Opinion

Comedy Veterans Return to the Front Lines

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Posted: Jan 07, 2020 12:01 AM
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Comedy Veterans Return to the Front Lines

Source: YouTube/Screenshot

Hollywood took more heavy fire at this year’s Golden Globes than General Soleimani catching a flight out of Bagdhad.

Dave Chappelle has dropped some bunker busters recently, too. Seinfeld and Bill Maher never really retreated to their credit. Just last month, Eddie Murphy returned to the fight, armed with nothing more than his trusty, old-fashioned funny. 

There’s good news to report from the theater of comedy combat, America. The decorated generals of joke-telling are beginning to gain ground again in the war on comedy.

The enemy is today’s political left who, for years, have been on the march to silence jokes they’ve deemed off-limits and offensive. It is the college brat crying for her safe space when upset by a pointed punch line. It is the Hollywood hypocrite who takes private jets and limos to an event to lecture on climate change. It is the intolerance of those who claim to possess hyper-tolerance. 

Worst of all, it’s the turncoats of the craft of comedy who’ve surrendered their independence and succumbed to delivering partisan applause lines to curry favor with the mob rather than challenge them. 

But slowly, the mob is losing its influence, like every bully who becomes marginalized in the final scene of a movie, so too are the self-appointed rule-makers of laughter. 

Gervais put on something of a shock-and-awe display during his fifth turn as host of the Golden Globes. The post-show critics came out in force to decry his performance, effectively communicating to the rest of the country he was right over the target when he opened the bomb bay doors.     

His eight-minute opening monologue was described by LA Times TV critic Lorraine Ali as “a gloom-and-doom monologue so cynical it made Tom Hanks scowl." Slate’s Sam Adams called the line I personally highlighted on Twitter as a “swing and a miss.” USA Today’s Kelly Lawler said, “Gervais lost his shock and awe.” Oh, please.

Do these people have Twitter accounts? Far from “gloom-and-doom," "a miss," and lost edge. Gervais garnered wild support and approval from thousands of viewers on Twitter that night alone.

"So if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a political platform to make a political speech.You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God and f*** off. Okay?"

He landed great lines, too, about the hypocrisy of stars working for corporate overloads like Apple and Disney and their sordid friendships with Harvey Weinstein and Jeffery Epstein. Jokes that were shared, retweeted, and buzzed-about all day the next day in non-leftist circles. But it’s that quote above that “Trumped” all others.

Yep, it sounded like something you’d hear at a MAGA rally, didn’t it?  Of course, that’s what Gervais is tapping into as any good comic would. The TRUE mood of the country isn’t represented in that room of privilege he was speaking to.  

It’s not that he’s pro-Trump or even a Republican. He’s a comedian taking the temperature of the country and delivering the bad news to the room full of self-indulgent, hypocritical, narcissistic, lecturing, condescending liberal celebrities in total denial they’ve lost their influence (if they ever had it).

The LA Times critic, Ms. Ali said, “the last thing anyone needed was for (Gervais) to reprimand them for having hope, or taunt the room for trying to use their influence to change things for the better."

That’s just the point, Ms. Ali. Who’s better? Them? What does that make the rest of us who’re pretty damned pleased with the direction of the country? Don’t answer. We already know. And so does Ricky Gervais.

You don’t need to be a poli sci major to understand the rise of Donald Trump nor do you need a degree to understand why enthusiasm for him hasn’t ebbed in the least. The cultural elite and wealthy largely hate him. The average man and woman quietly stand with him, if not enthusiastically cheer him. 

Which audience do mainstream, famous comics care more about reaching and entertaining if they themselves chose to stay relevant and successful? The answer isn’t found in the Golden Globes ballroom.

That ballroom was the joke. Just as Chappelle made the totalitarian language police of the “alphabet people” the joke. Just as Seinfeld has scoffed at demographic quotas in his Netflix show. Just as Chris Rock led the charge against the mob rule of college kids’ “wokeness” over words. Just as Eddie Murphy brought classic sketch comedy back to SNL instead of tired, predictable Trump shlock.  

To be a truly successful news/issues comic, you don’t have to personally support who’s in the White House to read the country’s mood. But you’d better understand why Donald Trump is the president and you must understand his 65 million voters aren’t sipping champagne in the Beverly Hills Hotel at the Golden Globes.  

The veterans of comedy do understand, and they’re clearly armed for battle.