A coupla comics discussing humor

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on July 31st, 2012

Two prominent comedians, talking on a syndicated radio show, wondered aloud why there seems to be a reluctance on the part of so many comedians to make jokes about the POTUS. It got embedded by a bunch of websites and linked to off of Drudgereport.com.

We’ve been wondering why more comics aren’t doing jokes about the most powerful man on the planet. We watched, fascinated, as one writer, one comic, one late-night talk show host after another contorted himself/herself into knots explaining why the then-candidate/president-elect/president was so hard to make fun of… or that he was rightfully “off-limits” as the target of barbs. Of course, none of it made any sense at all and we declared that comedians were abdicating one of their responsibilities– to mock the powerful. Or, at the very least, they were inexplicably ignoring a rich vein of comedy gold that was theirs to mine. Our words either went ignored or we were mocked.

Seems like nothing much has changed. Our two prominent comedians sense that the current atmosphere is not good for comedy and not good for the nation. It’s a legitimate topic, worthy of further discussion and analysis. But don’t tell the commenters at HuffingtonPost.com. Predictably, the personal attacks arrive early and stay late. (“…he is a “B” lister at best,” or “…a couple of fading stars that on one even cares about anymore,” and “he took time off counting his 30 pieces of silver.”) We will grant that the commenters are, by and large, fans of HuffingtonPost.com, but we’re a bit taken aback by their lack of self-awareness when they say things like, “But the thing with Obama is that no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, you have to take him dead serious.” They apparently have no idea that they’re prime examples of people talked about in the clip and that it is precisely this kind of attitude that is worrisome.

It’s more of the same. Rape jokes are never funny. Joking about tragedy is not funny. Obama jokes are definitely not funny. (And, incidentally, anyone who indulges in same is fair game for the rankest personal attacks.) Are you seeing the pattern?