Many Americans are outraged at new invasive airport screening procedures but it’s fair game to joke about for one White House speechwriter.
Jon Lovett won the top comedy prize Thursday night at Washington DC’s annual “Funniest Celebrity” competition. His routine included jokes about Sarah Palin, Arianna Huffington, the Obama White House and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
“Everybody in Washington has been talking about the TSA,” Lovett said. “TSA has been kind of a big story lately, a lot of people tonight have made some jokes about the TSA, I am too. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about, you know. First of all, these things are designed to keep us safe. Second of all, it’s giving a way for you know, defrocked priests to get their lives back together, give back to the community, lend a … Well, not lend a hand, but you know.”
Lovett claimed to have the best TSA joke of the evening. “Virgin America had to change their name to ‘Technically Still a Virgin America,'” he said.
But some Americans may not find Lovett’s jokes so funny.
Thomas Sawyer, a 61-year-old survivor of bladder cancer from Lansing, Michigan, said he had to walk through an airport and board a plane covered in urine after TSA agents tore open his urostomy bag during a pat-down.
A flight attendant who is a breast cancer survivor says she was horrified when, during an “aggressive” pat-down at the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport, she was ordered to expose her prosthetic breast to two female TSA staffers.
One employee of ABC News who opted for the pat-down instead of the full body scan claimed that a TSA agent actually felt inside of her underwear.
“The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around,” said ABC News producer Carolyn Durand. “It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist.”
Video of TSA agents searching a shirtless 5-year-old boy has become an internet sensation. A Utah man reportedly removed his son’s shirt during the screening process after the boy was too shy to let TSA agents search him.
Tammy Banovac, a 52-year old woman from Oklahoma, is forced to receive a pat-down every time she goes through airport security because she uses a wheelchair. After a previous “unpleasant” pat-down experience, Banovac began coming to the airport in only a bra and panties with the hope that agents wouldn’t have to touch her private areas.
“The TSA agent ran her hands up my skirt and because it was tight, there wasn’t much room for her hand to go,” Banovac told KOCO. “It was awkward and unpleasant.”
Lovett’s boss, President Barack Obama, also faced some backlash after he joked about a Predator drone killing the Jonas brothers.
“Jonas Brothers are here, they’re out there somewhere,” Obama said at the White House Correspondents Association dinner in May. “Sasha and Malia are huge fans, but boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking?”
This video was uploaded by Politico on Dec. 2, 2010.