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White House goofball keeps ‘1600 Penn’ funny
NBC show puts aside partisanship for laughs
And although the president and family in “1600 Penn” bear no resemblance to the Obama White House, there is a thread connecting them: Jon Lovett, one of its creators and producers, worked as a speechwriter for President Obama.
Don’t jump to conclusions, cautioned Mr. Lovett, who left a fledgling stand-up comedy career to work for Mr. Obama (after a stint with then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton).
“I wouldn’t have done it [‘1600 Penn’] if it was a political show,” said Mr. Lovett, who said he was eager to return to entertainment and leave Washington behind.
Can he really resist the chance to showcase his point of view? “You would be right to be incredulous. … I am a political person, and I have strong opinions,” he said, but added, “I guess that’s what Twitter’s for.”
Both conservatives and liberals should be able to watch the sitcom and laugh, Mr. Lovett said.
The ratings so far have been short of a landslide, although there is promise: The most recent episode drew 3.3 million viewers, which was an 8 percent increase over the previous week. (In comparison, top-rated comedy “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS reliably hits double-digit numbers.)
Will that be enough to win the sitcom another TV term? Given polling that shows widespread dissatisfaction with Washington, Mr. Brooks wonders how much time viewers want to spend there.
“Even if it’s comedy and slapstick, it’s just a place we don’t like very much,” he said. “It’s like having a sitcom in a sausage factory. We just don’t want to know.”
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