The New York Times to create songified debate highlights. There was a repeat performance based on this week's presidential debate (above)..." />

Playful Politics

Injecting a little humor into the 2012 presidential election

We all know there’s a presidential election going on, right? And presidential elections are serious affairs with serious candidates running for a serious job with serious consequences. But with campaigns running effectively nonstop for years (Mitt Romney started running in 2007 and hasn’t really stopped since), all that seriousness gets very tiring. Maybe it’s time for some laughs — a little humor to go with all of the speeches, campaign rallies, candidate e-mails, and election TV commercials that we have been reading, watching, and even avoiding for the past many, many months.

There are, thankfully, some good laughs to be had on the campaign trail. If you’re a fan of Obama, there wasn’t much funny in the first presidential debate. But the VP debate a week later had Joe Biden laughing and provided plenty of material for The New York Times to create songified debate highlights. There was a repeat performance based on this week’s presidential debate (above).

Saturday Night Live had a lot of fun with Joe Biden’s smirks in the VP debate:

Then there’s this Epic Rap Battle between Obama and Romney:

Though he may have recovered a bit, Romney was a gaffe prone candidate earlier in the cycle, especially with his now-infamous remarks on the 47%. That leaked tape gave even more material to the creators of the Lucille and Mitt tumblr, combining some of the former governor’s more out-of-touch comments with the beloved matriarch from “Arrested Development.”

The Onion remains perhaps the best supplier of election humor, especially its treatment of Vice President Joe Biden, depicted as a booze loving (he’s a teetotaler), women chasing (by all accounts he is happily married), slickster, captured nicely in this one headline: “Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am In White House Driveway.” Read more here.

BuzzFeed, where, admit it, you spend whole afternoons at work looking at pictures of baby animals, offers a surprisingly robust politics vertical with solid journalism. But there’s a steady steam of mockery there too. Like this typical BuzzFeed headline, here’s 21 Photos That Show What Joe Biden Is Really Like (right) as well as The Vice Presidential Debate (As Told By GIFs).

And because I can’t resist, a chance to relive your grade school photo-shoot backgrounds with Paul Ryan’s gym pics.

Stephen Colbert has had much to say about the debates so far. But he also broke out of character, a rare occurrence, for an interview with Meet the Press, discussing politics and humor with David Gregory.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart snagged interviews with President Obama and former President Bill Clinton:

Think the above offerings skew too liberal? Well, Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan considers if conservatives are less funny than liberals here.

There are still a few weeks to get serious before Election Day. For now, we could all benefit from chilling out a bit and laughing at some of the absurdity.