April 2, 2009

"I hit the stage, not knowing what I would say first till the second i put the mike to my face."

"I looked at them all and said 'how are you fuckers doing?' The place went bezerk and it became instantly plain to me what they needed and wanted and what I needed to do. 'You people are in a very fucked up place. I mean, it's Kuwait, the dessert and right over there is a starbucks. I saw the sign and thought it would be a little tent with coffe, but it's a real starbucks! With the jazz music, the chess tables and the faggot with the laptop.' They couldn't believe it. the laughs were enormous. I was filthy. It was awesome. People were going crazy. It was like looking out over choppy water. People rocking back and forth, punching each other, clapping, stamping. It was mayhem. Every time I went way over the line I would say 'I'm so sorry. I am not supposed to be saying any of this. I"m so sorry. Am I in trouble?' which would only make them laugh more. The sargent major was in the front row, arms folded, surrounded by Colonels and whatnot. None of them laughing. All aroudn them were young warriors, men and women of all ages, laughing and cheering at things that NONE of them could think about saying on this base, EVER."

Louis C.K. on a Middle East USO trip. Much more, including photos and video, at the link. Via Metafilter.

55 comments:

former law student said...

Nice what he is doing for the troops. It reminds me of what some comedian said around 1970, that he dreamed of a world one day in which Bob Hope could stay home.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Yes, yes, he said faggot, I say faggot, you say faggot, they say faggot...and so on.

rhhardin said...

The 7th century with Starbucks.

That normally wouldn't be possible except for something to do with Vienna and global time machine trade. I've forgotten the Vienna story coffee details whatever they were.

Anyway, as he says, we're in the dessert, which I assume Starbucks offers wherever you are.

Salamandyr said...

I might have to pay more attention to this guy, he seems to have got it.

Being an enlisted soldier is, pretty much most of the time, a crappy job. And in every bunch of non-com's and officers, there's that one asshole whose life isn't complete if the troops are enjoying themselves. Add to it, enlisteds are young, trained to kill and do hard labor. You don't entertain these guys (and gals) with sing-a-longs and ice cream socials. Give em the blue stuff, dirty and not too subtle. They'll love you for it.

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm surprised our hostess held back on the customary [sic]. Dessert? Coffe? These created misfirings in my reading brain that added to the funny.

amba said...

He is great. You should hear him on parenthood. Again, he says all the stuff you're not supposed to say. Try to catch the gig on Showtime I wrote about here. It was the first I'd even heard of him, and I was sold.

Bissage said...

JOHN VALBY: (to audience) How many alcoholics do we have here tonight?

AUDIENCE: [applauds, hoots and hollers]

JOHN VALBY: How many potheads?

AUDIENCE: [applauds, hoots and hollers]

JOHN VALBY: (revolted) God . . . same fucking assholes.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Give em the blue stuff, dirty and not too subtle. They'll love you for it.

The next thing you know some captured terrorist gets a pair of panties stuck on his head and someone loses their stripes.

Palladian said...

Faggots are always good for a laugh. Where were the parts about the niggers, spics, gooks and rag-heads?

ElcubanitoKC said...

Not always, Palladian dearest, we also create drama and grief.

And have you listened to Margaret Cho, Dave Chapelle and Carlos Mencia?

Salamandyr said...

Faggots are always good for a laugh. Where were the parts about the niggers, spics, gooks and rag-heads?

Don't forget crackers, honkies, breeders, and 'The Man'. Comedy isn't nice. You can't really have comedy and lack of offense; you can make fun of yourself, or you can make fun of others. The best comics do both.

Palladian said...

"And have you listened to Margaret Cho, Dave Chapelle and Carlos Mencia?"

Crass entertainments are for the lower sort.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Palladian said...
"And have you listened to Margaret Cho, Dave Chapelle and Carlos Mencia?"

Crass entertainments are for the lower sort.

9:53 AM



I am just going to raise an eyebrow at you, and let it be.

garage mahal said...

