August 1, 2017

"Thousands of angry comedians protested outside the White House on Monday afternoon, demanding the immediate reinstatement of the ousted communications director Anthony Scaramucci."

"Chanting 'Bring back Mooch,' the irate funnymen and funnywomen argued that the abrupt removal of Scaramucci was akin to taking the food out of their families’ mouths.... Buddy Schlantz, the owner of the Bethesda, Maryland, comedy club known as the Laff Pagoda, travelled to the White House to protest what he called 'a direct assault on the comedy community. Most comics I know are in a state of shock,' he said. 'Years from now, comedians will be asking each other, ‘Where were you when you found out that Scaramucci was canned?'..."

Writes Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker humorist, who probably did regret losing Scaramucci as a joke target. Or maybe not. It was too easy to use Scaramucci for comic purposes. Anyone could directly observe him and find him funny. He was funny even to those who liked him. What can you do with that? How many times can you riff on "Bohemian Rhapsody"?



ADDED: Comedians : Scaramucci :: Forest Therapy guides : forests.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ralph L said:
One of these years I'll figure out this Comedia dell arte business. The English upper classes must learn about it in grade school, because it's in Christie, Father Brown, and nearly every other English writer I read. I fail to see anything funny in what little I know about it.
Here's the Wikipedia article on Commedia dell'arte (note the spelling).
Commedia dell'arte... was an an early form of professional theatre, originating from Italy, that was popular in Europe from the 16th through the 18th century.... Some of the better known commedia dell'arte characters are Pierrot and Pierrette, Pantalone, Il Dottore, Brighella, Il Capitano, Colombina, the innamorati, Pedrolino, Pulcinella, Sandrone, Scaramuccia (also known as Scaramouche), La Signora, and Tartaglia.
Clicking on Scaramuccia:
Scaramuccia (literally "little skirmisher"), also known as Scaramouche or Scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte (comic theatrical arts). The role combined characteristics of the zanni (servant) and the Capitano (masked henchman). Usually attired in black Spanish dress and burlesquing a don, he was often beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.

53 comments:

rehajm said...

Under Trump the goal of comedians has changed.

mccullough said...

The comedians are still looking for what was were it used to be

Charlie said...

In three weeks no will even remember who he was.

Ann Althouse said...

Why did comedians call him "Mooch"? Scaramucci is one of the funniest names ever. Why change it to something else?

Oso Negro said...

Whatever else may be true about the man, the photos of him that made the media inevitably portrayed him as an oily, swaggering goomba.

BDNYC said...

Andy Borowitz is probably the least funny professional humorist in America. His New Yorker column is so spectacularly bad that it makes me embarrassed for him and the New Yorker. The fact that he has a cushy job at an esteemed publication is an insult to the entire comedy genre.

tcrosse said...

"We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known."
Muggeridge's Law, as restated by Tom Wolfe.

Ralph L said...

Somewhere I saw Mooch was his nickname on Wall Street.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I hate Colbert. He can rot.

Ralph L said...

One of these years I'll figure out this Comedia dell arte business. The English upper classes must learn about it in grade school, because it's in Christie, Father Brown, and nearly every other English writer I read. I fail to see anything funny in what little I know about it.

BDNYC said...

What he writes is meant to be satire, but because he isn't remotely funny he doesn't do satire very well. His column reads like one of those fake news websites with real-sounding articles and disclaimers at the bottom stating that the articles are satire. If you have to be told it's satire, it's not satire. The Onion doesn't have to tell you it's satire.

traditionalguy said...

They are actually relieved. The Mooch was a hard comedian act to follow.

The funniest stuff on air now is pre-emotive Russia Collusion factoids that mean nothing if true, but are passionately described as proof of Trump fightting back.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

They survived 8 years without being able to make jokes about the previous administration. What's the problem?

Kevin said...

So once again Colbert went for the cheap, obvious laugh? If most of the people on this thread can make a joke, it's not worthy of a professional comedian.

Colbert and his ilk have long since stopped trying to be funny and instead shot for entertaining. They have become nothing more than the jester trying their best to please the assembled court.

Ann Althouse said...

"Andy Borowitz is probably the least funny professional humorist in America. His New Yorker column is so spectacularly bad that it makes me embarrassed for him and the New Yorker. The fact that he has a cushy job at an esteemed publication is an insult to the entire comedy genre."

