May 1, 2008

"President Bush has f----- everything up so much, he’s even made it hard for a white man to become president!"

Chris Rock at Madison Square Garden last night:
Noting that “President Bush has f----- everything up so much, he’s even made it hard for a white man to become president!,” Rock became the voice of the electorate: “‘Give me a black man, a white woman, a giraffe, a zebra, a mongoose ... anything else!” He goofed on people’s perceptions of Barack Obama’s name (“Like he should have his foot on a dead lion, holding a spear!”) and their fears about Hillary Clinton’s gender (on the wrong day of the month, she could bomb North Carolina).
Eh. Sounds like material that could have been written a year ago. Remember when comedians did timely commentary? And were actually daring? Say something new about Jeremiah Wright, why don't you?


Pogo said...

Modern political comedy is no longer terribly funny because it still thinks that 'pushing boundaries" is humorous.

Well it is, or rather it was, before every single boundary was pushed, over and over again, going back to Lenny Bruce. What's left after saying the Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV? Say them again?

No insight. No wit. No requirement for any knowledge not gleaned from CNN.
All juvenilia, all the time. All oooh, SNAP! riffs.

Bush makes grammatical errors! Ha!
Bush is retarded! Ha!
It appears even Chris Rock doesn't have the balls to criticize Wright.

Thank God for Dennis Miller.

MadisonMan said...

I did chuckle at the hard for a white man to become President line. I wouldn't have phrased it quite the same way.

Bissage said...

Let’s see if I’ve got this right. According to Joe Neumaier, there’s so much going on in the world it makes perfect sense the country’s funniest comic, a genius really, becomes periodically overwhelmed during performance and resorts to exclaiming “what the f*ck.”

But you really had to be there to get it and there will be four more shows.

You can reasonably expect Rock to “kill” for “the majority of two hours” so that’s sixty-one minutes of entertainment.

You know what’s really funny? If you put your ear up to your monitor screen you can actually hear Joe Neumaier’s tongue sliding its way through Rock’s hairy ass crack.

Sounds like Chris Rock’s got himself a sweet job.

The poor suffering bastards who write that kind of advertising crap not so . . . ugh . . . I can’t even bring myself to type out the last word of that stupid cliché.

What the f*ck?!

Pogo said...

Florence King on the subject:

"You can pretend to be serious," wrote Sacha Guitry, "but you can't pretend to be witty." True, you can't pretend to be witty because wit is dry, subtle, lacerating, cynical, elitist, and risqué — all impossible to fake. Humor, on the other hand, is broad, soothing, positive, inclusive, and smutty — to make sure everybody gets it. Pretending to be humorous is easy and a great many people are doing it."

Including Chris Rock.

Tibore said...

Yeah Pogo, I agree that modern political comedy doesn't push any boundaries anymore. They're trapped in the box, and can't even conceive of being outside it, let alone make any attempts to think outside it. To me, todays politicomedy seems more like it's living off clichés and lame attempts to fake being "inside" than anything else. Building a stereotype onstage (or onscreen) currently seems to be the punchline, so no one has to actually write a joke, all they have to do is make a description with an ironic expression, and some politically addicted lackey somewhere will be happy to provide the laughtrack.

vbspurs said...

Modern political comedy is no longer terribly funny because it still thinks that 'pushing boundaries" is humorous.

For a very long time I have thought of comics (most of whom have deep Bush Derangement Syndrome, and devote 50% of their stand-up time excoriating Bush, hello Margaret Cho) as insidious and condenscending.

Not because of the Bush bit. Though lame, they're welcome to choose whatever material they want -- and subversiveness is a wonderful topic of comedy.

It would help if it were actually funny though.

No, my thought about comics like Stewart, et al. blurring the lines between political commentating and comedy is because they believe the American public are not deep enough for straight political discourse.

So it has to be served to them with yuks.

When you criticise a political commentarist, one can do a fairly good job. But if you criticise a comedian, you look like a humourless schmuck.

It's a brilliant ploy.