Faggots are always good for a laugh. Where were the parts about the niggers, spics, gooks and rag-heads?

I think Rush Limbaugh starts in about an hour.

Beth said...

Oh Palladian. You just don't get it. He's edgy, man! He's saying what you can't say, man! He's doing it for the troops, man! NOBODY has EVER said FAGGOT on a military base, man! He's all about the troops, you silly faggot.

Christopher said...

"And have you listened to Margaret Cho. . ."

One doesn't listen to Margaret Cho. One endures her. Like a colicky baby. Or a shit-flinging monkey.

Palladian said...

"I think Rush Limbaugh starts in about an hour."

Now THAT'S comedy!

Zeb Quinn said...

The next thing you know some captured terrorist gets a pair of panties stuck on his head and someone loses their stripes.

You got that exactly right. It isn't that the senior officers and non-coms don't have a sense of humor. They do. But they also know that raucous iconoclastic no-holds-barred humor and the breakdown of discipline intersect. And that's exactly where things like Abu Ghraib come from.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Faggots are always good for a laugh. Where were the parts about the niggers, spics, gooks and rag-heads?

You evidently aren't familiar with the military. There is no racial bigotry. They don't look down on niggers, spics, greasers, wops or kikes. Everyone is considered equally worthless.

Just ask Gunnery Sgt. Hartman.

traditionalguy said...

Too many male brains in one place. Their straight line thinking to go kill someone before he kills you has left out the more subtle female emotions and the nuances of Artistic expression. But if they were not there, we would not be safely enjoying our freedoms to share our intelligent debates about who has the right to be offended the most by someone else. FYI Kuwait in the Summer months makes Death Valley, California seem like Canada.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You got that exactly right. It isn't that the senior officers and non-coms don't have a sense of humor. They do. But they also know that raucous iconoclastic no-holds-barred humor and the breakdown of discipline intersect.

Then you have the inevitable Congresscritter who will see this and start screaming at the Pentagon that this type of intolerant, crude, disgusting and OFFENSIVE humor has no place being subjected to our professional military. And of course some PR officer who ok'd the program will have to fall on his sword and end up finishing his/her tour in Diego Garcia.

Sofa King said...

Faggots are always good for a laugh.

Really? I sort of get the impression that there's a dearth of gay comedians, which seems strange. I would have thought by now someone would have done the whole "gay people vs. faggots" spin-off of Chris Rock.

Peter V. Bella said...

But they also know that raucous iconoclastic no-holds-barred humor and the breakdown of discipline intersect. And that's exactly where things like Abu Ghraib come from.

And your expertise to make such a bald face dishonest statement comes from where? Mahr, Colbert, Stewart? If that were the case, all entertainment would be banned in case some troop decided he heard torture rag heads in the lyrics of Mares Eat Oats…

Abu Gharib was caused by a break down or absence of leadership, not some soldiers listening to stand up comedians.

Smilin' Jack said...

What's the big deal about faggot? I thought they were upset because he said fuck.

class-factotum said...

Where were the parts about the niggers, spics, gooks and rag-heads?

My friend Mike is black. His father retired from the army when Mike was 14 and they moved to Memphis. That was the first time Mike says he ever experienced racism. "The black kids said I acted white and the white kids didn't like me because I was black. All that mattered in the army was my dad's rank." (Which is its own issue, but not for this forum.)

former law student said...

I sort of get the impression that there's a dearth of gay comedians

True. Frank DeCaro is really funny, but he's fundamentally a writer. And there's the eternal Rip Taylor. But there are far more lesbian comedians (Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie o'Donnell, Lily Tomlin, Judy Gold, Wanda Sykes) than gay ones. Where are the queens of yesteryear: Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, et al.?

ElcubanitoKC said...

Paul Lynde is one of my favorite comedians of all times.

Zeb Quinn said...

And your expertise to make such a bald face dishonest statement comes from where?

