Comedy Central on Winning the Millennial Vote

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

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With  18-29-year-olds constituting one-quarter of the electorate, their vote isn’t something to take lightly.

But the support from young people that surged for President Obama in 2008 seemed to wane this go-around. Indeed, less than half of the Millennial generation (48%) said they would definitely cast a vote this year – down from 63% at the same time four years ago, according to a Harvard poll taken last month.

In the end, though, their vote was there — and we think it may have had a little something to do with conducting some funny business on the campaign trail. On Monday, in a report on youth disengagement in the 2012 Election, the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams explained how Obama was reconnecting with youth voters by spending campaign time working the comedy circuit.

Humor, according to Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw, is the key to unlocking their vote, if it is applied smartly. To shed some light on the Millennial generation of voters, NBC brought in Comedy Central President Michele Gainless, armed with insights into what this demo — her network’s audience — does and does not want.

“They don’t want them to do schtick,” Gainless says, in the video above. “They don’t want them to make fun of the issues. But they do want them to be able to poke fun at themselves.”

Regardless of politics, Obama was good at all three. The video above also includes a clip of Obama joking wiht Jay Leno about Donald Trump’s beef with him “dat[ing] back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.” While making fun of the claims about his citizenship, he also shows that he can make fun of himself.

Incidentally, 18-29-year-olds wound up voting in similar numbers versus last election, despite concerns about decreased enthusiasm, according to the New York Times.

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