were recorded the entire day because apparently everyone remembered they weren't actually cool SNL cast members but lame White House press corps members.
So what's behind these new, lighter, dare I even say, fun White House press conferences?
“I think it has more to do with the interest in Obama than in his spokesman,” says Human Events editor John Gizzi. “There’s always fascination with a new president. That said, there is a lot of laughter out there, and a part of it is because of Gibbs — he has a great sense of humor...He has a bigger audience to play to than did Snow or Perino, thanks to the new administration. This press room is always crowded and, this time, the entertainer plays to a bigger audience.”
In other words, Gibbs probably won't have to worry about having any reporters chuck shoes at his head. Which is probably a good thing because something tells me his comedy skills are a hell of a lot better than his reflexes. That's Bush's forte.