I'm getting my humor these days from the internet, spots of comedians David Pakman, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Young Turks and the great Rachel Maddow, the ones who find their humor in the evening news, sitting at a desk-like surface with colorful backdrop, laughing at the ridiculous nature of our times. What else can we do, but, like Jon Stewart, wad up a sheet of paper and toss it backwards over the shoulder? The first few times I heard Colbert I found him severely objectionable. First shows I saw he had somebody on who had written a book on a given matter (I only see 5 to 10 minute clips on utube), Colbert talked the whole time tossing funny quips to the audience, all but ignored the guest, then dismissed him. I'd looked him up because of a speech he made at a presidential (or something) dinner where Bush and all the top dogs of that time would be. Evidently he roasted Bush with facts and made headlines. I was with him on that and went to see something about him. I found him somebody I took no interest in and didn't see anything of him for a few years. One day I looked at something and started getting what he was doing. Watched another and another and it wasn't long I was with him. A South Carolina Catholic. That's quite a lot different from a South Carolina Baptist. No Baptist would be as irreverent as he delights in toward dogma and hypocrisy.
David Pakman I call comedy, not because he tells jokes and makes an audience laugh, but he looks into goof-ball news moments and dwells on the comedy of the unpredictable, the excess, the self-interest, the insane, plenty of which is making the headlines. Packman doesn't make a joke for a laugh, but will say, rather, "Can you believe that?" He has two sidekicks with headphones he consults with such questions, Louis and Rakkan? Rock-on? I can never remember his name. Pakman tells the story like the big explosion in Texas, the comedy of the governor and congressmen from Texas asking for Federal aid after voting and making speeches against NY and NJ getting aid for the hurricane. Like the republican treatment of New Orleans. Like the official Reagan position on AIDS: let em die. Turns out that is the attitude of our corporate government of, for and by the rich, and they have been shutting us down, creating a peasant class and a ruling class society. It just tells me what I already know, the ruling class is totally out of touch with the working class, the middle class and the poor. They don't get it that we are people with lives, many of us recognize importance in something besides money. But they don't figure. They're not players. Go live under a bridge if you can find a space under one that won't fall on you. And Pakman isn't afraid to let his own feelings show. On his show about the judge selling kids to the Pennsylvania prisons-for-profit system, Pakman's emotional response was expressive of the satisfaction we feel when civil justice works.
Bill Maher I also did not like the first few times I heard him. I saw him something of a faux intellectual on the order of Dick Cavett and Bob Newhart. By now, that's in the history of television, no longer relevant. I don't know what has happened on television since that time, so I don't know who the faux intellectuals of now would be. The feeling I have is that the word intellectual in this time is irrelevance its very self. That's ok. It's a time of pop culture well advanced in the opposite direction of intellect, off into culturally abandoning intelligence to the point of abandoning paying attention. By now I have dropped the faux in reference to Maher. He has a brilliant mind. He has a brilliant staff. They work together very well. His comedy is people like the Fox network talking heads, unable to overlook their straight-out obvious lies about Obama or the democrat party. The republicans have become so ridiculous collectively that whenever one makes a public statement it immediately is right for comedy. So many of the red state politicians make outrageous claims that everyone who pays attention sees for a lie, like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz (a Canadian with a Latin name who looks like Joe McCarthy and hates immigrants?), Boner ("agent orange") and a laughable number of others, laughable any way you look at them, especially across the table at the Club, so easy to manipulate. Maher makes his funny so brilliantly that sometimes it is subtle, so subtle there won't be any audience response, then a laugh and more laughs and he'll say, I wondered if you'd get that one.
Rachel Maddow is another one who makes her comedy routine the evening news. We see all the nuts things happening every day and laugh at the absurd and ridiculous in it. The West, Texas, explosion, again, no inspection, Federal or state, in two different accountings of years, but a long time either way. They kept about a million times the Federal limit in pounds of something they make fertilizer with that people like Tim McVeigh use to blow the front off of buildings. Rachel, like the other news comedians, allows the ridiculous to be its own humor. It seems kind of significant that in this time the winning format for the news is comedy. Maddow's comedy is very much, Can you believe what you just saw? The guy on The Young Turks, who talks with a Newark accent, showed video of a young woman at a Rand Paul rally. She had a sign that said something having to do with reason. A crowd of potential rapists shoving her, pulling her hair---but it was a wig---shoved her to the pavement and one guy put his foot on the side of her head and let her feel his weight. Bad press. The guy who did it explained he didn't "stomp" her, he put his foot firmly on her face (a work boot with cleats). The guy talking on Young Turks works the can-you-believe-this humor. The humor is that it is so ridiculous it shouldn't be happening. The comedy is also the horror these days of the ridiculous running free in our land. It cracks me up that republicans inspire liberals to defend the government.