Do a little archival comedy research. It's a very interesting historical enterprise. Not only can we observe the public sentiment of the political atmosphere at the time, but we can chuckle at the outdated jargon and references. One of my favorite examples is George Carlin. He started out totally apolitical and then got more and more political as time went on.
My favorite routine of his is the Stuff routine. Pure comedy genius. I believe this will totally stand the test of time simply because we all can still relate to this theme. Having too much stuff in America and feeling overwhelmed by our possessions is pretty darn pervasive. He didn't just jab at current events and politicians of the time, but made broad-reaching, deeply rooted cultural observations. I'm not a giant fan of his later, punny, political stuff, even though I mostly agree with what he had to say. How about you?
ACTION: Go to a cafe every day for a week and read the newspaper. Write for an hour on the headlines. Make associations, references, and observations. Don't even try to be funny–try to notice things and talk about how you feel abou them. And HAVE A POINT OF VIEW. Perhaps you were a stockbroker and now you're just broke. And that's your point of view on politics. I personally tend to be pretty apolitical in terms of talking about what's in the news and what I think about politics. But my comedy is personal, and as we learned from feminism in the 70's, personal is political. So regardless of whether you talk about Jimmy Carter–wait, what year is it?–make sure you talk about how you personally feel about what's happening in the world and not just what you think they think you think is funny.
STAY TUNED: more tantalizing comedy secrets tomorrow! Also check out these series of How To's: