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Published June 18, 2008

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Across the United States jaded comedians are unsure of how to respond to the death of beloved television journalist Tim Russert. Russert, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press", died of a heart attack on Friday. He was 58.

 Ari Shafferstein, emcee of  "The Tuesday Open Mic Comedy Jam" in Chicago said, "I'm a tell-it-like-it-is, take-no-prisoners, stand up comedian. I'm proud of being the guy who will make fun of a tragedy before anyone else. I was joking about 9-11 on 9-13, I held a mirror
up to Hurricane Katrina before anyone got raped in the Super Dome. But for Tim Russert I got nothin'."

Aspiring laugh-maker Sean Rasmussen, who sites Andrew Dice Clay and Doug Stanhope as influences, is equally confounded as to how to make light of the sad story of Russert's untimely passing. "I cultivated this persona as a crass shock comic because I don't like to feel shit, but Tim Russert's death just bums me out.  He seemed like a really good guy. I was going to point out the hypocrisy of politicians and pundits praising him after his death, when they battled him on his show but from all the things I've read and seen, everyone genuinely respected him. It's really messing with my head." After a pause Rasmussen asked "Hey, wanna hear an Iowa Flood Victim zinger?"

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