Do you ever wonder about this? We have, what, 5 late night comedians; O'Brien, Letterman, Ferguson, Fallon and Kimmel, right? Do you ever wonder how they never seem to duplicate each other when it comes to making a joke about a current event?
For instance, the Mark Sanford Argentina Affair was big news yesterday and last night all 5 had jokes about it in their stand-up routines. I was reading an online list that printed out each comedian's jokes about it and they were all pretty funny. But what was amazing to me was that none of them told the same joke or really even got close to telling the same joke. Is that really possible? Do these guys call each other up before their shows and go over who has what? Does Letterman say, "Look, I'm senior guy so Ferguson you drop that joke that is almost like mine and come up with something different." or do each of their writing teams confer with the other to make sure none of their bosses sounds like he may have ripped off one of the others? Or are they all so different that they're able to all come up with different takes on a given subject?
Here's what each had to say last night:
Conan O'Brien: "Today the governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, who's the head of the Republican Governors Association, held a press conference to reveal he had an affair with a woman from Argentina. ... People were shocked because Republicans traditionally don't do well with Hispanic women."
David Letterman: "Anybody here from South Carolina? ... Their governor down there, Mark Sanford...disappears. ... He's gone for four days. The first time he said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. ... Okay, I'm just dumb enough to believe that. Then he says, 'No, no, no, forget the Appalachian Trail. I was in South America.' Now, I'm not sure I'm with him. Today he said he woke up in Las Vegas, hung over with a tiger and a baby."
David Letterman: "But now it turns out that he was in Argentina with another woman. A married guy, got a family, he's in Argentina with another woman. And here's what I want to know -- why can't he be like our former governor and use a local escort service? What's the problem?"
Craig Ferguson: "Did you hear about Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina? ... He mysteriously disappeared last week and nobody knew where he was." Today, Sanford "admitted to having an affair in Argentina. I'm like, great, now we're outsourcing mistresses."
Jimmy Fallon: "Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina -- this just keeps getting weirder. He was missing for five days. He finally showed up. He claimed that he was just hiking in the Appalachian Mountains. Then just today, he revealed that he was not hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, he was in Argentina the entire time -- in Argentina, where he was having an extramarital affair. Wow! It all seems insane until you realize who his mistress is -- Carmen Sandiego."
Jimmy Kimmel: "Needless to say, this not great news for the Republican Party. So many prominent Republicans have been caught in these types of situations lately: Mark Sanford; Larry Craig; David Vitter; John Ensign from Nevada. And you want to know why this is happening? The gays. That's right. They've destroyed the institution of marriage and now this is what we get."
Granted, O'Brien's and Letterman's stuff was funnier (to me) but all had various points of view to poke fun at. Is that accidental?
I'm not sure what the answer is, but I am sure that I wish I could hear Jay Leno's take on the whole Mark Sanford debacle.