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View Diary: Lewis Black: "Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette's" (282 comments)

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  •  I used to really like Miller. (7+ / 0-)

    But right-wing comedians forget the formula: "Humor first, then politics." They always reverse it.

    I like Black a lot (I've seen him live, during a set when he recorded an album actually) but on Back in Black he can be hit or miss. (He doesn't write all his own material for that segment.) His standup routines are dead-on, though.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Thu May 13, 2010 at 08:31:01 AM PDT

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    •  Actually... (18+ / 0-)

      Gawker's Ravi Somaiya had a very interesting piece on why conservatives don't seem to be that funny in the wake of James O'Keefe and friends getting arrested, and he specifically mentioned Miller.

      Or it might be that comedy, like journalism, is best when it comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. It's certainly partly built of empathy. ACORN, for all of its flaws, mainly works to give voice to the disenfranchised. Sure, you can trick them and sneakily edit your reporting and make them look silly, like O'Keefe did. But comforting the comfortable, and afflicting the afflicted just comes off as mean and nasty and smug. See: Dennis Miller and Ann Coulter.

      Coulter and Miller were a sorority girl and and frat boy  — Delta Gamma and Sigma Tau Gamma respectively. Which stands in contrast to the depressed, substance-abusing end of society that spawns many funny people. Richard Pryor made jokes about his cock looking like a foot from all the STDs he'd caught, and about setting himself on fire while smoking crack. We fear he would not be at all Sigma Tau Gamma material.

      O'Keefe, from all we know about him, is more their stuff. He has grown up in a wealthy bubble, in slacks and blazers from the cradle up. That bubble is almost a prerequisite of conservatism — it's hard to be poor, or experience poverty, and still think poor people are just lazy. That is not to say privilege is a bar to humor or empathy, but if the toughest experience you've had is Juanita ironing an inadequate crease into your golf pants even though you've told her about this before, you may struggle to wield the comedy of universal experience.

      Even if they have done some dumb, amusing things with their lives, conservatives are not given to self-deprecation, another shortcut to laughs. If Rush Limbaugh joked about Oxycontin, or Bill O'Reilly made falafel gags in the same way Letterman referenced his cheating, they might be more likeable.

      That last paragraph I quoted seems to be why the Blue Collar Comedy Tour is successful, because those guys do have the ability to be self-deprecating.  I mean, Jeff Foxworthy's whole "you may be a redneck..." schtick is based off of self-deprecating humor, because the audience knows he comes from that crowd.

      But I can't seem to ever recall Dennis Miller being self-deprecating, even during his SNL days.

      •  That's a really good analogy (14+ / 0-)

        Left wing humor comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.

        Right wing humor comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.

        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

        by raptavio on Thu May 13, 2010 at 09:24:40 AM PDT

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      •  You nailed it.... (10+ / 0-)

        ... on the self-deprecating humor.  

        You'll never see that kind of humor from Rush. Why? He's too insecure. His ego is too fragile to ever portray HIMSELF as a fool. He has to be RIGHT, he has to be unchallenged, he cannot entertain doubts about his own righteousness -- that would be like admitting he has weaknesses and flaws, which is anathema to his concept (or at least his portrayal) of what a Real Man(tm) is.  

        It takes a certain comfort with one's own frailties and self-image to be able to crack jokes about them.

        Rush spends entirely too much mental energy denying he has any such frailties.... despite all evidence to the contrary.... to joke about them.

      •  Miller's "character" couldn't be self-deprecating (10+ / 0-)

        "Cocky snide know-it-all asshole" is his shtick, and it worked pretty well on SNL, making him the best Weekend Update anchor ever.  Thing is, he never got new material.  He was doing the Weekend Update format on his own basement-rated show long after he was gone from SNL, which indicated that he either didn't hire writers, couldn't keep good ones, or just couldn't deliver writers lines effectively.

        He couldn't be bothered to change his routine even during his brief tenure as a sports commentator.  "Gosh, I haven't seen that since {{obscure historical figure}} {{obscure historical action}}".  That's not erudition, that's Mad Libs with an encyclopedia.

        So I'll give him that he's consistent, he's still got "cocky snide know-it-all asshole" ... he just doesn't have "funny".  He's just stale and washed up and he knows it.

        Kill the filibuster!

        by sproingie on Thu May 13, 2010 at 10:07:51 AM PDT

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        •  Wo wo--better than Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          No way!

          "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

          by Villagejonesy on Thu May 13, 2010 at 05:36:22 PM PDT

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          •  Better than Joe Piscopo anyway (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But that's not saying much.  I think Eddie Murphy was the only cast member who kept the show going back then.

            I haven't watched SNL in a long long time, so I never did watch Tina Fey that much, but I'll give you those two.

            Kill the filibuster!

            by sproingie on Fri May 14, 2010 at 09:15:09 AM PDT

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