In a relatively mild (profanityless – yes, I’m making up my own words now; I’m like a psychiatrist) test of the limits of the 1st Amendment and free speech, typically politically correct, mainstream American liberal late night comedian Stephen Colbert went for it with scathing jokes aimed at President Donald Trump.
Whenever I critique such “controversial” humour, I always, naturally, defer to the late, great Philosopher Carlin as a benchmark. George would talk about everything. In an infamous monologue about rape, he said:
Ohhh, some people don’t like you to talk like that. Ohh, some people like to shut you up for saying those things.
You know that. Lots of people. Lots of groups in this country want to tell you how to talk.
Tell you what you can’t talk about. Well, sometimes they’ll say, well you can talk about something but you can’t joke about it.
Say you can’t joke about something because it’s not funny. Comedians run into that shit all the time.
Like rape. They’ll say, “you can’t joke about rape. Rape’s not funny.”
I say, “fuck you, I think it’s hilarious. How do you like that?”
I can prove to you that rape is funny.
Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd.
See, hey why do you think they call him “Porky,” eh? I know what you’re going to say.
“Elmer was asking for it. Elmer was coming on to Porky.
Porky couldn’t help himself, he got a hard- on, he got horny, he lost control, he went out of his mind.”
Now replace “Elmer Fudd” and “Porky Pig” with “Donald Trump” and “Vladimir Putin.”
As you can hopefully see, Colbert’s joke was just a slightly lame attempt at ripping off a Carlin staple. I am neither impressed nor should anyone be offended. Stephen Colbert, for all his talents, is no George Carlin, and to me that is his single crime here, either as a writer (I understand he has people who write these jokes for him) or in his delivery as a comedian.
He’s a good comedian, but he went for a joke that was beyond his or his staff’s skill level both to write and deliver. As a result, this should be a personal lesson for him. I applaud his effort, but hopefully he sticks to his wheelhouse, even though I understand that one can get carried away joking around about Donnie Tiny Hands.
Everyone should be fairly assured that Colbert is at least a centre-left guy and meant no disrespect toward the gay community, so any suggestion in that respect in preposterous.
#FireColbert? For what? For delivering a badly written joke badly on late night American television? In a country that glorifies premeditated murder of innocents overseas and defends it at home with respect to its police force?
To quote George Carlin, “Let’s not have a double standard here. One standard will do just fine.”