I think somehow he hits the zone for New Yorker readers. His pieces seem to consistently rank high on the most-read list on the website.

The New Yorker -- despite its cartoons — is generally written from a very serious point of view. I think the readership is not high on the comic perception scale, and I think Borowitz may work for people who kind of need the comic idea beaten into their head.

The cartoons are different. They have a humorous feeling to the drawings that lightens the text and cues you to feel amused.

Mr. D said...

I think somehow he hits the zone for New Yorker readers. His pieces seem to consistently rank high on the most-read list on the website.

The zone in question isn't laughing, but sneering.

Kevin said...

I think somehow he hits the zone for New Yorker readers. His pieces seem to consistently rank high on the most-read list on the website.

It is the intent to laugh at the right subjects, not the actual level of humor that counts in today's world.

The National Review could have someone consistently mock Pelosi in an unfunny manner, and it be at the top of the items read and forwarded.

glenn said...

This whole Scaramucci thing is almost as much fun as election night watching all those media mooks eat it. Almost.

Birkel said...

In Soviet America, jokes tell you.

Earnest Prole said...

It's rumored his skirmisher is small but perfectly formed.

Bob Boyd said...

Somebody remind Debbie Wassermann-Schultz that becoming a cooperating witness for the Justice Dept can boost immunity and mood.

tcrosse said...

Don't forget the ever-popular Stucazzo.

MadisonMan said...

I think Scaramucci is way too easy a target. Comedians are just pissed that they'll have to work a bit longer to say something anti-Trump that will play oh-so-well in their studio audience slash echo chamber.

Bay Area Guy said...

The phrase "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, can you do the Fandango?" is damn addicting. I can't stop saying it - in the shower, on the can, while driving, while cooking, not necessarily in that order.

Ergo, I must insist that the "Mooch" be rehired immediately by Trump.

Earnest Prole said...

Andy Borowitz does his job well enough that his satire is often mistaken for the real-life thing he's lampooning -- although these days that's a lower bar; when I first read Ryan Lizza's New Yorker interview with Anthony Scaramucci, I thought it was a Borowitz piece with the wrong byline.

Michael K said...

I have repeatedly recommended as an introduction to the history of the French Revolution the Sabatini novel, "Scaramouche" which does the history quite accurately and which has a lengthy subplot on the Commedia dell Arte characters in a traveling actor troupe at the time of the Revolution.

Mike said...

Exaggeration for comedic effect. C'mon comedy pros. You can do better. The truth is that Scaramucci will be a minor trivia question in the future, the least memorable thing about this administration, when the history is written.

Mike said...

The New Yorker -- despite its cartoons — is generally written from a very serious point of view. I think the readership is not high on the comic perception scale, and I think Borowitz may work for people who kind of need the comic idea beaten into their head.

This is true. "Dry and disapproving" would be the operative words to describe their tone, IMO. My wife and I listed to the fiction podcasts at night, falling asleep. Deborah Triesman even sounds serious when she's being light and witty with authors.

I think this particular New Yorker podcast is one that I originally learned about via Althouse blog.

Bob Loblaw said...

It's amazing how under eight years of Obama there was nothing funny, and now we have comedians going up for the easy layups like amateurs. I mean, you hear the guy's name, you hum a few bars of Queen, and that's pretty much as far as that joke goes before it's stale.

Bob Loblaw said...

And yea, Colbert just isn't funny. You clap and cheer if you agree with his politics, but you're not actually laughing.

Anthony said...

I always thought Scaramuuci did pretty well on Mornings With Maria on FBN.

rhhardin said...

The point of the comic chaos is to make the media report it. They can't resist. It suits their demographic and they have to run it, or their audience will watch the other competition.

Simultaneously it shows the media as an entertainment choice and not a serious endevour, which takes them out of public debate. That's the goal.

No more soap opera women editing what can be said.

rhhardin said...

There's the additional problem that women have somehow to be made more self-aware.

"Now I'm thinking like a woman. I've got to stop that when I vote or the whole system will crash down."

Left Bank of the Charles said...

In this drama, who is Harlequin and who is the Clown? "Originally a foil for Harlequin's slyness and adroit nature, Clown was a buffoon or bumpkin fool who resembled less a jester than a comical idiot."

