- Dean Obeidallah says 2011 was a good year for comedy, but it could have been better
- He says more forgetfulness by Rick Perry and more speeches by Joe Biden would have helped
- His biggest disappointment: Sarah Palin isn't running for president
It's finally here! No, not the post-Christmas store sales or the impending New Year's Eve festivities.
I'm talking about the annual avalanche of "Year in Review" articles re-telling us about the "top" stories of 2011: The Royal Wedding, Osama Bin Laden's death, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Charlie Sheen's meltdown, blah, blah, blah.
Why does the media feel compelled to explain to us yet again the events that we all collectively experienced and were already covered ad nauseum just a few months ago?
I prefer that we focus not on the past, but on the events we wish had happened in the past year. Or at least the ones I wish had occurred. Of course, I'm a comedian, so the events I hoped for may not actually be good for our country, but potentially they would have been great for comedy.
So here are the top political headlines that I would have loved to see in 2011:
1. "Texas Gov. Rick Perry forgets his first name." Who can forget (except for maybe Rick Perry) the November 9 presidential debate when Perry famously blanked when trying to remember the name of the third government agency he wanted to eliminate? I wish Perry had done this more often -- forgetting dates, statistics, maybe even one of the names of the other presidential candidates during a debate, forcing him to cover with lines like: "I have to disagree with the guy who has been married a bunch of times and has a really weird first name." (Can you guess who I mean?)
2. "Joe Biden goes on a national speaking tour." Vice President Biden is President Obama's "fat friend" who makes Obama look more attractive every time Biden opens his mouth. His penchant for putting his foot in his mouth is a bad trait for a politician, but as a comedian, I view Biden's speaking gaffes as Christmas year round.
Joe Biden is the guy who thoughtfully remarked: "God rest her soul," when speaking of the prime minister of Ireland's mother. Only problem was that the prime minister's mother was still very much alive. And who can forget when Biden exclaimed at a campaign event: "Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya," to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, a man who uses a wheelchair.
And earlier this year, Biden gave us even more comedy when he announced at an event in Indiana: "Senator Gard is here, wanna recognize him, I was told he was here." Which would've been fine if Senator Gard's first name was not Beverly and if "he" was not actually a "she."
In 2012, we need to get Biden out of the White House and in front of a microphone as often as possible.
3. "U.S. Congress agrees to trial by combat to resolve disagreements." Finally, something that is both potentially hilarious and could end the gridlock in Washington. This battle could have taken place at The Medieval Times theme restaurant conveniently located in nearby Hanover, Maryland. There, Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate would have squared off in epic battle of steed and steel as they waged attacks on each other armed with lances and armor piercing maces to determine which political party's agenda would be adopted.
4. "Mitt Romney challenges every American to a $10,000 bet." Romney -- fresh off challenging Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet about his stand(s) on health care -- doubles down by offering to bet any American citizen $10,000 about any issue of their choosing. This could have been a mini-stimulus plan for many American families who might have prevailed on the bet.
5. "Democratic congressmen Anthony Weiner and David Wu remain in Congress and keep tweeting and emailing people." These guys were both comedy gold but only while they were still in Congress.
Weiner, of course, tweeted photos of himself partially nude to different people -- which on one level was the most original (and comedic) constituent outreach program in the history of Congress.
David Wu's troubles were not as well documented by the media. This Oregon congressman resigned because of a sex scandal but not before he had emailed to congressional staffers a photo of himself dressed like a tiger. If Wu had stayed in Congress, we could have been treated to him wearing even more costumes -- maybe Wu would have attended Congressional committee hearings dressed like the donkey from "Shrek" or even as "Harry Potter. "
But alas we will never know the full comedy potential of these two because of their abrupt resignations from Congress.
6. "Rick Perry makes even more horrible campaign commercials." Perry's campaign ad opposing gays serving openly in the military may have statistically been one of the most "disliked" videos ever on YouTube but it was loved by comedians. No ad ever featured such a bizarre mixed message: Perry bragging about his opposition to gay marriage while paradoxically wearing a jacket made famous by one of the gay cowboy characters in "Brokeback Mountain."
I wish Perry would have done a new campaign ad talking about protecting the environment while dressed in a suit made of baby seal pups covered in oil.
7. "Sarah Palin announces her candidacy for president of the United States" This is the headline I most wished for in 2011. Palin has the potential to eclipse the golden age of political comedy provided to comedians by George W. Bush. Her gaffes and missteps have secured her a place in the Dan Quayle political comedy museum -- which I hope to build one day.
Who can forget Palin referring to the fighting in Libya as a "squirmish" -- a word which sends my spell check into an endless loop. Or Palin sharing her foreign policy prowess with the comment: "But obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies."
And just a few months ago, she gave us this comedy classic: Paul Revere warned the British during the Revolutionary war.
Ahh...I get a bit misty thinking about what could have been if Sarah ran for President.
Don't get me wrong, from a comedic point of view, 2011 was a pretty good year, but I think we all can agree that it could have been funnier.