March 25, 2006

Bob Newhart tells a 9/11 joke.

You can joke about 9/11, can't you? You just have to find the right way to do it:
Reading recently about the Zacarias Moussaoui trial, his "button-down mind" found an angle on the 9/11 pilots, and he has been toying with it as a possible stand-up bit.

"They didn't want to learn to take off and land," he said. "They just wanted to fly. Some have criticized the F.B.I. because that should have been a red flag. But I saw it as a case of —" he studied his coffee table it as if it were a weekly planner — " 'O.K., well, I don't have to come in Monday; I can come in late Tuesday; Wednesday and Thursday, O.K., that's flying; and then I don't have to come in Friday.'"

23 comments:

CB said...

I don't get it.

peter hoh said...

It's labored. And maybe I don't get it, either, but I think he's trying to suggest that the FBI guys weren't interested in doing the hard parts of their job, either.

PatCA said...

I don't get it either.

Terri said...

Heh. Like a college student trying to work out a TuWeTh schedule with no classes before 10am. The second half of the joke [the daily planner part] is referring to the hijackers, not the FBI.

Eli Blake said...

I don't have a problem conceptually about telling a 9/11 joke (I've heard some Pearl Harbor jokes on occasion) but I do have a problem with the joke-- it's a really stupid joke.

Eli Blake said...

But this does bring up the question of whether a doddering old washed up former comedian needs to recognize that he'll never be Bob Hope and look for something else to do.

Ann Althouse said...

Wow! I didn't know Bob Newhart had antagonists! I thought it was funny. To be fair, he's described as working on this joke, sketching out the direction it would go. Maybe this is just the middle of the ultimate joke, and you folks want to hear more of a punchline -- you want the joke to land.

Jeff said...

Monday is takeoffs. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are flying. Fryday is landings.

Funny. Not hilariously funny, but Newhart doesn't do that kind of funny. It would certainly be funnier with his intonation.

CB said...

Now I get it--thanks terri & jeff. Actually it is pretty good. Good jokes can be made about awful events; the trick seems to be to do it indirectly. The Simpsons and Seinfeld both joked about Kennedy's assasination by satirizing the movie JFK, and I think Seinfeld pulled off the only non-offensive Holocaust joke ever: making out during Shindler's List. So a good 9/11 joke would have to be about someone whose birthday or wedding anniversary is September 11, or something like that.

Chris O'Brien said...

Newhart is allll about the delivery. I can't believe most of his material would be funny transcribed but to actually hear it is too laugh....but I'll bet to hear it live it would work.

Ann Althouse said...

I guess I could "hear" his delivery.

Gaius Arbo said...

I have always rather like Bob Newhart, and I can "hear" his delivery, too. I don't think this is up to his usual standards, though. But maybe by the time it is finished, it will be.

Verification word: hkhoadah, I believe that's Hawaiian for "joke needs work", isn't it?

PDS said...

I still don't get it, but nothing in the joke provokes me to go burn buildings or take over an embassy, so, he's got that going for him, which is nice.

Ron said...

I know we've won the War on Terror when I see a late night commercial where a car salesman says: "I declare jihad on high prices!"

We're not there yet!

bearbee said...

Not that I am a big fan but delivery...yes.

Dead-pan looks, stumbling pauses, nervous stutterings.....

vbspurs said...

I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of "I don't get its".

But about the larger point of joking, I think as long as you're not racist (and not a shock-jock, who are expected to be racist, and everything else), you're fine.

Jokes from beloved, but has-been comics about 9/11 are okay. Kinda.

On-air jokes about Secretary of States who are "coons" are out.

Cheers,
Victoria

Chris O'Brien said...

PDS said:
"I still don't get it, but nothing in the joke provokes me to go burn buildings or take over an embassy, so, he's got that going for him, which is nice."

Right, but see, that's how I get when I hear some of Carrot Top's stuff.

AJ Lynch said...

It's clever and does bring back to me the ins and outs of scheduling classes and deciding which and how many I could cut.

For instance, in my first semester at Villanova, my Tuesdays and Thursdays went like this.
830AM Business Math- cut and go eat breakfast. 10AM Philosophy class- cut and go play basketball in the field house. 330PM Economics- hell we ain't sticking around for that- let's go home before rush hour. You can probably guess- I flunked the economics class.

SteveR said...

With Newhart its all about delivery. If you read a transcript of one of his funniest bits like the driver's ed instructor I doubt it'd be funny.

Reminds of a Conan O'Brien skit right before the New Year's 2000 celebration when there were threats of terrorist attacks. It was done in a Jeff Foxworthy style,

"if the guy next to you in Times Square yells Jihad instead of yee ha, he might be a terrorist"

Elizabeth said...

Gosh, Eli, did Newhart pee in your Rice Crispies?

MadisonMan said...

Victoria, as I understand it, the on-air "talent" stumbled over the word "coup" and immediately apologized. Not enough, I guess.

I don't see Bob Newhart's joke as a 9-11 joke per se, but more of a terrorist joke. Splitting hairs, maybe.

vbspurs said...

Victoria, as I understand it, the on-air "talent" stumbled over the word "coup" and immediately apologized. Not enough, I guess.

No he apologised profusely, if you heard the tape of the incident.

I did so last night, when I was in the car listening to NPR.

People aren't questioning his apology, but the sincerity of whether it was a "slip" or not.

I don't see Bob Newhart's joke as a 9-11 joke per se, but more of a terrorist joke. Splitting hairs, maybe.

The Aristocrats!!

Cheers,
Victoria

knoxgirl said...

Right, but see, that's how I get when I hear some of Carrot Top's stuff.

LOL