Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Word About Today's Cutting Edge Comedian's

Is it just me or do most of today's new comedians rely on swearing like drunken sailors as a way for getting laughs? Now, I'm no prude;I enjoy listening to George Carlin, Richard Pryor and similar comedians who occasionally drop the F bomb. But with today's comics, the majority of their routines are crammed with vulgar,course language. It's as if the use of foul language nowadays is the routine itself.

One time while I was listening to Comcast Rhapsody Radio, there was a female comedian who dropped the F bomb( as well as the MF bomb) a number of times. I remember thinking," Is this really necessary? " I know if I ever see her name again in the "now playing" window, I'll immediately switch to another performer. She's simply too crude, too base and much too reliant on toilet humor for my tastes. Oh,I also don't think she's very funny either. However, if your idea of gut busting comedy is someone swearing endlessly; then she's the comedian for you. But not for me.

Now you're probably thinking," I bet Joe wouldn't mind if the comedian using vulgar language was a man." You know, the old double standard. Well you couldn't be more wrong. I don't care if the comic is a man or a woman; a comedy routine that relys on a stream of swear words to get laughs becomes tedious after a while, it's as if they have nothing funny to say, so vulgarity is used in place of actual wit.

Hell, it's even in video games you can download online. My friend Larry and I were in the computer room in his house while my 14 year old nephew Joe was there downloading a video game on his computer. As Larry and I were talking we heard a gruff military voice bark," Are you ready, motherf***er?" He quickly turned to his son saying," Joseph, turn it off." Larry and I couldn't believe a video game contained that kind of language. Especially a game young kids can gain access to.

Look, I employ swear words into my vocabulary at times. I'd be kidding you(and myself) if I said otherwise. But if I did that all the time nonstop , I would wonder, really wonder, about my intelligence. And while some people see the use of foul language as just words, in reality it's a lazy, easy way to communicate. It takes no effort to blurt out offensive four letter words. Maybe today's new breed of comics should go back to the old school of comedy which chooses substance over shock value.

Don't get me wrong, shock value can be funny. But used over and over again,the audience becomes inured to this and the comedian has to seek out new ways to shock and offend them. It's known as pushing the envelope. However, don't you think that these days we've pushed the envelope far enough?


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

O.J Simpson Fumbles The Ball- And It Couldn't Happen to A Nicer Guy

Ten and a half years ago, a murderer was found not guilty. Oh, almost anyone with an once of common sense or an ability for deductive reasoning knew deep in their hearts that O.J. Simpson killed his ex-wife Nicole and her companion Ron Goldman in a fit
of jealous rage. The verdict split people into factions; there were African-Americans who thought he was guilty, but were felt it was justice that a guilty black man was let go in return for the many other innocent black men who had been unjustly sent to jail. While many white Americans were appalled that a murderer avoided life in prison and believed it was on account of Simpson's reputation as a former gridiron superstar that paved the way for his acquittal.

I clearly remember that day. I was working as a telemarketer and as Simpson's verdict was pronounced, the entire office went off the phones to listen. When he was pronounced not guilty, one of my co-workers, Christine, let out a big cheer; the way one cheers for the victory of a close friend. The problem was, she didn't know Simpson personally. Christine was simply happy that an African-American like herself had beaten the rap and was now free. I've often wondered how she would have felt if it was her own sister who had been savagely knifed to death by Simpson. And not her "soul sister" either, but her flesh and blood sibling. Would Christine have felt the same sense of elation if her sister's killer was pronounced "not guilty"?

Since then,Simpson(who has proclaimed his innocence) made a vow to devoted his time and energy tracking down the real murderers of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Well, it's been eleven years and he ain't found 'em yet. I guess he was a far better football player than he is a detective. Oh well, at least he's tried. Not!

The moment that actually brought home to me the fact that Simpson did commit those murders was when he did was interviewed by Ruby Wax on her television show . He came up from behind her and pretended to stab Wax with a banana as he sang the music from the shower scene in PSYCHO. This was followed by the two of them sharing a merry chuckle over his cute little antic. His action was not only a lapse of both taste as well as good judgement on Simpson's part, it amply displayed the actions of a man who was making fun of the fact that he was indeed a murderer who had gotten away with his crime. It was a blatant in-your-face gesture. At one point during the interview, Simpson said if he did kill his ex-wife Nicole it was out of love. Yeah, the jury's in on that one. He's definitely not the killer.

