Unlike politicians, comedians travel around the nation 365 days a year, entertaining people in small settings as well as big arenas, as they develop an accurate reading of the country's mood and sensibility. They also aren't afraid to say what everyone else is thinking.
Nightly, comics incorporate these feelings of regular people into their acts, making light of the underlying burden. Laughter seems to help people cope.
Recently, I spent a night at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, as well as a night at the Laugh Factory Chicago, to see what the comedians were saying about the political scene. This is some of what I heard:
"When Obama said that he will lower the unemployment rate within months, I did not believe him at first. But then, Joe Biden said the same thing, so I said; good, now I have it in black and white." -- Gerry Bednob
"For this election I decided to vote for the ones who put the least amount of leaflets in my mailbox... I'm voting for Pizza Hut." -- Jim Tavare
"The candidates are right, though. The choice is clear: Either you want a President who believes recovery lies in emboldening the middle class OR you're a racist." -- Bill Dawes
"Why elect another person for president? I'm comfortable in the mess I'm in. No need to elect someone else and have to get situated again. I'm fine in the mess I'm in now." -- Deon Cole
"We live in such a progressive society; we have a Black President, someday a woman, or a gay guy, maybe a Jew. So when the left says Romney can never win because he is Mormon. That's crazy; right now we have a man in office which would have never happened 20 years ago. And never in my life have I said to my wife, honey, Mormons are moving in next door we better put a security system in. I never went to my daughters, if you ever come home with a Mormon!" -- Rich Vos
There was talk, during the early weeks of the NFL season, that the first debate between President Obama and Governor Romney appeared to be moderated by a replacement referee, and that's how Jim Lehrer came off. In the second debate, there were questions from real people and Candy Crowley at least tried. In the last debate, Bob Schieffer was slightly more assertive, but still, why did no one ask:
Why was not a single person arrested or jailed after the economic crisis?
Why were more people arrested at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration than from Wall Street itself?
In the future, perhaps the debates should be moderated by David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, or Jimmy Kimmel. Of course not all comics would work better. Jay Leno spends way too much effort waiting to talk and doesn't listen to a guest, so he wouldn't be a good choice. Even Howard Stern would have brought more integrity to the process than the run of the mill journalist. How I wish the news moderators spent more time in comedy clubs with real people. Then maybe they would ask the questions that really matter.