Tuesday, February 20, 2007

One Rule of Comedy

Of course, the big story of the weekend was not anything having to do with Iraq, or even global warming. No, we transitioned from the death of Anna Nicole to the shaving of Britney's head.

Now, I wasn't planning to mock Britney. She's obviously in the midst of a difficult time in her life, but let's face it -- my sympathy is more likely to go to others. At the same time, there's no need to take gratuitous shots at her on my blog. But there are people who have that job for a living, and now they don't want to mock her? Well, Craig Ferguson doesn't...
The host of CBS' "The Late Late Show" told viewers Monday that after seeing photos of the 25-year-old pop star's shaved head, he reconsidered making jokes at the expense of the "vulnerable."

Spears made headlines over the weekend when she shaved her head at a Los Angeles hair salon and then went to a tattoo parlor where she had a pair of lips put on her wrist. Spears shaved her head Friday, the same day as reports on TV and Web sites that she had briefly checked into a rehabilitation center.

"For me, comedy should have a certain amount of joy in it," Ferguson said. "It should be about attacking the powerful — the politicians, the Trumps, the blowhards — going after them. We shouldn't be attacking the vulnerable."

Ferguson recalled his battle with alcoholism and said he worries Spears may be having troubles of her own.
Let me open by stating one simple fact -- I can't stand Ferguson. I just don't think the guy is funny, not in the least. I appreciated the fact that he cut off Bill Maher when Maher opted to make light of child molestation on the show back in 2005, but other than that, I think he's only slightly more funny than Rosie O'Donnell. A lot of people I know disagree with me, but I'd rather watch two hours of Wolf Blitzer. I don't know why -- I have good friends who can't stand Ben Stiller (I'm looking at you, Lord of Truth), so maybe this is similar.

Now, I appreciate the sentiment that Ferguson has for Spears -- it's very nice that he sees her troubles and considers her feelings. But you're running a comedy show, man! Comedy can't just just take on the powerful -- it becomes boring and repetitious. This is one reason I love South Park -- nothing is sacred, so everything is fair game. Besides, while I understand that Spears is currently in a "vulnerable" state, she's not exactly a homeless person dealing with a crushing mental illness; she's a former pop diva who's currently unable to cope with her fame and out of control. She may well be hooked on an assortment of medications, or depressed and acting out -- we have no idea. But mocking her, just like mocking other celebrities, should not take a backseat to feelings of pity, especially if you're the host of a late-night comedy show.

Are there lines we shouldn't cross? Sure. But they're not drawn before we get to make jokes about Britney's bald head. I hope Wojr makes time to make a cheap Britney joke, or I'm going to have to conclude they're going soft out in L.A.


Anonymous Francis said...

It's understandable that Raje doesn't 'get it', i.e., compassion ('feel with'). Raje wouldn't understand because he/she hasn't 'been there' - actually, may not have 'been' anywhere, in terms of personal experience. It does make a difference :) Hope your Happy Trails are endless (but doubt they'll be :)

2:17 AM  
Blogger wojr said...

Let me just say two things:

1. Smiley faces never strengthen one's argument.

2. I think "Francis" is the blonde "girl" from "Say Anything" that used the "quotation" hand gesture to "excess".


1:38 PM  

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