A prominent politician, especially one known for a certain righteousness, is alleged to be a customer of high-priced call girls. For comics, that’s a hanging curveball over the plate.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer became the butt of jokes faster than, well, faster than it would take a john to ride Amtrak from New York to Washington.
“I sat next to the guy three times and I didn’t pick up on any of this,” said Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, “and I usually have excellent whore-dar.”
“It’s just mind-blowing that he spent $4,300 on a hooker,” said New York comic Lisa Landry. “It just shows how high the cost of living is in New York. That same hooker would cost $50 in Newark.”
“They’re talking about impeaching Eliot Spitzer if he doesn’t step down,” David Letterman said, “and I’m thinking, ‘Whoa, a Democrat being impeached for extramarital sex. Well, happy days are here again!”
Spitzer, the prostitution ring’s so-called Client 9, was Topic 1 again with late-night comics Tuesday. “Not surprisingly, clients 1 through 8 were Charlie Sheen,” NBC’s “Late Night” host Conan O’Brien cracked.
On CBS’ “Late Show,” Letterman told his studio audience that it was a beautiful day in New York.
“It’s so sunny and bright outside that earlier today, Eliot Spitzer came out of a brothel squinting,” he said.
After his monologue, Letterman turned serious, however. He condemned Spitzer and said the governor should have already resigned.
“Get out of the office,” he said. “Who is running the state, for the love of God? We got stuff going on here. We are the Empire State and right now, the Empire is being crippled because this guy got a jones for professional babes.”
Across the country, the “Tonight” show’s Jay Leno peppered Spitzer with seven jokes. “The real ironic thing about this case?” he said. “Today the hooker said that Spitzer was done in a New York minute.”
Politics is the only profession where the wife of a man caught with a prostitute has to stand by his side, Leno said.
“If this guy was a plumber ... he would have his wife’s SUV tire tracks over his head,” he said.
The development appeared to agonize Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Monday. He said his staff spent a weekend preparing material and he didn’t want to throw it all out for Spitzer jokes.
It’s ready-made topical humor for the late-night hosts, said Vince Averill, a stand-up comic who just taped an episode of Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham.”
But he, like Landry, wondered whether the story will last long enough for comics to make it a big part of their act or if Spitzer is known well enough throughout the country.
“He wasn’t such a popular figure that people are going to want to keep talking about this,” said Landry, a frequent performer at New York’s Comic Strip Live.
For the second day in a row, Spitzer was the topic of Letterman’s top-10 list. This time, it was “messages left on Eliot Spitzer’s answering machine.”
No. 1: “It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thanks. I’m no longer America’s creepiest governor.”