AMSTERDAM/BOSTON (Reuters) - Did you hear that Goldman Sachs made the Iceland volcano erupt? It did pretty well shorting airlines.
It’s a joke, of course — Goldman isn’t quite that powerful — and there are plenty of others like it as comedians, traders and the man on the street take potshots at Wall Street’s biggest investment bank.
The gag about the volcano, which caused massive global travel disruptions and whacked airline stocks, has been making the rounds on Asian trading desks in recent days.
Ever since U.S. regulators filed fraud charges against the firm on April 16, Goldman has been the butt of just such a series of jokes.
Cartoonists in particular have found a rich vein of comedy with Goldman. One Washington Post panel shows a cop walking up to a couple of fat-cat bankers standing under a Goldman sign. One banker whispers to the other “Tell him we’re innocent. And we’ll hedge that by betting against our acquittal.”
Another cartoon shows a Goldman executive being hauled off in handcuffs: “They say we created a fund that was designed to fail ... and it was indeed a successful failure ... but now we’re being punished for our success ... this government’s anti-business!”
Multiple Goldman Sachs spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.
The jokes don’t stop there, thanks to the Internet and legions of budding comedy writers.
Goldman shorted the Titanic and contributed to its sinking. So goes one story. New historical evidence proves that the Roman Empire was brought down by its founders Golmanius and Sacsonia. And so on.
Facebook features a page — “liked” by 182 people — with the title “Vampire Squids are far superior to Goldman Sachs.” The name refers to the Rolling Stone magazine article published last summer that described the firm as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”
U.S. late-night TV hosts took their digs too.
David Letterman weighed in with a Top Ten list of Goldman excuses. The highlight, at No. 6, was: “We were framed by evil menswear company Goldman Slacks.”
His rival Jay Leno had his own take:
“Just four days after Goldman Sachs cost investors $12 billion by failing to tell them that they’re being investigated for fraud, they gave out another $5.4 billion in bonuses. Huh? Even Somali pirates are going, ‘Come on!’”
The Daily Show host Jon Stewart lined up this zinger: “For what? $5.4 billion in bonuses to your fraud division?”
Maybe the sharpest dig came from comedian Stephen Colbert. He riffed on Goldman’s once strong position in Washington, where many of its former executives have taken on powerful jobs over the years.
“Why are government employees filing a civil suit against Goldman Sachs? That’s just going to be embarrassing in a few years when they all go back to work at Goldman Sachs,” he asked.
Reporting by Ben Berkowitz in Amsterdam and Aaron Pressman in Boston. Editing by Robert MacMillan