Few feeds on Twitter reliably produce as many office-wide groans as the one belonging to two-time presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. It is, at its core, a steady stream of hokey dad jokes shoehorned into political and social commentary. Often, the jokes fall painfully flat. Like the time Huckabee replaced the “Snoop” in Snoop Dogg with “Poop,” or how he made fun of the investigation into Russian meddling by noting that he had to “recuse” himself from salad because he had “Russian dressing on a salad last September;” or the one where he suggested Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a sleep apnea problem.
“Huckabee has the humor of a serial killer who writes into a police station to tell them where to find the body” is how Jena Friedman, a stand-up comedian and, formerly, a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, put it for The Daily Beast.
But Huckabee has not been deterred. A source close to the ex-governor says he writes his own material, though will occasionally solicit input and requests. Armed with nearly 950,000 followers, he keeps firing away into the vast online universe, including his latest gem this week—a joke that somehow combined news of his actual colonoscopy, a riff on “RUSSIAN MEDDLING!,” and, for some reason, a reference to the late pop star “Michael Jackon.” [sic]
Huckabee did not return a request for comment from The Daily Beast, asking, among other things, how he would define his humor and approach to Twitter. So, instead, we pinged a few comedians and comedy writers for their thoughts on the governor’s style and most recent effort.
Larry Wilmore (former host, The Nightly Show):
As far as the colonoscopy tweet goes, let’s look at the two attempts at humor. The first part is on its way to possibly becoming a joke but instead stalls and winds up being just an awkward over share with confusing all caps. Now had he instead tweeted, “Had a colonoscopy today and it gave me a hard on. My doctor was actually Russian. Now that’s what I call Russian meddling with an erection.” See what I did there? Got rid of the all caps and kept it 100 about what really happened. As for the second part of the tweet, I don’t know who ‘Michael Jackon’ is so I can’t comment.
Laurie Kilmartin (writer, Conan and author of Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed)
It’s a 3rd grade anal joke and he all-capped the punchline. Unforgivable.
Jo Firestone and Albertina Rizzo (writers, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon)
Jo: First of all, I’m no Twitter expert but I gotta say, this joke takes his followers on a journey, and that journey is straight to a place where you’re imagining the actual colonoscopy. Combined with his sick smiling avatar photo, it’s just too much. We were all innocently signing onto Twitter to witness the regular horrors of the day, and then he dog-piles this on. C’mon. Now I can’t stop thinking of a doctor “meddling” in there, and it’s tainted lunch (pun intended?).
Albertina: Also, when he says, “my doctor was actually Russian,” this tells me he knows his Twitter audience, which of course is comprised of 98 percent Russian bots.
Jo: I do like the part where he mentions Michael “Jackon.” A+, Huckabee. And I have to think he’s capitalizing “MOON” to signify a callback to the butt procedure. I always appreciate a good callback, but this one seems a little forced since Michael Jackson’s been dead since 2009. Bottom line (pun intended again? whoops), it feels like our country is riding to hell on a bicycle and Mike Huckabee’s the E.T. in a blanket tweeting, “wheee! #wheee”
Miles Kahn (executive producer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee):
I feel like Huck’s genius just speaks for itself. What can I possibly add except for maybe a coherent concept, a clear setup, a solid punchline and some sort of relatable comic observation?
Sasha Stewart (former writer, The Nightly Show):
If you need caps lock to tell your audience that you’ve hit your punchline, you haven’t hit your punchline. To really emphasize your ALL-CAPS PUNCHLINE try adding an... ellipses before it to really amp up the tension. Comedy is so much better when your audience knows exactly when it’s coming! Just because you have 280 characters doesn’t mean you need to use all 280. Don’t crowd the joke: Why are we talking about Russian meddling and Michael Jackson in the same tweet? The first part of the joke, with the colonoscopy and the Russian doctor, doesn’t quite work because it makes you think about Mike Huckabee’s asshole. No one’s laughing then because they’re too busy vomiting.