“We have a backlog of Biden jokes,” said Will Tracy, The Onion’s associate editor. One idea Mr. Tracy said he had to nix: a spread by the vice president in Playgirl inspired by Burt Reynolds, whose nude pose for Cosmopolitan in 1972 on a bearskin rug became an emblem of 1970s hedonism.
“We decided it was almost too big time for him,” Mr. Tracy said. “We like it better when Joe Biden is doing very small-time stuff, like getting kicked out of Dave & Buster’s, not appearing on the cover of a major national magazine.”
The articles perform extremely well on The Onion’s Web site. Since the story “Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am in White House Driveway” went online last spring, it has generated over half a million page views. The video “Biden Criticized for Appearing in Hennessy Ads” has been viewed 450,000 times since it appeared in January. For a site that receives 7.5 million unique visitors each month, those are considerable numbers.
The Onion’s “reports” on the vice president generally portray him in one of two molds: Boozy and brash, or slick and over-sexed. There was a report describing how he flouted a ban from all Dave & Buster’s restaurants nationwide. “After he was barred from the Tempe, Ariz., location in 2007, the former senator would reportedly do burnouts in the parking lot with his Trans Am while waiting to pick up a waitress employed there at the time, a woman identified only as ‘Candi,’ ” it said.
He has also been known to Dumpster dive. One article blamed him for bringing a bedbug infestation to the White House after hauling in an old, discarded recliner from the curb.
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