- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Is Jay Leno a Republican or a Democrat? We may never know the answer to that question. But one thing is for sure. The outgoing NBC “Tonight Show” host beat up on Democrats more than he did Republicans, at least according to the numbers. Yes, there’s a painstaking study, released just as Mr. Leno exits his longtime late night perch.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University analyzed 43,892 jokes about public figures and public affairs that Mr. Leno told between 1992 and January 24, 2014.

Democrats were the targets of 10,885 jokes, and Republicans were jabbed in 9,465 jokes. The biggest target of all was former President Bill Clinton, butt of 4,607 jokes.

Leno’s monologues focused on power and scandal, and Bill Clinton was the top twofer,” says Robert Lichter, who led the research and has a forthcoming book on the topic itself called “Politics Is A Joke: How TV Comedians Are Remaking Political Life”.

Mr. Leno did have a favorite target though. That would be former President Bill Clinton, who inspired 4,607 jokes, followed by former President George W. Bush (3,239); Al Gore (1,026); President Obama (1,011) and Hillary Clinton (939). Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, incidentally, drew 454 jokes, Sarah Palin 300 and Osama bin Laden 216.

Political figures also proved more inspiring than Hollywood. The top five mirth-inspiring celebrities were O.J.Simpson (795), Michael Jackson (505), Martha Stewart (208), Paris Hilton (153) and Lindsay Lohan (153)

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