Palin, Romney Get Laughs on Late-Night TV
And so, ever the rogue, Palin debuted her comedy stylings on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" Tuesday. After the standard interview at Leno's desk, she took center stage and raced through a mini-monologue.
Her brief set included jokes about how cold it was back in Alaska ("5 degrees below Congress' approval rating") and meeting fellow guest Shaun White, the red-haired Olympic champion snowboarder ("Last time I was this close to 'the flying tomato' was when someone threw one at me at a book signing. And they did. It's true!")
"She's got no stage fright, not that she would let it show," Politics Daily's Luisita Lopez Torregrosa noted in one of the first reviews of Palin's performance. "But comedy is not something she would want to pursue, but then, many would say, neither is politics. Her two-minute gig will be catnip this week for 'Saturday Night Live' and the merciless blogosphere."
Palin wasn't the only GOP luminary getting laughs, intentionally or otherwise, on late-night TV Tuesday. "The Late Show With David Letterman" counterprogrammed with Mitt Romney.
The once and likely future presidential candidate got off what might have been the funniest shot of the night when he brought up Palin's feud with Letterman over a joke the comedian made about her daughter. Romney warned Letterman to "be careful what you say" about Palin. "She has a rifle, you know."
praising the Tea Party movement and talking about her new job with Fox News. She said she joined the network because she wants to "rebuild trust in media" and, without a trace of irony, she decried presenting "opinion under the guise of hard news stories." (Click here to watch full interview.)
Romney, like Palin, is plugging his latest book, which is critical of President Barack Obama, his potential 2012 opponent. But the mood lightened up when the conversation with Letterman turned to Romney's recent altercation with a fellow passenger on a flight to Vancouver. The man "gave me a good swat," Romney chuckled. "And he broke my hair."
Which brings up the point Politico made in previewing the talk show matchup of GOP guests: "Palin and Romney have some of the best hair in politics."
It is often said among people in the public eye that it's all about the hair. (In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry even bragged at a rally with running mate John Edwards "we have better hair" than George Bush and Dick Cheney. But look where the Kerry-Edwards team ended up.)
When it comes to winning over late-night TV viewers, even good hair isn't as important as good humor. And so it appears the Palin/Leno-Romney/Letterman showdown ended in a draw. That is, until the overnight ratings come in.
UPDATE (1:15 p.m. ET): The numbers are in and it wasn't even close. Leno's show drew an audience of about 5 million Tuesday night, about 1.6 million more than Letterman, according to RadarOnline.com.