What is the allusion behind the Onion's Biden jokes?

Yesterday’s NY Times article caused me to wonder about the Onion’s on-going lampoons of the vice-president, which began after Obama took office .

The jokes I’m referring to are things like: Biden as would-be desperado, Biden as would-be womanizer, Biden as generally crass, etc.

Last I was aware, Biden was just the guy always putting his foot in his mouth. Where did this persona come from? Is it just arbitrary absurdity, or does it refer do some specific behavior or incidents?[ul]

The NYTimes also had an article on this very topic. Link.

Commentary ad absurdum.

If explaining a joke kills it, what does linking to a 23 paragraph analysis of the joke in the New York Times do?

Huh, missed that. Thanks.

Apparently the Onion is making fun of Biden’s fairly bland persona by portraying him as an outrageous character.

His reputation for verbal diarrhea is being take to humorous extremes by portraying him as a crass boor.

They did the same thing with Alan Greenspan:

Greenspan, Entourage Demolish Hotel Room
Greenspan To Play 15 Unannounced Small-Club Shows
World Gets First-Ever Look Inside Greenspan Fantasy Ranch
Screaming Japanese Schoolgirls Overturn Greenspan’s Bus
Fifth-Grader Writes ‘Mrs. Alan Greenspan’ All Over Her Notebook

I love the articles like “Shirtless Biden waxes Trans Am in White House Driveway”.

Biden just looks like the combover/hanging onto his youth/ middle-aged guy next door.

And what is the allusion behind this? He occasionally comes up with a usually-benign gaffe . . . far less often than “always putting his foot in his mouth.”

Hey, he paid good money for those hair plugs!

He definitely has a reputation, whether fair or not, for a far-above-average number of verbal gaffes. I suspect it is related to frontal lobe damage from an aneurysm that almost killed him in 1988.

I think in Greenspan’s case, they were satirizing his, well, rock-star status among politicians and many economists. He got an excessive amount of credit for the Clinton-era economy and was treated as some kind of superhuman oracle of economic wisdom.

That’s the point: allusions aren’t always accurately indexed to reality.

However, the first allusion would be to this very real comment:

It sounded like he thought it unusual to find a clean, articulate nice-looking African-American. So after some more trivial things, one of the early Onion pieces, which of course was satirizing the media over-reaction to Biden itself, was: “Gaffe-prone Biden Embarrasses Nation Yet Again by Sneezing During Meeting.”

When they switched to the whole swinger/ladies man thing, I thought I might have missed something, hence the OP.

Ehh…you could substitute just about any well-known, scandal-free politician into the headline without losing one iota of funny: “Shirtless Geitner waxes Trans Am in White House Driveway”, “Shirtless Bernacke waxes Trans Am in White House Driveway”…

There’s really not much to it; Biden was likely chosen for this rather generic assignment because he is the most recognizable administration official (after Obama, of course), and now it’s become enough of an in-joke that the Onion staffers have made a fun contest of trying to top each other with the most outrageous “Biden” story they can plausibly get away with.

See, those are less funny. I think its partly an age thing, Biden kinda looks like somebodies older, eccentric uncle in a way Geitner or Bernacke doesn’t. Plus just by virtue of his job, he kinda ends up hanging out in the background of a lot of Whitehouse press events, a bit off to the side, nodding affirmatively but never the focus of attention. He ends up looking like he could be just drifting through the Whitehouse on his way back from some crazy hijinks in Mexico, or just hanging out there with plenty of sparetime to spend an afternoon washing his car.

He once told a wheelchair bound man to stand up and acknowledge the crowd’s applause. He’s goofy.

Exactly. My favorite along those lines: [Hush Falls Over Prison Population As Madoff Stabs Cellmate In Throat](Hush Falls Over Prison Population As Madoff Stabs Cellmate In Throat)

I think part of the humor of this characterization is that it pretty much comes out of nowhere. Though he doesn’t have the personality for it, as far as I can tell, he does sort of have the look of someone who would really like high school girls because “he keeps getting older, and they stay the same age.”

Whatever its origins, I think the fictional version of Joe Biden they’ve created is one of the funniest things that The Onion is doing right now.

They did something similar with Bill Clinton, portraying him as a two-fisted action hero. Also, for a while they were portraying the supreme court as a gang of rowdy hooligans: “Supreme Court overturns car”

Bottom line- it’s The Onion. Sometimes the stories are directly satirical, sometimes they’re just funny for funny’s sake.