But it's seen the slow erosion of the art of stand-up comedy in America, which discovered it.

Thank God for Sarah Silverman.


Zeb Quinn said...

Seinfeld stays clean. He doesn't do politics per se, but he does do social commentary.

knoxwhirled said...

Thank God for Dennis Miller.

Actually a little of his "rants" go a long way for me, but his radio show is truly great. I listen to the podcasts (the show is not broadcast here in Knox) and almost every show is entertaining start-to-finish. Anyway, pogo, if you haven't heard it yet, you should give it a listen...

Roman said...

In such a politically correct world, why are not people like Chris Rock refered to as an "alledged" or "purported" comedian? In my own opinion, he is not at all funny.

Pogo said...

Dennis Miller podcasts??
Woo hooo!

Thanks, knoxwhirled.

Thorley Winston said...

I think Chris Rock is just (to borrow from one of his earlier and funnier bits) “just trying to keep it real – real dumb!”

If Hillary Clinton does somehow behind the Democrat nominee and she considers bringing on Barack Obama as her running mate, she might want to keep in mind that Chris Rock said that he or some other black person should “kill the White president so that the Black vice-president becomes president” with an expectation of a pardon from the new Black president for their “services.”

It’s funny when you think about it – when racist “comedians” like Chris Rock make comments like this on behalf of (or against) political candidates, I wonder if they think twice about how it could boomerang against their preferred candidate as the vast majority of Americans who may be “unhip” because they don’t enjoy this trash talk are probably more likely to turn out to vote this November than the ones who do enjoy it.

Salamandyr said...

Personally, I can hear that quote done in Rock's loud, speed spoken tenor and it's hilarious. Like most comedy, it's all in the delivery. Reading it off the page is like looking at a picture of a good meal.

Dennis Miller is great too, but his rants don't exactly come off as hilarious on the page either.

Trooper York said...

Chris Rock is yesterdays news. His shouting standup with the usual
"I can't understand white people" is really, really boring. Now don't get me wrong, he still sells out venues and makes money, but then so does Andrew Dice Clay. He is a vestige of a bygone era. Another boring SNL appendage like Eddie Murphy.

Trooper York said...

Stanley Crouch the great jazz critic and columnist calls Rock another of the practioners of "minstrel" comedy, foolishness that has had a long dubious history. Sort of like Carrot Top without the props.


Melinda said...


If those guys are yesterday, who do you think is today?

Trooper York said...

Well it all depends on the style of comedy you like.

As far as black comics go I really enjoy a cat named Godfrey and another dude called JB Smoove.

But I have to admit I enjoy real over the edge disgusting stuff from the likes of Jim Norton, Greg Giraldo, Dave Attell and Lisa Lampinelli. But even they are getting a little over exposed and are starting to rub off the sharpe edges. Sucess kills good comedy.

Strangely enough, one of the best places to see new up and coming comics is a show called comics unleashed that comes on about 2 in the morning in NYC with Bryon Allen. He has a nice mix of old school guys and up and coming newcomers that can be really crazy. But it is hit and miss. The best thing to do is Tivo it and zip through the boring stuff. But some of it is really really new fresh and funny.

integrity said...

Ms. Althouse,

Wright is a topic for yahoos like yourself.

Urbane people do not give a crap about fake issues like Obama's preacher.

Nice try.

I think I'm going to try to run a background on you. I want to know if your money came from an ex-husband, is it inherited? Fascinating that you have so much free time on your hands to do what you do.

P.S. Living in New York does not automatically make you urbane, no matter how much you may try to convince yourself otherwise.

You can take the old lady out of Wisconsin, but you can't.....

Pogo said...

"integrity said... "

The oxymoron speaks!

Shan said...

I was at the show. He did say something about Wright. He also made fun of Obama, Clinton. He spent some 40 minutes on political humor; it could not, of necessity, be all about Bush. And, by the way, it was hillarous

Sorry to puncture your tired assumptions, but, really, it's pretty lazy as a blogger.

Shan said...

