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
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,
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