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]
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 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.
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.
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”