Five years on active duty, 1968 to 1973, 16 months in Vietnam, 36 months as a non-com myself. How's that?

Mahr, Colbert, Stewart? If that were the case, all entertainment would be banned in case some troop decided he heard torture rag heads in the lyrics of Mares Eat Oats…

Who said ban it? The leadership here expressed its displeasure and disapproval. But, probably, with a little foreknowledge of the content and the exact nature of his schtick, this particular dude would've never have been scheduled in the first place. Not banned. Just not invited.

Abu Gharib was caused by a break down or absence of leadership, not some soldiers listening to stand up comedians.

Breakdown of discipline so as to to have a raucous iconoclastic no-holds-barred good time. That's what I said.

I say again, a break down of discipline. An anathema in a military environment. And something many civilians have no concept of.

peter hoh said...

God Bless America!

Peter V. Bella said...

I say again, a break down of discipline. An anathema in a military environment. And something many civilians have no concept of.

As a former NCO, I would beg that we agree to disagree. Breakdown in discipline, an anathema in a military environment, is caused by a lack of leadership and training, apathetic leadership, or leadership that is blind to what is going on.

If there was proper leadership and proprerly trained leaders in that prison the incidents would not have occured or at least not on the levels that they did.

Seven Machos said...

Weird thread. Sounds like a wonderful little kabuki dance to me (at the actual web page).

I'm glad the troops could laugh. I'm glad it's something we do. I'm glad they get to rub against Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. It's tough out there, man, being a soldier.

Hoosier Daddy said...

PVB, I think the point I was making sort of tongue and cheek and what Zeb followed up on is that the blue humor is fun right up to the point somone gets offended and its not the comedian who's in trouble, its the military who was insenstive enough to expose the troops to such nasty stuff. It's rather akin to the old adage of 'it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye'.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm glad they get to rub against Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.

Wait...they get to do this? I didn't see any of that in the commercials.

Is 42 too old to enlist?

Seven Machos said...

It's all fun and games until we start talking about pussy and faggots.

Pogo said...

1. If Chris Rock or Dave Chapelle had said this, and they've said worse, there'd be nary a peep.

2. I can imagine that it could in fact cause a big discipline problem, poses a risk for escalation, and that careers might be screwed because of it. Not necessarily, but possibly.

3. Aren't there any venues for soldiers that are devoid of officers? Should there be?

4. Didn't Andrew Dice Clay already cover this ground?

5. Mocking gays in comedy is only okay if every other group gets mocked. Otherwise, it's not funny but merely shocking; a cheap laugh lacking wit. If you can poke at everyone, including yourself, and make 'em laugh, that's a comedian. Bullies have no such range.

David said...

W.W.B.H.D.

What would Bob Hope do?

Make them laugh, of course. He was subversive of discipline too, in his own less raunchy way.

My dad had been in North Africa for over a year when he saw a Bob Hope show. Said he'd never laughed so hard in his life. After another year he saw Hope again, in Italy. Same result.

Hope sometimes displeased the brass. He didn't care. And he had enough clout that they couldn't forget to invite him.

If you haven't, read the whole trip blog. It's pretty interesting.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Patton couldn't stand Bill Mauldin's cartoon portrayls of disheveled GIs who complained all the time and showed disdain for the military leadership. Patton felt it undermined authority and discipline mostly because he was a stickler for spit and polish.

Michael McNeil said...

Kuwait in the Summer months makes Death Valley, California seem like Canada.

Utterly wrong. As Wikipedia points out: “Temperatures in [Death] Valley can range from highs around 130°F (54°C) in the summer to lows below 32°F (0°C) in the winter. […] The highest average temperature is in July at 117°F (47°C), with temperatures of 122°F (50°C) or higher being very common. The highest temperature ever recorded in the United States, according to National Weather Service records, was 134°F (56.7°C) at Furnace Creek (then known as Greenland Ranch) [in Death Valley] during a sandstorm on July 10, 1913.”

