Friday, November 11, 2011

Rick Perry's Top 10: Can Self-Ridicule Remove the Sting of his Oops Moment?

Rick Perry appeared on David Letterman last night, reading the evening's Top Ten list. Last night's list - "Top Ten Rick Perry Excuses." The impromptu appearance was made in an attempt to minimize the damage from Perry's "Oops" moment during the GOP candidates debate.

My recent academic research on the differential impact of comedy forms suggests that viewers cool towards politicians when folks like Letterman, Colbert, and Stewart make fun of them using other-directed hostile humor. At the same time, voters can warm toward politicians like Perry, McCain, and others if they are willing to be in on the joke and engage in some healthy self-directed humor or self-ridicule. Of course, this also means that the self-directed humor has to be funny with the politician doing a good job in the impromptu role of comic.

After watching Perry's appearance on Letterman from last night, I'm not so sure that this attempt at self-ridicule worked. After all, Perry's body language alone makes watching the Top Ten reading an uncomfortable experience.

What do you think? Did Perry's attempt at self-ridicule minimize the sting of his "oops" moment during the debate or did Perry fall flat in his attempt to be a comic?

Top Ten video below:

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