There is nothing more serious than a presidential debate. Well, unless you are with a bunch of comedians laughing at the candidates.
At one of the more unusual debate watching parties around the US, US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, appeared on screen in front of a raucous crowd at the 92YTribeca club in Manhattan.
Instead of the earnest pundits on usual news coverage, the debate here was overseen by the likes of Daily Show creator Liz Winstead and Baratunde Thurston from satirical newspaper The Onion, who traded snarky comments and expletive-filled double entendres.
When a poker-faced Winstead said that behind-in-the-polls Romney was under pressure to “pull it out” in the first debate, Thurston jumped in: “Game changer! That’s going to be a game changer!”
As the candidates dueled on one big screen tuned into C-SPAN, a second screen alongside displayed a feed of one liners from the team of comedians on witstream.com.
There may not have been much analysis, but there were drinking game suggestions aplenty.
One comedian suggested drinking every time Obama said “uh” while a rival plan called for glasses to be raised “every time Mitt Romney smiles condescendingly.”
Sometimes the comedians had to look no further than the candidates’ own words.
“‘I like coal.’ ‘I like Big Bird.’ These are actual Mitt Romney quotes from tonight,” Benari Poulten sniped.
John Fugelsang riffed on Democrats’ portrayals of Romney as a corporate raider: “Romney would’ve eliminated bin Laden by simply buying al-Qaeda and firing him.”
There was also rich material in the candidates’ body language: “Now Romney is doodling yachts,” one wit speculated about what Romney was up to while Obama was speaking.
Perhaps the most biting comment targeted the typically polite hostility between the debaters.
Matt Roller posted the view he imagined from space, saying: “‘Oh, I get it. Humans laugh when they’re furious,’ — Alien watching the debate.”