When Occupy Wall Street started on Sept. 17 in New York City’s Financial District, no one thought it would spread so quickly across the country, and even around the world. Masses of people gathered together, protesting the fat cats of Wall Street and coining the term “We are the 99 Percent!” People went for months without showers and beds, speaking their minds and camping out in city parks.
But the encampment didn't just bring social issues to light, it provided tons of material for comedians. At least once a week Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and The Colbert Report featured a segment on the Occupiers. Saturday Night Live took advantage of their Mayor Michael Bloomberg impersonator and Conan O’Brien put his hand puppet to work.
Here’s a list of five Occupy Wall Street spoofs, in order from when the movement started, that had the 99 percent laughing for weeks.
1. Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, “Parks and Demonstration”
Jon Stewart filled up the first nine minutes of his show on October 5 going over every angle of the OWS movement in its early stages. His commentary and clips range from conservative news shows trashing the hippie movement, to Occupiers throwing trash cans through Starbucks windows, and how “no one is going to be down with that. We all love Starbucks.” But, funnily enough, Stewart ends up comparing OWS to the Tea Party movement, pointing out that the Boston Tea Party was an actual felony.
2. Saturday Night Live, “Message from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg”
Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen opened the October 15 episode playing the New York City mayor, to a tee. At this point in the movement, Bloomberg had threatened to have the Zuccotti Park encampment cleaned up and “power washed.” Although this never happened later that week, the possibility stirred protesters and police into a frenzy, ending in pepper spray.
In the message Bloomberg is sure to point out that New York City is the trend setter of the world, and people should come to New York to protest, and grab a steak dinner and Broadway show if they have the chance. The millionaire mayor is also quick to point out other rich New Yorkers living in the city, providing their worth and home address.
3. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Conan, “Triumph Visits Occupy Wall Street”
By early November, weeks before OWS was shut down in Zuccotti Park, Conan O’Brien’s hand puppet laugh machine, Triumph, visited the protesters in the Financial District. With a cigar hanging from his mouth and a microphone almost the size of him, Triumph took on Occupiers and even took some shots at the media. Triumph interviewed Occupiers and made fun of them to their faces, raising smiles around Zuccotti Park. Triumph even tries to balance his coverage and interview stock brokers before rallying protesters and having them chant his version of liberating phrases.
4. Samantha Bee, The Daily Show, “Occupy Wall Street Divided”
One of Jon Stewart’s correspondents, Samantha Bee, spent a lot of time at Zuccotti Park. Just one day before the encampment was cleared out by New York City enforcement, she made her way to the park to cover the divide between the protesters. Bee found that the park was separated into uptown and downtown sections, very similar to the first class and coach. “So, let me get this straight, you’ve only been here for eight weeks and you already have a ghetto?” she asked Occupiers. Bee speaks to Occupiers from both ends of the park to point out the differences in how they live and what they’ve become.
To finish off the segment Bee makes her way to the meeting area for Occupiers. She then finds out that they hold their discussions in the lobby of the Deutsche Bank building, an oxymoron if there ever was one. “So the big decisions are being made in the atrium of the Deutsche Bank building? I’m sorry is my nose bleeding? Because I feel like an aneurysm just exploded in my head.”
5. Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, “Occupy Wall Street Decamped”
On Nov. 17, when the birthplace of Occupy Wall Street was cleared out by New York City’s sanitation department and law enforcement, the media couldn’t take its eyes off of the Financial District. Including Jon Colbert. Celebrating the decampment of Occupiers, he points out that “fellow 1-percenter” Mayor Bloomberg said the camp was torn down for the “health and safety” of the people. Next to follow is an image of an infuriated cop with his dukes up during the clearance.
Colbert continues to pick apart Bloomberg’s reasoning, especially when the mayor says the Occupiers were prohibiting other forms of expression in the city. “After all, when a drum circle starts in Zuccotti Park, all other music stops everywhere else,” says Colbert, cracking up his audience.