What is there to say about Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal? If mean, aside from his looking like he could play the role of Jamal in “Slumdog Millionaire II — The Dowry.” I really have nothing to add that “Kenneth the NBC page” on “30 Rock” hasn’t already said. I got that connection immediately when I saw Governor Jindal deliver his response to Barack Obama’s recent address to Congress. “That’s Jack McBrayer in…brownface!” I exclaimed to myself while watching and listening to the governor. The voice and gooberisms were nearly identical to the actor’s. All McBrayer would have needed was a strong sunlamp and some black shoe polish to rub in his hair.
This illustrates a peculiar problem editorial cartoonists and caricaturists are having these days, in addition to the devastating contractions occurring in the newspaper and magazine industries. I don’t know how we compete with “The Daily Show,” Stephen Colbert, YouTube and, on rare occasion, Saturday Night Live? While the latter hasn’t posed much of a threat in recent years, Tina Fey’s dead-on impression of Sarah Palin was so sharp and replayed so often, online as well as on television, that it became the only “caricature” of the Alaska governor anyone remembers. In capturing Governor Palin, one of Ms. Fey’s most impressive feats went beyond the winks and the goofy accent and phrases, or the fact that the two women bear a certain physical resemblance. It was what Tina Fey could do with her chin. The comic actress and writer has a quite narrow chin, yet she could transform it into the square-jawed look of Governor Palin. And she would tilt her chin up and hold it just so, as Governor Palin often does during her speeches, to express self-satisfaction at whatever sarcastic or screwball remark she has just uttered.
As for Bobby Jindal and Kenneth the page? Actor Jack McBrayer has already appeared on late night TV, spoofing the governor, standing in front of a spiral staircase, wearing the same loud tie and wishing everyone a “Happy Mardi Gras!” He beat me to the punch!
So, my guess is that whatever we REAL caricaturists and editorial cartoonists do to Bobby Jindal, the picture that will be remembered, perhaps forever, is the night he spoke in response to President Obama’s first speech before Congress, and did a spot-on impression of…Kenneth the NBC page.
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