March 27, 2008

Press Release
March 27, 2008
Contact: Donald Rieck


TV comedians cracked more jokes about former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer in a single week than they made about anyone else during all of 2008, according to a new study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs. The study also found that David Letterman was toughest on Spitzer, while Jay Leno focused more on Hillary Clinton.

These results are from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) 2008 Political Humor Study. The study analyzed all jokes from January 1 through March 15 in monologues by Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien on NBC, David Letterman on CBS, and John Stewart, and Stephen Colbert on “Comedy Central.” The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) is a nonpartisan research and educational organization which conducts scientific studies of the news and entertainment media.

Major Findings:

Elliot Spitzer was the butt of 175 jokes during the first week after the prostitution scandal became public. That makes him first among all joke targets so far in 2008, in a list dominated by presidential politics.

Hillary Clinton is running a close second with 174 jokes, President Bush is third with 163, John McCain is fourth with 140, Mitt Romney fifth with 121, Barrack Obama sixth with 103, Bill Clinton seventh with 59, Mike Huckabee eighth with 55, Fidel Castro ninth with 47, and Ralph Nader and Roger Clemens are tied for tenth with 41 jokes.

For the month of March alone, Spitzer’s total of 175 exceeds that of President Bush and all the presidential candidates combined (157). Hillary Clinton is a distant second with 45 (including many referencing her husband’s own past sex scandals), John McCain has 41 and Barrack Obama has 37.

David Letterman led the Spitzer-bashing with 78 jokes, doubling Jay Leno’s total 39. Jon Stewart (22), Conan O’Brien (18) and Stephen Colbert (17) trailed well behind.

By contrast, in 2008 Hillary Clinton is Leno’s favorite target with 64 jokes. Letterman has cracked only 28 Hillary jokes, less than Stewart’s 43, although Letterman has told almost twice as many jokes as Stewart overall. Colbert and O’Brien followed with 25 and 15 jokes about Senator Clinton respectively.

Sample Spitzer Jokes:

The dollar is so low now that Elliot Spitzer’s hookers demand Euros. This is the most embarrassing thing to hit New York since the Knicks.

From the “Top Ten Surprises During Spitzer’s Resignation”

  • Admitted he once made out with former Governor Pataki
  • Credited downfall to fast-paced Albany lifestyle
  • Said he thought the Emperor’s Club was a Chinese restaurant
  • When reporters asked how much he paid an hour, wife said “believe me, he doesn’t need an hour.”


  • Spitzer had to write a letter of resignation. Out of habit he addressed it, “Dear Penthouse.”
  • Hillary Clinton has lost another Superdelegate. On the bright side, Bill Clinton has gained a super wingman.

Daily Show
“To whom much is given much is expected.” That’s why [he] gave over $80,000 to hookers.

Colbert Report
“The remorse I feel will always be with me.” And on future business trips, so will Mrs. Spitzer.

Note: Jokes may be altered slightly for brevity.

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