It’s unprecedented, and a likely record-setter. During his first hundred days in office, President Trump was the target of 1,060 jokes delivered by leading late-night TV talk show hosts, more than his recent predecessors attracted during their entire first year in office according to a new study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University.
The hilarity records of the former presidents fell far short: Barack Obama drew 936 jokes throughout 2009, George W. Bush inspired 546 in 2001, while Bill Clinton inspired 440 jokes in 1993.
By the time his first year is up, Mr. Trump is on track to easily eclipse the most jokes told about a president in recent years. The current record holder is Mr. Clinton, who attracted 1,717 one-liners and quips in 1998 — a year dominated by news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment.
“Donald Trump is head and shoulders above the competition as the politician late night comedians most love to hate,” said Robert Lichter, director of the academic center.
During the 100-day study period, the number of Trump-themed jokes completely outranked the combined totals told about of all Democratic politicians (95 jokes) and Republican politicians (290 jokes). In addition, Trump family members were the targets of an additional 97 jokes.
From January 20 through April 29, 2017, the study analysts pored over the content of 2,094 political jibes from the opening monologues on CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
There was a champion here as well. The study found that Mr. Colbert delivered the most Trump jokes (337), followed closely by Mr. Noah (315). Lagging behind: Mr. Fallon (231) and Mr. Kimmel (177).
Mr. Lichter noted that in 1993, 2001, and 2009, the comparative sample of late night hosts included Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. In addition, the 1993 sample included Arsenio Hall, the 2001 sample included Bill Maher, and the 2009 sample included Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Jimmy Fallon.