February 8, 2008

Joking about Mitt Romney.

Incredibly bad jokes from David Letterman. His writers are on strike, right? Is that the problem? I couldn't watch that clip to the end, it was so bad, but it seems the only idea they had was that Romney is a blandly good-looking man.

(Why didn't his good looks help Romney more? Is there something about male beauty that disturbs us — some of us? Think of the reaction to Dan Quayle and to John Edwards. Some people seem to get almost angry at a man for being good looking. Is it some paranoid form of homophobia?)

Meanwhile, lots of bloggers are up in arms about this comic bit that aired on the Randi Rhodes show yesterday:
ANNOUNCER: "... If John McCain is the Republican Presidential nominee, it will destroy the Republican Party. We’re Romney supporters and we know. Cause, if you vote for John McCain, we’re going to go on a killing rampage. Hey, better dead then moderate.”

REPUBLICAN CHARACTER VOICE: "Look, I for one don’t want to die in a hail of gun fire from crazed Mitt Romney supporters, but it’s better then nominating a man who opposed the Bush tax cuts. Hell, John McCain spent years in a North Vietnamese prison. A prison? That doesn’t make him a hero. That makes him an ex-con.”
It goes on. You can read the whole transcript at the link and listen to it. It's not very funny, but I understand why it's supposed to be funny. Rush Limbaugh and others have been over-the-top these past few weeks exaggerating how terrible John McCain supposedly is. How do you parody something that already feels like a parody? The idea they went with — lamely — was that McCain's opponents would go completely insane, and the stereotypical thing completely insane people do is go on a killing rampage. The writers could have brainstormed a little longer and come up with something more creative, but this is what they cranked out.

Does it outrage you? I'm sure Randi's happy if it does, so why don't you join me in saying that this is just embarrassingly badly done comedy?


al said...

Air America is still on?

Sloanasaurus said...

Is it still on? I am also surprised.

Isn't she nervous about communicating to her audience that John Mccain opposed Bush? She might lose votes.

KCFleming said...
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KCFleming said...

but this is what they cranked out.

It's observations like this that makes me love Althouse reviews.

Yes, it's like Saturday Night Live. The joke has been long telegraphed. We get the Laugh-Applause sign lit. We respond with ritual approval for our side.

It's Japanese No theater.

Anonymous said...

But Letterman DOES have writers (some exception made because Letterman owns his own show)....Leno still has no writers but is still beating Letterman in number of viewers.
Letterman has had a running gag mocking how good-looking Romney is.......he was meaner to the prettier John Edwards going so far as to purposely mess his hair when Edwards was a guest on Letterman.

The Drill SGT said...

It's about the level of good taste that I expect from Air America

Can you imagine the outrage if a conservative commentator did a skit that featured either:

Crazed black Obama voters rioting in the streets, or

Lesbian Hillary getting raped by prison guards

I'm sorry, I don't think any of those topics are funny.

bill said...

Incredibly bad jokes from David Letterman. His writers are on strike, right?


David Letterman owns his own production company and reached a separate agreement with the Writers Guild. Both he and Craig Ferguson (whose show is owned by David Letterman) have had writers since returning.

Henry said...

From the quotes, this could have been funny. "Crazed Mitt Romney supporters" is a bit like killer rabbit. Limbaugh and Hewitt and the gang may not not like McCain, but the tepid Romney is hardly a trigger for violent passions.

Alas, Rhodes' writers seem to have missed the actual joke.

ricpic said...

There's a natural and understandable resentment of Alpha males. And if Romney is nothing else he's Alpha. Still, in a healthy society, even the resentful want the leader to be Alpha. Romney may have lost votes for possessing that very trait -- a sign of illness.

rhhardin said...

Rush is awful when he loses his larger-than-life self deprecation, which happens occasionally for a week or so at a time.

His economic insights are negligible in that he can't defend them with the correct argument, though he's on the right side of it ; I guess it bores him, where economists find it interesting.

