Almost Famous Again

« January 2010 »

Memo to Gallagher, Ray Stevens, and Scott Baio: REVEL IN THE ATTENTION.

As Big Hollywood briefly proved, there are few things in this world funnier than bitter, washed-up, conservative entertainers. But Andrew Breitbart doesn't have the time or resources to get every single one of them to write for him. Especially now, since he really should get down to Louisiana and bail out his buddy John O'Keefe, the pimp in the ACORN "pimp/ho" videos who just got arrested for trying to plant a bug in Mary Landrieu's phone system. Oops. Anyway, in what is very, very convenient for me, three such conservatives from outside Breitbart's retard ranch have made the news in recent weeks, allowing me to lovingly craft a suitably-themed IDIOTS SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"Words are actors in your show. When you say a word, you are introducing that word to the audience as if it were an actor entering the scene. So the first time that the actor comes out onstage is important. So many of these comedians use 'fuck' and 'shit' right off the bat, and then lose the power of that word for a punchline later on. They also don’t pay attention to what they’re wearing or how they’re standing. And so we don’t really have a high level of performance in America, or even a demand that people onstage have studied, or pay attention to the performing arts. You can actually take a drink now during your show! You know, George Burns performed smoking a cigar, and never needed a drink of water on a stool. But now this has become a tradition in America. They more or less have a stool ready for you and ask, 'What water ya want?' To me, as a visual artist, everything that’s in the picture should have meaning—what does a stool and a bottle of water mean?" - Gallagher, in the Onion A/V Club.

If you are a fan of both schadenfreude and kicking bitter old crazy people while they're down, you need to read the Onion A/V Club's interview with Gallager from a few week's back. Seriously, the whole thing is like the above quote, only longer and even crazier. Here, the watermelon-smashing 80s comedy icon declares that he has discovered the problem with modern stand-up comedy, and it's too much swearing and too much bottled water. Of course, we all know the subtext of this. That the real problem with stand-up comedy is that nobody's coming to see Gallager hit things with a hammer between piquant observations on the kids today with their baggy pants and their tramp stamps.

There's a reason Gallagher hasn't been hailed as a legendary comedy genius. It's because he isn't one. Even in his prime, he was just funny enough to get famous in the '80s, and we all know how much talent was required to get famous in the '80s. Gallagher sees a comedy routine like a live taping of "All In The Family", and the word "fuck" like Caroll O'Connor walking down the stairs. I just hope people haven't been reading my fucking column before heading out the fucking door to see one of Gallagher's shit shit shitty shows. He might track me down and hit me with a sledgehammer.

"That was ‘62. CAIR wasn’t around. You know, there wasn’t evil or an intent in that song except for fun. And, you know, as a kid I read “Arabian Nights.” I was a big fan of the whole culture. And so I wrote this song as a comedy song just for fun. I think we’ve gone overboard with the political correctness just like so many other people think the same way about that. And I don’t know. We’ve got to come out of that, I think." - Ray Stevens, discussing with Bill O'Reilly how you just can't make fun of Arabs the way you used to.

I'm guessing Bill O'Reilly is opposed to euthanasia. Which is why I'm so surprised that he aired the world's most compelling argument FOR it on a recent episode of the Factor. Seriously, nothing convinces me it's time to start pushing people out onto the ice floe like Bill O'Reilly talking with Ray Stevens about why we can't sing good, old-fashioned, ethnic-mocking novelty songs like "Ahab The A-rab" anymore. Maybe Ray could write a new, topical comedy song about Dr. Kevorkian, and he and Bill could do the research together.

Their premise, of course, is inherently flawed. You can write a song like "Ahab The Arab" these days. You just can't write a simple, unfunny song full of ethnic stereotypes and expect people to buy it in mass quantities without anyone complaining. Well, unless you're Jeff Dunham, in which case you can make something just as unfunny and just as racist as "Ahab The A-rab" and make billions of dollars. Maybe Bill O'Reilly needs to shove his arm up Ray Stevens' ass.

"I'm NOT racist for posting a pic of M.O. My WIFE'S BEST FRD IS BLACK,HELLO... Do I look like I'm racist? This is Renee's BEST frd. STOP USING THE RACE CARD!!!... If I'm racist, don't think I would have Directed shows like The Parkers & The Wayans Bros. or worked 41 eps w/ Victoria Rowell on D.Murder" - A series of tweets from Scott Baio, who, despite being a washed-up conservative actor, has never posted on Big Hollywood.

So, what, pray tell, would make Scott Baio go completely apeshit on Twitter? Why is Charles no longer in charge of his emotions? Well, it's like this. Scott Baio, being a conservative, doesn't like Barack Obama or his wife. So Chachi posted a picture of Michelle Obama with her face contorted in that "in the middle of saying something" way, and posted a "joke" about how poor Barack Obama has to wake up to his ugly wife every single day. Scott Baio, being a conservative, thought this was funny.

Scott Baio's followers, on the other hand, thought it was tacky. And racist. And yelled at him. And that's when Baio lost his shit. Now, to be fair, the joke isn't really that racist. It's much more in the vein of "Chelsea Clinton, The White House Dog"-style mean-spirited sexist right-wing comedy. Oh, sure, you could make a somewhat compelling case that the "ugly" picture of a black woman Baio chose had her somewhat bug-eyed and with her teeth bared, but there's no real reason to dig that deeply into the subconscious racial assumptions of D-list actors. Not when you have their infuriated defense to poke holes in and mock.

I mean, his best defense against charges of racism is that he married someone with a black best friend? That's at least one step below "some of my best friends are black". Scott Baio has black acquaintances-in-law, everyone! Stop picking on him! And his second-best defense against being racist is that he takes a lot of jobs where he gets to sit in a chair and tell black people what to do all day. And his third-best defense is that he was on Diagnosis Murder. At that point, dude, just sign up to coach a team in the AABA, because if that's the best you've got, it'd actually be less sad and pathetic if you just said you hated black people.