Brian McKim and Traci Skene said...

Borowitz is dull and witless. And the "jokes" I've from most of the comics online have been lame, unimaginative and unoriginal... Kinda like Borowtz's satire here. It's mostly meta stuff-- joking about the jokes they'll write, the jokes they wrote or the jokes that "write themselves" but, mysteriously, never get written. Their output is regularly eclipsed by "civilians" who tweet or post funnier jokes or memes. My theory is that they don't know the details of any news story or know only one, slender side of it so their gags are necessarily superficial and trivial. I also suspect that "too easy a target" is code for "I got nothing," which leads to...nothing.

EDH said...

Colbert and Scaramucci evidently have similar subconscious thoughts that well up to the surface when upset.

From "cock holster" to "suck one's own cock."

Bob Boyd said...

The Mooch wasn't trying to holster his own cock...so to speak.

YoungHegelian said...

I'm so old I actually remember when Borowitz was funny, & not just a partisan hack.

Now, I don't consider Borowitz a comic. I consider him a live sex act, where he gets on stage & performs whatever unnatural act the Democrats call on him to do.

A comic who's job it is to shill for one of the two major political parties... Lenny Bruce must be in Heaven saying "Oh, Lord, smite them now!".

FullMoon said...

"Andy Borowitz is probably the least funny professional humorist in America. His New Yorker column is so spectacularly bad that it makes me embarrassed for him and the New Yorker.

Comment makes me think of comedians on talent shows who are so bad that I imagine they must have been trying to think of an occupation, and decided "comedian looks like fun",. Bad jokes, bad timing, just all around bad.

~ Gordon Pasha said...

Obviously the author is not a fan of Rafael Sabatini

Leora said...

I second Michael K. The sentence "He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that hte world was mad." from Scaramouche is included in the iron work at Yale University done around around the time the book was newly released.

Brookzene said...

I hate Colbert. He can rot.

Okay, let's go back up to your dream cloud. Remember? Close your eyes and think of the clouds in the sky. Nothing can hurt you here.

Brookzene said...

And yea, Colbert just isn't funny. You clap and cheer if you agree with his politics, but you're not actually laughing.

That is something how you never hear the audience from Colbert laughing.

FullMoon said...

Brookzene said...

And yea, Colbert just isn't funny. You clap and cheer if you agree with his politics, but you're not actually laughing.

That is something how you never hear the audience from Colbert laughing.

8/1/17, 1:40 PM


The test is not whether the audience is laughing, it is if you are laughing.

Watch your favorite sit-com and try to laugh along with the laughtrack .

FullMoon said...

Okay, let's go back up to your dream cloud. Remember? Close your eyes and think of the clouds in the sky. Nothing can hurt you here.
That's what you tell the kids?YOU'RE SICK!

William Chadwick said...

Stephen Colbert: the "liberal" Hive's current Commissar of Late Night Agitprop. He's just so daring I could plotz!

whswhs said...

When I saw the name "Scaramucci" I immediately thought of Rafael Sabatini's novel Scaramouche, a swashbuckling adventure story whose hero disguises himself in a guise based on the commeddia dell'arte character. I think that might have been what Freddy Mercury was riffing on too.

Bob Loblaw said...

I second Michael K. The sentence "He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that hte [sic] world was mad." from Scaramouche is included in the iron work at Yale University done around around the time the book was newly released.

I hope they didn't include the typo.

buwaya said...

"When I saw the name "Scaramucci" I immediately thought of Rafael Sabatini's novel Scaramouche,"

And an excellent novel it is. And the movie isn't at all bad either.

buwaya said...

Scaramucci seems a more talented, natural comedian than the comedians.

tcrosse said...

Scaramucci is smart enough to realize the absurdity of his public persona, which can immunize him against ridicule. It's the public figure who is unaware of his own absurdity that becomes Comic Gold.

Comanche Voter said...

We've reached a point in our culture where "comedians" aren't funny any more.

Michael K said...

""He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world was mad."

That is Sabbatini's epitaph. He is buried in Switzerland and I have not been there.

He had a very interesting life. Spoke five languages.

There is a lot of history in his novels. He knew the period he wrote about.