Whereas, in the case of Kuwait, as this BBC Weather page, for instance, notes, the record high temperature ever recorded at Kuwait City is 48°C, or 118°F (i.e., only a degree C higher than the average summer temp in Death Valley), whilst the average daily maximum in Kuwait during the height of summer is a mere 40°C (104°F).

traditionalguy said...

Michael Mcneal... Kuwait City is on the water of the Persian Gulf where the Temps are always lower than 100 miles inland in the desert. You are comparing a Los Angeles to a Death Valley instead of a Mojave Desert to a Death Valley.

bearbee said...

Never heard of Louis C.K.

His 'fear' description had an almost palpable intensity Sounds like he was approaching out-of-body fear level.

That description should be required reading for those of us who sit around on our overstuffed chairs criticizing the military on general principle while never having experienced war or real fear.

I liked that chopper leap frog description.

Seven Machos said...

Okay, people, deserts are hot in the day and cold at night. There is very little water or vegetation. It's good to have a camel.

Next.

Salamandyr said...

It's rather akin to the old adage of 'it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye'.

Then it's just a game...Find the Eye.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wow, that is an awesome story well told if questionably spelled. Thank you, Althouse, for finding and linking it. I liked best the part about the entire isolated camp following him into the tent and then himself trying to get a handle on how to be funny in that utterly unfunny situation -- the whole psychology of breaking into unfamiliar territory, what is and isn't acceptable, what works and what doesn't. I am deeply moved.

Louis C.K. seem exceptionally self-aware, by his description of the low-level helicopter flight over Baghdad, and intuitive to the thoughts of those around him by what he imagines them thinking and feeling. *****

Tibore said...

Oh that's cool; CK said that Keni Thomas was with him.

For those who don't know, Thomas is now a country singer, but is best known for having been an Army Ranger who was in the Battle of Mogadishu. Yes, that's the "Black Hawk Down" fight. CK's got no better guide for his trip. Now if he could just spell Thomas's first name right (he calls him "Kenny").

holdfast said...

"Abu Gharib was caused by a break down or absence of leadership, not some soldiers listening to stand up comedians."

Bingo - but of course "leaders" who are not really leaders, and know it, will substitute zero-tolerance management for real leadership - because they are incapable of real leadership.

Anyway, what the comedian said wasn't really aimed at gay people - it was aimed at latte-sippers of all sexual orientations, and really at all the safe-at-home civvies - kind of like Jody calls.

Anyway, far worse things are said in the President's [ex-]church every week.

Michael McNeil said...

Kuwait City is on the water of the Persian Gulf where the Temps are always lower than 100 miles inland in the desert. You are comparing a Los Angeles to a Death Valley instead of a Mojave Desert to a Death Valley.

A lot of Kuwait lies on or near the Gulf, while no part stands as far as 100 miles inland. (The maximum distance away from the Gulf is about 70 miles, and the large bulk of localities lie within about 50 miles of it.)

Moreover, Kuwait City (and other near coastal locations) are in Kuwait — and all the point I was refuting stipulated was “Kuwait” — while most of the people in Kuwait live and work in… Kuwait City.

Beyond that, (not that it matters, as laid out above, but) none of that even attempts to demonstrate that areas a mere 50 miles inland in Kuwait routinely get hotter than Death Valley — so much so as to make the latter “seem like Canada.” Yeah, right.

I notice, by the way, from Britannica that “Ground temperatures as high as 190°F (88°C) have been reported” in Death Valley. While it's possible that the edge of the Arabian Desert in Kuwait there can beat that, I wouldn't be quite so sure of it — unless one does have documentary evidence to the contrary, that is.

Certainly, no place in Kuwait lies hundreds of feet below sea level, as hundreds of square miles of Death Valley does in its lower extent. Having been down in the valley during summertime, I can testify that thick atmosphere makes a big diifference. Such air doesn't lose its heat at all easily or quickly. (During night, for instance, the desert didn't get cold; quite the contrary: a strong superheated wind blew through the extreme low-lying valley.)

