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Commentary: How Comedians Would Rank The Presidential Candidates

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pulls his hair back to show that it is not a toupee while speaking during a rally at the TD Convention Center Thursday in Greenville, S.C. (Richard Shiro/AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pulls his hair back to show that it is not a toupee while speaking during a rally at the TD Convention Center Thursday in Greenville, S.C. (Richard Shiro/AP)
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Before Labor Day signals the beginning of more serious political analysis, let’s review how comedians have been treating the 2016 presidential candidates.

This is how I think professional comedians would rank the contenders in terms of how much material they are providing, along with samples of what comics have said about them.

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pulls his hair back to show that it is not a toupee while speaking during a rally Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina. (Richard Shiro/AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pulls his hair back to show that it is not a toupee while speaking during a rally Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina. (Richard Shiro/AP)

He is not just the GOP frontrunner, he’s got to be the favorite among comedians for lampooning. While many voters view The Donald as narcissistic, megalomaniacal, boastful and bigoted, he is unarguably a great gift to late-night comedy.

"After making insulting remarks about Mexicans, Donald Trump has been kicked off of NBC and Univision. On the bright side, Trump's hair has a new show on Animal Planet." –Conan O'Brien

Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden talks with Stephanie Carter, wife of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, during Carter's swearing in ceremony in February. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Vice President Joe Biden talks with Stephanie Carter, wife of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, during Carter's swearing in ceremony in February. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Comedians must be praying that the vice president will enter the race. He’s called a gaffe machine, but he must be encouraged by how Trump has risen in the polls despite saying equally outrageous things. Biden also is mocked for massaging (groping?) women, like with Stephanie Carter, the wife of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter,  when her husband was having a press conference.

"President Obama was giving an interview recently, and get this, he said he thought that Joe Biden would be a good president. When asked why, he was like, 'Because he'd make me look AMAZING.'" –Jimmy Fallon

Chris Christie

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie poses for photos at the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Paul Sancya/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie poses for photos at the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Paul Sancya/AP)

It’s not nice to make fun of someone’s appearance, but comedians can’t resist the temptation with the larger-than-life governor of New Jersey. Christie apparently doesn’t hold it against them; he even shared a bowl of ice cream with Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show."

"A new poll about the 2016 election shows that just 27 percent of voters would be likely to support Chris Christie. And only 4 percent of chairs." –Seth Meyers

Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland on Thursday. (David Richard/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland on Thursday. (David Richard/AP)

The Democratic frontrunner is a favorite target for comedians; likewise her husband, the former president. She is often ridiculed for being an overly shrewd politician.

"According to a new poll, the number of Americans who trust Hillary is dropping. Specifically into a hole that Hillary covered with leaves." –Jimmy Fallon

Jeb Bush

Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to supporters at a town hall meeting Friday in Virginia. (Jason Hirschfeld/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to supporters at a town hall meeting Friday in Virginia. (Jason Hirschfeld/AP)

The former Florida governor has “Jeb!” as his only name in campaign materials, but that doesn’t stop comics from mocking his famous last name.

"In a new campaign ad, Jeb Bush referenced 'The Godfather' and said his nickname used to be 'Veto Corleone' because he vetoed so many bills in Florida. When you're the third person in your family to run for president, maybe you shouldn't bring up a movie trilogy where the third one was clearly the worst." –Jimmy Fallon

Lindsey Graham

Republican presidential candidate, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a visit to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a visit to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The Republican senator from South Carolina hasn’t made much progress in the polls -- he’s averaging less than 1 percent support — but some comedians like to mock the only bachelor in the race. Jon Stewart, before leaving “The Daily Show,” mimicked him, sounding like a southern belle.

"Presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham, who is single, said today that if elected he will have a 'rotating first lady.' Even creepier, he said it on Tinder." –Seth Meyers

Rick Perry

Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry waits to speak during a visit to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Paul Sancya/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry waits to speak during a visit to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Paul Sancya/AP)

The former GOP governor of Texas had his “oops” moment in a 2012 debate, but tried to project a new image this time — wearing glasses, for a more studious look. But it hasn’t changed the way comedians talk about him.

"On the Republican side, today former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he is running for president. While growing up he wanted to be a veterinarian, but his grades weren't good enough. Luckily for us, now he wants to be in charge of people." –Jimmy Fallon

Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential hopeful, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a house party in Manchester, New Hampshire, in May. (Cheryl Senter/AP)
Democratic presidential hopeful, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a house party in Manchester, New Hampshire, in May. (Cheryl Senter/AP)

The Vermont senator has become a serious threat to Hillary Clinton, so the early mocking of him as a certain loser has evolved into jokes about his occasionally wild hair, his lack of support from black voters, and his being an old hippie socialist from Vermont.

"Bernie Sanders has now passed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire polls. It's the first time anyone's ever been passed by a guy in a Prius." –Seth Meyers

Ted Cruz

Republican presidential candidate, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Paul Sancya/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Iowa State Fair earlier this month. (Paul Sancya/AP)

The conservative Texas senator was widely mocked when he was the first GOP candidate to announce, but with Trump eclipsing him, comedians don’t mention him as often.

"Republican Ted Cruz announced that he will run for president in 2016. So finally, Carnival is no longer the most dangerous cruise in America." –Jimmy Fallon

Rand Paul

Republican presidential candidate, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul speaks during a campaign stop at Riley's Sport Shop in Hooksett, New Hampshire, earlier this month. (Charles Krupa/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul speaks during a campaign stop at Riley's Sport Shop in Hooksett, New Hampshire, earlier this month. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The Republican senator from Kentucky surged in the polls early; as a libertarian he stood to inherit supporters of his father, Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for president a number of times. But in interviews young Paul often showed a testy side, and his popularity went down.

"Every time this guy opens his mouth, it gets a little crazier. Today he angrily demanded that the liberal media stop quoting him in context." –Bill Maher

Martin O’Malley, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Lincoln Chafee, et al.

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum greets a family  after touring the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption earlier this month in West Bend, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum greets a family  after touring the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption earlier this month in West Bend, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Candidates floundering in the polls are often mocked as sure losers and maybe a bit delusional.

"Yesterday in Iowa just four supporters showed up to eat lunch with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. It's always a bad sign when your entire voter base can fit in a deli booth." –Conan O'Brien

Todd Domke is a Republican political analyst for WBUR

Todd Domke Twitter Republican Political Analyst
Todd Domke is a Republican political analyst for WBUR.

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