Probing Kerry for punch lines.
Late-night comedians still haven't quite pegged Senator John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee for President. It's become a ritual of latenight talk shows to turn presidential candidates into stock characters like Bush the Dumb Frat Boy, Gore the Know-It-All Stiff, Clinton the Gluttonous Lecher, or Reagan the Amiable Dunce. For Kerry, comedians have tried the Rich Guy persona (he went to a Swiss boarding school), along with a variation of the Gold Digger (his wife inherited part of the Heinz food fortune). There's also Kerry the Waffler. The most popular persona so far seems to be Killjoy Kerry, as depicted in jokes about his long face and dour demeanor. "Democrats finally found someone who is Al Gore without the flash and the sizzle," says Late Show's Craig Kilborn. Colin Quinn calls Kerry the Undertaker, but says comedians are on the lookout for better material. "We need more information on him. People are waiting for something funny to happen, like the choking-on-a-pretzel thing."