Revenant said...

whilst the average daily maximum in Kuwait during the height of summer is a mere 40°C (104°F).

Which still raises the question: why the HELL would anyone live there?

I mean, seriously, people were living there for centuries before air conditioning was invented. What's up with that?

Seven Machos said...

It's not the film crew couldn't give that kid a sandwich.

Michael McNeil said...

Which still raises the question: why the HELL would anyone live there? I mean, seriously, people were living there for centuries before air conditioning was invented. What's up with that?

Well, for one thing the (Arabian peninsula) interior was even worse!

But that reminds me of the Bugs Bunny / Daffy Duck cartoon where the duo raid the Jack and the Beanstalk giant's castle. Bugs — not being overly greedy — escapes with (I think it was) only the magical singing harp, but Daffy, being overly greedy, of course dallies and gets caught.

The final scene has the giant relaxing by the fire. Pulling out his pocket watch, he opens it to reveal Daffy standing at attention within, ticking off the individual seconds and minutes with his outstretched arms — till at last, Daffy glances over at the viewer, shrugs and says, “It's a living!”

One might note that the people in such climes historically knew some interesting architectural gimmicks for keeping cool(er). And one could sleep through the heat of the day and orient one's social life around evening when things finally start to cool off. One might adapt, in other words, as humans do.

Beyond that, in winter it gets downright pleasant, even chilly. I'm from Montana (record cold temperature −70°F), so I can sympathize with that — though not with the horrid torrid summertime.

traditionalguy said...

Michael Mcneal... I surrender to your more exact scientific research. My knowledge of Kuwait came from the northernmost line held by the 505 PIR of the 82nd Airborne in the northern Saudi desert in mid-August of 1990. My knowledge of Death Valley came from a mid-August 1965 trip. To my mind the Saudi desert at 120F and the Death Valley floor at 109F stuck in my anecdotal mind. I hope you agree with me that anything over 105F ends the Dry Heat counter-argument. It is just not where a normal human would chose to live.Thank God for this year's Global Cooling back to 1980 Temps.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jdeeripper said...

Palladian said...Faggots are always good for a laugh. Where were the parts about the niggers, spics, gooks and rag-heads?

Palladian don't be such a self pitying drama queen.

You know what Louis meant by....the faggot with the laptop.. It's not a comment on homosexuals. He's talking about your generic, unmanly, White hetero guy using his laptop in a coffee shop.

Stop hogging the word faggot. Same with gay. It used to mean happy before you butt pirates stole it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Pondering: Is the word "faggot" used to refer more often to gay or straight men? I've heard it used by straight men plenty of times in my life, but always in reference to other straight men. (I'm sure there are men who use it to refer to gay men, but that seems more out of the mainstream of usage as I've encountered it.) I get that it's still insulting to gay men as it appears to reference them. In that way, that it's usually indirect, it's sort of a bizarre pejorative. Are there other similar pejoratives out there?

jdeeripper said...

Freeman Hunt said...Pondering: Is the word "faggot" used to refer more often to gay or straight men? ...In that way, that it's usually indirect, it's sort of a bizarre pejorative.

Are there other similar pejoratives out there?


Bitch is used to insult people who are not bitchy women. Apparently gays use that one toward each other but I think it might be a kind of flattery.

Men will also call another man a pussy or motherfucker without believing it literally applies to him. Same with retard.

Apropos your interest in the word "faggot" I do hope this isn't your little female brain working on a plan to "educate" your two sons into being sensitive, caring men who don't want to hurt people's feelings.

Nothing wrong with an occasional faggot/pussy/retard comment from a red blooded, all American young man.

I'm getting a sense that hubby may have to get more involved in the parenting here.

Last thing this country needs is more young White men getting soft and going Democrat.

Freeman Hunt said...

I've thought it over, and I've decided that that reply is just too weird for a response.