Spoof Squared:Re-creation of New Yorker Cover

            Entertainment Weekly, a popular culture magazine, generally features a photo of a celebrityon the cover that doesn’t allude to a controversial issue. The October 3 cover, however, is a spoof of the controversial July 21 edition of The New Yorker magazine, which featured a taboo illustration of the Obamas.

            Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, known for their insightful satire, grace the cover in a redo of The New Yorker’s cover that portrayed Barack dressed in Muslim garb and Michelle dressed like a militant afro-wearing soldier.

           EW and photographer Jake Chessum go beyond the boundaries of the usual cover photo by meticulously recreating the caricature with political comedians Colbert and Stewart. Colbert portrays Michelle and Stewart, Barack.


             Like the original, the scene appears to be the oval office, Bin Laden’s picture is over the fireplace, the eagle printed rug is beneath Colbert and Stewart’s feet, the bookcase and chair are flush left. Colbert and Stewart’s facial expressions scarily mimic the illustration.

            One large difference was the absence of the burning flag—I guess that was a controversy EW found worthy to steer away from. 

            It was a bold idea to spoof a spoof that was so notorious and EW succeeded in doing it in a humorous and brilliant way. It’s timely, the choice to use Colbert and Stewart is smart, and it fits the topic of its feature titled “Mock the Vote.”

            The eye-grabbing cover promises to give readers a report on “the most entertaining race ever,” and the story calls politics “the new reality TV.” This is exactly what EW delivers as they convinced Stewart and Colbert to take a break from the screen and switch to the glossies.

            The article, an interview between EW, Colbert and Stewart, has the same cynical tone found in the cover photo. They talk about serious issues with a comical twist.

               For instance, the EW reporter asks about Palin and how prominent the press has made her in the election. Stewart responds by referring to the press as “6-year-olds playing soccer. “Nobody has a position, he says, it’s just  ‘Where’s the ball?” Where’s the ball? Sarah Palin has the ball!’”In the interview Colbert refers to Obama as a “hope-ronaut,” suggesting that his hopes are so high that they are possibly out of this world. Colbert says Obama is in a “rarefield level of hope where the rest of us have to take tanks up with us.”

            The feature and the cover work well together, but maybe the cover isn’t such an original idea after all.  When The New Yorker cover was widely criticized as offensive, editor David Remnick invoked EW’s two cover models in his magazine’s defense.

            “If there’s no possibility for satire, if you always have to look for the joke that every — absolutely everyone will get, you won’t have Jon Stewart, you won’t have Stephen Colbert,” Remnick said.

            Remnick’s reference of Colbert and Stewart was a foreshadowing of this brilliant cover that was a smart choice for EW.

–Barbara L. Jackson




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