The Double Standard Of Show Biz

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Wed May 13 04:32:07 MDT 2009


[I am thoroughly fed up with the blatant double standard when it comes to 
public statements. I wrote this piece last night and placed it on my 
"MySpace" blog. - JAQ:]


Wednesday, May 13, 2009
[]

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

           Unless you live like a hermit under a large rock, you've at 
least heard something about Saturday night's White House Correspondents' 
Association dinner (held on May 9, 2009). Wanda Sykes crossed the line of 
decorum and good taste with a death wish for Rush Limbaugh. She also told 
this joke: "I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was 
just so strung out on oxycontin he missed his flight."

           Even a tiresome, chronically angry, bomb-throwing blowhard like 
Keith Olbermann thought she was out of line. "I'm not sure, I think that 
was probably -- probably in bad taste", Olbermann confided to CBS newsman, 
Harry Smith. Smith defended Sykes' tasteless repartee.. by saying, "you 
know what, any comedian, anybody who does that job, their job is to push 
the envelope."

           No, that's not true. Not even close! A comedian's job is very 
simply to make people laugh. Some of the greatest comics of all-time never 
needed to "push the envelope." Johnny Carson (no conservative by any 
means), Rodney Dangerfield, Red Skelton, the Marx Brothers, the Howard 
Brothers (Moe, Curley and Shemp), Bob Hope, Jack Benny, George Burns, 
Milton Berle, Red Buttons, the recently expired Dom Deluise, Jackie 
Gleason, Flip Wilson, Jonathan Winters, Bill Cosby, Bud Abbott & Lou 
Costello.......none of these famous comics were "envelope pushers." Most of 
this list of brilliant comics did their acts completely free of profanity, 
as well. But, that's not the focus of this piece. Even some of today's best 
comics, Dana Carvey, Darrell Hammond, Frank Caliendo, Robin Williams, and 
Jay Leno know there's a line not to cross.

           Ms. Sykes is not alone in her quest to cross boundaries. In 
April of this year, Janeane Garofalo publicly dismissed the coast-to-coast 
tax protests (Tea Parties) as purely racism. She recently opened up her 
show in Boston thusly, "hey, all you tea-baggers out there.......white 
power!" Al Franken openly called for the assassination of then-President 
George W. Bush in 2006, during Franken's radio show on Air America. Franken 
later claimed he was joking. During another radio show, Franken likened the 
Holy Eucharist in the Catholic Mass, to "chips and Guacamole." When 
reminded that this is considered a blasphemous statement to all practicing 
Catholics, Franken shrugged it off by saying that his "wife is Catholic and 
wasn't offended." Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the literal Body 
of Christ. Franken's wife is likely not a practicing Catholic any longer.

           Harry Smith said of the comic profession, "You can't go home -- 
you can't go home to the community of comedians unless you've gone too 
far." MY question to Smith is how did we come this far without without the 
presence of disrespectful ridicule becoming commonplace until now? What has 
changed in the last decade that makes it okay to inject death threats, 
blasphemy, mean and cruel mockery into one's comedic stylings? Is it funny? 
I sure don't find it the slightest bit amusing, personally.

           Having spent some time as a gag writer and radio comic myself, I 
know that for humor to be effective, there must be a kernel of truth 
somewhere within the joke. I have a hunch that were a conservative comic to 
use such harsh banter in their act, they'd have the book thrown at them, 
and perhaps would suddenly find themselves without work. Sauce for the 
goose is never sauce for the gander in show business. There is a distinct 
and sickening double standard. It's high time to start calling them on it, 
too.
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