“People love it. I don’t do it with hate. Even liberals laugh at it,” he said. “The truth of the matter is, if it doesn’t sound like hate, and it sounds like a legitimate joke, it’s OK.”
Julia Gorin, an avowedly conservative comic, is also careful to create the right atmosphere. She said she begins the Obama part of her act by reminding audiences how her fellow comics have been taking flack for the lack of Obama jokes.
“That orients people the right way,” Miss Gorin said. “I’ll run into problems, sensitivities, without doing that.”
Can the vacuum of uninhibited presidential satire create an opening within the comedy ranks for a new breed of right-leaning comics?
Comedian Nick DiPaolo said that although the new administration provides an opening for conservative humorists, that won’t mean they suddenly start appearing on Mr. Letterman’s couch.
Mr. DiPaolo, who mixes conservative-friendly material into his act, said the people behind the major entertainment shows “aren’t going to let someone right of center jump into the arena.”
Lee Camp, a left-leaning stand-up comic and Huffington Post contributor, questions whether the pool of right-leaning comics is big enough to take advantage of any opening created by the election of Mr. Obama.
Creative types tend to lean left, both in comedy and in other art forms, Mr. Camp said. Comics typically try to identify with the “everyman,” while conservatives tend to favor big business, Mr. Camp said, which is a turnoff to the average comedy club habitue.
All bets are off, though, should the president have an intern malfunction or similar scandal. If that happens, right-wing comics will “be popping up everywhere,” he said.
Mr. Beck said society needs comedians to skewer those in power, no matter the party affiliation.
“We deflate everybody. As a guy who’s been deflated lately, it keeps you in check,” Mr. Beck said. “Whoever the president is, they have to know that they’re not a king.”
By Elaine Donnelly
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