Chicago, Illinois – As President-elect Barack Obama adds to his list of cabinet appointments, he’s hitting a roadblock with one particular nomination: director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Obama, who ran on a message of change, is attempting to think outside the box for his pick to run the nation’s much-maligned intelligence agency. His angle, he says, is not that the candidate be a dedicated human rights proponent or even an entirely fresh face. What he needs is someone hilarious.
“I want someone really funny, just side-splitting hilarity,” Obama said, as he jotted notes during lunch, before a meeting with top members of his transition team. Mr. Obama would not reveal the names on his list, but he did talk about who may or may not have what has become the main qualification for the job. “Well, let’s say this. I don’t want to give anything away, but Michael Hayden, as accomplished a man as he is, is not a hilarious guy. In fact, he’s pretty much the antithesis of funny. He’s like a stop sign for a joke that’s speeding down the street. He’s the pin that pokes a hole in the Funny Balloon, and everyone watches it deflate and gets sad, thinking about what might have been. Now, maybe he could be a straight man to a different, funnier guy. But then you have two CIA directors, and that doesn’t work.
“Now, on the other side, just as a for instance, Will Ferrell is a very funny guy. I’d even go so far as to say he’s hilarious. But would he make a good director of the CIA? It’s doubtful, given that he has no experience whatsoever that even remotely relates to government or intelligence work. So, it’s a give and take. Would I love Will Ferrell diving into a table during a briefing? Yeah. Would it make me laugh? Of course. But if you ask me if that would help us stop an attack from Al Qaeda, I’d have to say no.”
Obama talked about his reasons for placing the ability to make others laugh so high on his list of criteria for the position. “Well, this stuff, intelligence and what have you, it’s very serious, very dark stuff sometimes,” he said. “So if you can get someone in there who can give you a detailed, cogent rundown on the latest threats, but then do a killer impression of Joe Biden, I think that’s the ideal candidate. Because that’s the right mix. I mean, you need both in your life. You can’t just have severity and stern-faced seriousness all the time. You just can’t.”