This study examines political trends that existed in late-night talk show monologues throughout October 2004. Designed to detect which candidates and issues were addressed, along with the degree to which hosts positively or negatively framed the candidates, the results clarify the issues and people that the public was familiar with.
The monologues of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman were examined. A content analysis and a semantic differential scale distinguished important issues, candidates and the framing of those candidates. Trends within each show were noted.
The results show President George W. Bush as the prime target for jokes. Comedians were the most negative about candidates familiar to the audience from the previous election.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
United States--Politics and government--Humor; Political satire, American; Television programs--United States--History and criticism; Television talk shows--United States--History and criticism; American wit and humor
Communication and Media Technologies (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Communication (CLA)
Shannon, Eileen, "Political humor in late-night television: A Quantitative and qualitative examination of late-night talk show monologues" (2005). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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