By the way, my comment about "tired assumptions" goes double for "integrity". Is Chris Rock a "yahoo" for doing a bit on Wright? Is he not "urbane" enough for ya?

Althouse was right to want a comedian doing political humor to address timely situations. She was wrong to assume Rock didn't based on a review.

Roger J. said...

Zeb Quinn: good point about Seinfeld--had the pleasure of seeing him in memphis--He did an hour and a half--and an encore. Suitable for families. No profanity--a great show.

Revenant said...

I did chuckle at the hard for a white man to become President line.

I agree; that's a funny way of putting it. :)

Cedarford said...

Chris Rock has worked racial comedy pretty well over the years. A very difficult positioning that he has showed he is one of the few to get away with. It is based on his worldview that most black and white people are good, but there are those....folks...with definite black or white characteristics, that aren't. Chappelle can also be brilliant in his racial skits, and Miller with his willingness to take on blacks and Muslims now and then.

Remember Chris Rock was doing his "I love black People! But, I really hate those niggers..." routine years ago - that said openly what his black audiences that howled as PC was destroyed knew was true - lot of good decent black folks, then there are the thug niggers people make excuses for as they fuel white bigotry and wreck black communities with their mayhem and thuggery. And that every black referred to them as niggers themselves while pretending that it was a "forbidden word". "Heck, the niggers themselves ain't so dumb. They know they are niggers, they shout it out to the treetops. But don't none of you white folk out there call them what they call themselves. It upsets people!"

The problem now with Bush comedy is that it isn't funny because everybody is counting down the days to when the Bumbler is gone. Even his dogged loyalists, the rich who made out like bandits on the money he borrowed from China to give them tax cuts and fund their Corporatist pork barrel outlays. He is a failed President. Making fun of him isn't funny anymore because it is beating a dead horse.
Rock makes comedic exaggeration that no white man can run, but it isn't an exaggeration to say that no white man that is like Bush or even reminds us of Bush could be elected President (his brother Jeb would arguably been the best Republican choice if his last name wasn't Bush).

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Thank God for Dennis Miller.

Dennis Miller the game show host? With hard work and dedication to his craft, Dennis Miller has a shot at becoming the next Ben Stein.

Wouldn't that be something?

Pogo said...

Pick one:

a) Cyrus always goes right for the juggler.

b) Cyrus always goes right for the inferior hemorrhoidal vein.

Roost on the Moon said...

Althouse sez: "And were actually daring? Say something new about Jeremiah Wright, why don't you?"

And Pogo: "It appears even Chris Rock doesn't have the balls to criticize Wright."

Not sure whether it's true, but according to today's episode of Bloggingheads, Chris Rock did make a Rev. Wright joke.

Praise his daring balls!
Praise them, bitches!

Pogo said...

Good for him, if true.
Let the healing begin.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

Cyrus always goes right for the inferior hemorrhoidal vein.

I suppose I should try to think of something nice to say. How about this?

Pogo, I won't challenge your obvious expertise in all matters pertaining to the rectum.

Pogo said...

Kind of you, Cyrus, seeing as it's your comfort zone.

Pogo said...

I mean, Amanda.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Kind of you, Cyrus, seeing as it's your comfort zone. I mean, Amanda.


Pogo, I've just moved you above Dennis Miller in my "comic genius" rankings.

Pogo said...

Funny, I've always pictured you under Michael Moore.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Funny, I've always pictured you under Michael Moore.

That's already a helluva lot more than I wanted to know about your fantasy life.

Pogo said...

Eeew. What did you think I meant?!

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute. You pictured Cyrus as a pancake? I gotta say that is kinda weird.

Iapetus said...

Chris Rock was lame as the perpetually angry black man during his thankfully brief run on Saturday Night Live. His Stepin Fetchit, N-word, low-brow humor is an instant turnoff. Chapelle's comedy is on an entirely different level, enjoyable even when he insults you.

Chris (R-NY) said...

Actually this was written about 2 years ago, pretty similar to his last HBO Special