Still, Kelly says, some pop-culture images do linger. For example, a combination of Johnny Carson jokes and Chevy Chase impersonations on “Saturday Night Live” created an enduring image of Gerald Ford as being more prone to pratfalls than Inspector Clouseau.
But there’s a profound difference in today’s media landscape, argues Donick Cary, creator of the Comedy Central cartoons “Lil’ Bush” and “The Adventures of John McCain.” “Forty years ago, a comedy take on a president would be 13 episodes of ‘Saturday Night Live’ in a year,” says Mr. Cary. “Now, every day, as soon as there’s a [presidential] debate there’s literally 100,000 takes on the Internet as well as ‘The Daily Show,’ ‘Colbert Report,’ Bill Maher.”
Indeed, YouTube and the blogosphere have produced thousands of new commentators fixated on presidential politics.