Stand Up and Say You’re Sorry

September 06, 2011

Multiple Pages
Stand Up and Say You’re Sorry

Here’s how I know the West is doomed.

Yeah, the replacement rate is under 2.1 and Chaz Bono is on Dancing With the Stars.

But here’s the real reason:


I heard this all my life, and so did you:

Dictators can bear anything except mockery. Like court jesters of old(e), stand-up comedians are fearless truth-tellers, saying out loud what we’re all secretly thinking and getting away with it—maybe even changing the world! Charlie Chaplin! Lenny Bruce!! George Carlin!!!

So what happened?

Comedians used to make jokes. Now they make amends.

On August 27th during a performance in Phoenix, notoriously unhinged African-American comic Katt Williams told the audience:

“If y’all had California and you loved it, then you shouldn’t have gave that motherf***er up, bitches!”

Someone yelled, “This IS Mexico, motherf***er!”

And so began a six-minute Mexican standoff, with Williams berating the heckler, chanting “U-S-A!” and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Do you remember when white people used to say, ‘Go back to Africa,’ and we had to tell them we don’t want to?” Katt yelled as the audience whooped its approval. “So if you love Mexico, bitch, get the f*** over there!”

“Comedians used to make jokes. Now they make amends.”

LaughSpin asked whether Williams had acted “patriotic or just racist” with the cloying concern-troll earnestness that’s standard issue at (of all places) websites run by and for comedians. Every week, these sites cover some controversy involving a stand-up and an aggrieved (insert minority group) audience member. I need to remind myself I’m reading Splitsider instead of a Seven Sisters student paper, what with all the hand-wringing about “homophobia,” “misogyny,” “date rape,” and whether or not certain jokes are “appropriate” or “go too far.”

In short, even professional comedians and their fans have embraced the elites’ “eat your (organic) spinach” ethos. I thought everyone understood that those “You know what? I’ve learned something today…” codas on South Park were goofs on the cringeworthy “very special episodes” that once propped up faltering sitcoms. The ribald “poker scene” from Louie is every hipster’s new favorite thing because it features a somber, chilling (and highly inaccurate) etymology of the word “faggot”—not in spite of it.

There were over one hundred news stories about Katt Williams last week according to Google, but only one speculated about his rant’s possible—what’s that expression they like?—“root causes.” (Yeah: me.)

You know: that African-Americans and Latinos don’t like each other, because blacks see Mexicans as a threat to their sacred status as the Shih Tzus of the liberal temple—and maybe even a threat to their lives.

The story ran its usual course: Self-appointed “community leaders” and “activists”—in this case,—unveiled the obligatory “online petition” demanding an apology from Williams.

That’s when things got confusing. An apology was issued and promptly accepted by one Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who’d been “organizing a boycott” against Williams but now wants him to return to Phoenix and “show his commitment to the Latino community.” This is all pretty damn funny, since Maupin is black. (He’s also an Al Sharpton protégé, complete with legal troubles.)

But a few days later, Williams was on CNN claiming his publicist had issued an apology without his permission.

“I’m not allowed to [apologize],” he explained to anchor T. J. Holmes. “As a stand-up, the only thing I sell is uncensored thought. I’m not allowed, then, to come back the next day and apologize….If a person starts their heckling with ‘F*** America,’ then that gives me the right to defend my country.”

Whether such comedic mea culpas help anyone career-wise is a crap shoot. Michael Richards apologized and never recovered. Gilbert Gottfried did, too, and he lost his Aflac gig anyway—but is still popular, thanks to his willingness to, well, joke about what happened. When Canadian comic Guy Earle’s fellow liberal stand-ups abandoned him, he apologized—and still got fined $15,000. After making sure fans knew his true feelings, Adam Carolla tweeted a non-apology apology to the anti-bullying bullies at GLAAD. Ultimately, GLAAD’s threats to Carolla’s livelihood came to nothing. (As if the SPEED channel is terrified of losing their massive gay viewership.)

“I’ve told the fans before: if you ever hear me apologize, you know I don’t mean it.”

That was “Opie” of radio’s Opie & Anthony Show talking about the Carolla vs. GLAAD “controversy” and other recent—to coin a phrase—“wit hunts.” Topmost on everyone’s mind at the time was Tracy Morgan. Another flaky African-American comedian, Morgan was obliged to go on a pro-homosexual “awareness raising” apology tour after “joking” that if one of his children ever talked to him “in a gay voice,” he’d kill him.

Opie and Anthony railed against this booming new “business” of apologizing—let’s call it “Big Sorry”—and were joined by comic Jim Norton, who compared Morgan’s humiliating repentance road show to a slave auction in “the f***ing 1700 slavery days, where they held that poor bastard captive.”

I expect this crap up here in Canada, where a government tribunal swore in an “expert witness” to analyze the “tone” of Mark Steyn’s jokes and industry watchdogs finally deemed the word “faggot”—or, as they insisted on referring to it, “the other F-word”—as employed in a 26-year-old Dire Straits song acceptable for broadcast.

But America? Forget Carlin and Bruce: Those long-dead fat guys with Brylcreemed combovers and cheap tuxedos were more transgressive than their purported 21st-century descendants.

Soon you’ll be down to a 0th Amendment. Then we’ll all be sorry.


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