The folly of politicians is more likely to be beaten with a club than it is to be pinioned by the well-aimed darts of satire.
But the internet has once again come to the rescue of the stiletto. JibJab, which became an overnight sensation during last year's presidential election, with its singing Bush and Kerry cartoons, has unveiled its latest vaudeville act. It is "The Year in Review," the cast of characters never more appealing than they are now.
After reviewing the act, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann welcomed JibJab creators Gregg and Evan Spiridellis to Friday's 'Countdown' to discuss the creation of their increasingly better-known satire.
To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch JibJab's 'Year in Review,' click here.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Greg, let me start with you. I get the feeling that the events of this past year kind of served your subject matter up to you on a silver platter.
GREGG SPIRIDELLIS: Well, absolutely. In the summer, we decided we wanted to do a year in review. And by the fall, it was pretty clear that the big story was, you know, how far Bush's approvals had fallen over the year, and all of the events that had kind of transpired. And, you know, it was just ripe for a two-minute short that had to be very fast to squeeze in all those ideas.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Evan, how did you guys, this desire to skewer politicians, where did it come from? Why did it take this form? How did it get started?
EVAN SPIRIDELLIS: Well, we always say, if you-when you read the headlines, if you don't laugh, you'll cry. So, you know, we try to attack tough issues with a bit of humor, and never meanspirited, we hope, and just to have a good time with it all.
OLBERMANN: Gregg, the work here is-there's the premier of the thing on "The Tonight Show" last night, which suggests has obviously caught fire, it's rung the bell, it's hit a vein, and all that. But what-where is the fiduciary element in this? How you guys make-able to make money off this property?
GREGG SPIRIDELLIS: The big question. It's still a very early-stage business. For us, we've been able to do some advertising online to help fund these pieces. Our partner, msnvideo.com, is now helping us, so we can produce more of them. But really, about-for us, it's about the long term, it's about building a brand online. And hopefully people will associate JibJab with a fun place to go and laugh, and maybe take five minutes off during the day at work.
OLBERMANN: Right. And then you just take it eventually to Sirius satellite radio and join Howard Stern. I get it now.
EVAN SPIRIDELLIS: Well, absolutely, yes.
OLBERMANN: Evan, I'm going to take a guess here. You mentioned it's all meant with a good spirit of fun, as opposed to the various other kinds of spirits of fun that we've seen, especially in politics, in the last few years. But I'm just going to take a guess on this. You get criticized for being leftist-liberal bastards and for being conservative reactionary suckups, am I right?
GREGG SPIRIDELLIS: Yes.
EVAN SPIRIDELLIS: Yes, that's the best response we can get. When we're accused of being both, we've done our job well.
OLBERMANN: Is it about even money on that? Do you get it about evenly, or is it one side more than the other?
EVAN SPIRIDELLIS: Pretty much, although I have to say now that there's just one guy in power and one party in power. People tend to think we're a little more to the left, but our job is-we try to leave our personal politics out of all of our pieces. And our job is to kind of tell it like we see it and have a good time with it.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Of course, political satire is going to be largely anti-the power-party in power, because that's who you want to make political satire about.
Last question, Gregg, the logistical process here, how many man-hours for something like what we just saw, and do you have more resources than you used to after the past year?
GREGG SPIRIDELLIS: Oh, yes, absolutely, thanks to people passing our work around. We say we quadrupled the size of our company from two of us to eight of us now.
GREGG SPIRIDELLIS: And takes about two months to produce one of these, once we know what the idea is and we know what it is we want to produce.
OLBERMANN: Well, it is time well spent on behalf of your many fans and viewers. Congratulations. The brain trust behind JibJab, the brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis. Thanks for your time. Keep up the good work. Happy holidays.