(Look up the Mike Munger page over at Econtalk.org for economics made riviting, an hour at a time.)

Rush correctly spots though that McCain is on the wrong side of the economic issues, which could spell trouble.

He will certainly let the Islamonutballs know that nobody's letting up on tracking them down, however, so it's not all bad.

Tank said...

Rhodes should have asked Rush to write the bit.

Then it would have been funny.

The notorious lack of any sense of humor is one reason AA is unlistenable.

AllenS said...
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AllenS said...

Letterman's humor is sarcasm.

MadisonMan said...

Re: Letterman: I liked the first couple of riffs (but what would David Canary do?) before he launched into the Mitt looks like the guy who... shtick, which I thought was bad.

Bob said...

Randi Rhodes and Air America have an audience?

I keep waiting for them to ask for audience subsidies, since they can't compete in the free market and that is the usual answer when Americans can't compete...

Amexpat said...

Incredibly bad jokes from David Letterman
Part of his shtick is going obsessive compulsive on a joke/gimmick, repeating it a few times too many. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's just annoying. I notice that he's cut down on thus in recent years.

Mitch H. said...

I don't know, I thought the North Vietnamese prison/ex-con line was mildly amusing.

But then, I seem to be a McCain supporter these days, so what do I know from funny?

Roger J. said...

I did think air american had gone down in flames; not so?

The problem with air american, and leftists in general, is they totally lack any sense of humor. When you have to get cranked up eveery day and fight the evils of Bushco, halliburton, rethuglicans, you simply lose the ability to enjoy a good joke. Wasnt it Umberto Ecco's "name of the rose" that did the thing about the church's campaign against humor? Thats a metaphor for lefties. (OK--some lefties like the Kos and DU crowd)--Stewart and Colbert are pretty damn funny. Randi Rhodes and Al Franken--not so much.

Trooper York said...

Randi Rhodes has had a tough life. She has never been the same since she was abandoned as a child by her father Leonard Pinth-Garnell.

rcocean said...

"Hell, John McCain spent years in a North Vietnamese prison. A prison? That doesn’t make him a hero. That makes him an ex-con.”

I thought that line was mildly amusing. The rest not so much.

Trooper York said...

Mitt is just happy that he can drop the pretense and go to the cockfights with Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal.

Invisible Man said...

It's hard for me to be sympathetic with Mitt when he's part of a party that so reveled in calling Edwards the "Breck girl". And at least with Edwards we are pretty sure that he is in fact a human being.

And to the Drill Sgt., I think you should leave your dark fantasies in your diary instead of commenting with them. I don't know WTF put Hillary, lesbians and prison guard rape in your sick mind.

TMink said...

"And at least with Edwards we are pretty sure that he is in fact a human being."

A shallow, self-involved, narcissistic himan being at that! The "Breck girl" jabs I only heard from Rush. The video of him combing his hair for several minutes, the other America priced haircuts, those were devastating because they were factual and needed no commentary.

Rush is a comedian at heart, it helps if you know that when you listen to the show.


blake said...

I think Henry has hit on the funnier joke, but it doesn't play with the whole brownshirt/neo-con-nazi that some seem to love so well.

"Futurama" did a great set of gags by having a race called "The Neutrals". When asked to make a speech on a topic, the President of the Neutrals says, "I have no strong feelings one way or the other." And when he's in danger he says, "If I don't make it, tell my wife 'Hello'."

You could go this route:

"I'm so mad at McCain, I'm only going to donate $75 to his campaign rather than the usual $100."

"I plan to fire off a strongly worded letter to both Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter."

Meh. Dunno. Doesn't satisfy the blood lust, does it? Over-the-top violence has been done to death (as it were) of late. You have to be very clever if you're going to compete with the South Park crew.

MadisonMan said...

TMink -- I believe Mitt used the Breck Girl line during a Republican "debate".