Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fear of a black comic

You believe that I didn’t do a series of tests? You are right to not believe it, because I’m going to go ahead and admit that I do not believe what I just said, it was what’s described as a 'joke.' Um, I’ll be telling a bunch of them here tonight.
:David Cross

James Wolcott gets it extremely right on the absurd Wandy Sykes kerfuffle.

Honey, it's all about the timing. I laughed when Sykes said "I hope his kidneys fail" not because I wish Limbaugh physical ill because of the dagger-thrust of her delivery, the brio of it, her awareness that she was going to far but what the hell. It's akin to that evil lift of the eyebrow that Louis C.K. does just before he goes in for the shock kill. Even when her material faltered, Sykes knew what syllables to hit, what pauses to take, how to keep everything conversational (telling Michelle Obama she can't be going patting the Queen on the back like she just slid into home) so that the routine never ascended or descended into a rant. A professional comic knows how to probe the audience's defense system, sense its soft spots, then launch a sneak attack. I don't think Feherty should be hounded for what he wrote, everyone should be allowed a fuck-up or two, but comedy has never been a level playing field subject to strict rules of propriety and political fairness. Attitude and technique widen the chalk lines of what's considered out of bounds. So spare us the concern-troll handwringing:

Apparently Christopher Hitchens has weighed in, but like most things Hitch-related it's too depressing for me to talk about. Probably the best way to judge is to [gasp!] see and hear the offending material.

Jeez, if this is too hot for you, stay away from unguarded conversation. And any Mexican food stronger than Taco Bell.


susan said...

An excellent one for the times. I loved it when she asked them what they were planning to give the Pope :-)

Ben said...

I also loved when she asked if Nancy Pelosi had suggested him and Biden hanging out together.