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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another View

This comes from comedian/social philosopher Doug Stanhope. If you are not familiar with Doug, you are missing out. You need to check him out.

Michael Richards Insightful Theorem of the Negro Experience

If you haven't seen the Michael Richards snapping-on-black-people video, check it out here -http://pdl.stream.aol.com/aol/us/

I'll defend him.

Michael Richards - aka Kramer - is a shitty stand-up comic. Fucking awful. I've seen him live at the Improv in LA years ago and was at the Aspen Comedy Festival eaves-dropping when he was trying to bail out of the event for that same reason. He was shitting his pants and asking to drop out because he isn't a funny stand-up or a stand-up at all. That was coming from his own mouth. (They convinced him to stay and he may as well have as the Aspen crowds are no more an authentic audience than he is a stand-up.)

So watching the tape as opposed to hearing about it second-hand, I can see it from a comic's point of view. Sure, he was really pissed off at the hecklers. When you're pissed off at someone, you say shit to piss them off in return. You say whatever you think will hurt them, no matter your own. You call a fat person a pig or a short guy a midget (unless they are a midget, then you call em an elf). Your own mother might be fat or your father short. That's neither here nor there. You need not have any distaste for whores to call a woman a whore if you're fighting with her and know she'll react poorly. Calling someone a cocksucker in the heat of battle doesn't mean that you don't yourself often enjoy the warm and humbling feeling of a knotty cock rafting down your throat.

Let the black person who is innocent of saying something hurtful to someone who is acting like a shithead cast the first stone. If you are trained to believe that 'nigger' is somehow worse than other words, I'd question your logic by calling you an "idiot."

You can see that Richards was trying to qualify the fact that its just a word by cartoonishly repeating it, then saying "see what's buried beneath your soul" in response to the reaction and later by defeatedly trying to point out how words still hold shock value but it was too late and far too out of control.

He was fucked, no matter how he thought he might save himself.

His first problem lies in that he was angry. You ain't gonna pull that shit off angry, especially as a segue from black hecklers you just called 'niggers'. Not even the best, much less Kramer.

Next problem is you ain't gonna pull it off at the Laugh Factory on the best of nights. There is a reason that so many truely awful, hackneyed and trite comics thrive on that stage and that's because the audiences are legendary dunce-capped maroons. They are culled from the sea of low-riding Hondas that cruise the Sunset Strip. They are the dull and empty vessels that crowd food courts in malls and put pictures of people they fucked on HotOrNot and judge their own self-worth by the ranking.

You're hard-pressed to find a more vapid audience anywhere on any given night in America than at the Laugh Factory. Low-brow intellects in high-dollar sneakers. Of the they will never "get it" on any level higher than American Pie.

Last and most important problem - Michael Richards sucks at stand-up. Even if he hadn't called aanybody any type of racial slur but simply tried to make the point that the word 'nigger' still shocks people - without the finger-pointing or the hostile crowd - it still wouldn't have been funny unless he were slipping on a banana peel while running into Jerry's apartment - and then you'd still have to write it out for him.

But I'll still take his side. As far as I'm concerned, yelling at someone that they aren't funny while they are onstage is more offensive than calling someone a nigger. That's because I am a comic and have no history of being black. So, like you, I can only tell you what would bother me. And you can call me a nigger all day, just don't yell out that I'm not funny when I'm onstage.

And, I found this as well, which is, um, well...