Now, Simpson is making an attempt to enrich his bank account by publishing a book titled ," If I Did It, Here's How It Happened", a hypothetical story of how his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman would have been killed if Simpson was the murderer. The book was to be published by Regan Books,who (surprise,surprise) is owned by Fox News Corp (some coincidence, eh?). There was also to be a two part TV interview special to coincide with the release of Simpson's book.

However, an outraged public made it's disapproval known. So Rupert Murdoch, chief of Fox News, cancelled both the book and interview special. But, an interesting news items has recently surfaced; it seems Denise Brown,Nicole Simpson's sister, is incensed because Murdoch offered her family( as well as the the Goldman's) "millions of dollars" which she felt was being offered in order to buy their silence. News Corp spokesman Andrew Butcher has denied the allegation that their offer was an attempt to keep both families quiet by saying," There were no strings attached."
He went on to say that the offer was for the families to split the profits from the book and tv deal after the company made back it's investment in the two projects.

In any event, O.J Simpson's book and tv deal had been broadsided by a nauseated public who has grown weary of his often repeated claims of denial in the deaths of his wife Nicole and Ron Goldman,while his actions tell a far different story. Simpson not only has gotten away with murder, the unhappy reality is: he's going to receive a fat pay check even though the two projects will never see the light of day. And you know,it isn't fair.


Michael Richards Kamakazi Comedy Routine, Or How To Destroy A Career In Just Three Minutes.

The dreaded foot in mouth disease strikes again. A few months ago it was Mel (how dry he was) Gibson who spewed a mouthful of anti-Semitic bilge at a cop in an alcohol fueled rage. After justifiably being skewered by the Jewish community as well as the general public at large, Gibson admitted he had a problem with alcohol(does 'ol Mel have a firm grasp of the obvious or what?) and promptly entered a rehab facility.

Now it's Michael Richard's turn to jam his foot into his over sized mouth. Believe it or not,he out did Gibson in the racist epithet hurling department. Last Friday while on stage at the Laugh Factory , Richards was being heckled by Kyle Doss, an African-American. He suddenly became ballistic and screamed at Doss ," Fifty years ago we'd have you hung upside down with a f***ing fork up your ass." Richards then called Doss the N word a number of times as an audience member filmed his vitriolic tirade. Since that night, Richards has been receiving an avalanche of well deserved fallout.

From all of the commentary on the various news and entertainment shows, the Richards incident will undoubtedly make Mel Gibson's racist remarks seem mild in comparison. The tape itself can be viewed on TMZ.Com and I have to tell you, as I watched the footage I wanted to cringe. How those kind of comments can be said in a public place in this day and age is totally beyond me, because behavior such as this will not and cannot be tolerated.

But, it happened and it's the sort of episode that can't just be erased. So now Richards has deservedly had his feet held to the fire and been made completely accountable for the ugly words he shouted in a nightclub full of people expecting to be entertained. Instead, they were repulsed(some even walked out of the club in disgust) by racist slurs uttered by someone who really should have known better.

Despite a sincere, heartfelt apology from a very contrite Richards on The David Letterman Show ; he said via satellite," I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this.", forgiveness seems to be very slow in coming. Especially from the African-American community,who have taken extreme offence at Richards ballistic performance and I don't blame them for one second. On that evening his supposed comedy routine was by turns racist, vulgar and most importantly not funny at all. The audience was there to laugh and instead came away from the comedy club disgusted and angry, because his rage was all too real.

Log onto TMZ. com to see the tape; this was not an act. Richards really does have a lot to live down. I don't feel sorry for the man in the least, but I do have compassion for him. All one has to do is look at him when he appeared on Letterman, to see a deeply sorry and truly apologetic man.

The truth of the matter is, the black community may not ever fully except Richards apology because they believe that he was saying what he really felt, that deep down he really is a racist in his heart. Especially after he spat out the N word the first time. Richards didn't stop, but keep screaming the racially changed word over and over during his so called comedy act. Plus, he claimed to have gone back to the Laugh Factory the next night to apologize. But from all accounts none was given. The general consensus is that Richards waited too long to make amends.

Since then, he has hired publicist Howard Rubenstein as a crisis expert(or spin doctor to be exact) in an attempt to salvage his severely damaged career, because there are a lot of people who would get a huge kick out of witnessing Richards do a crash and burn number. These are the very same people, by the way, who once loved him as Kramer on SEINFELD.

Only time will tell if Rubenstein can repair the career train wreck engineered by his client. Sometimes the public forgives and other times they don't. Right now as far as Richards is concerned, whose career at this moment is hardly red hot, time is a commodity he can well afford.