There's something explosive about the combination of truth + funny -- the latest from Andy Borowitz and Lee Camp
The latest "Moment of Clarity" from the great Lee Camp. For news of a special show Lee's doing in NYC on February 18, scroll down.
Thinking back, I'm not sure I can overstate the importance of the emergence of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show during the darkest depths of the Chimp-the-Prez Bush regime. It seemed as if it mattered mostly because it was one of the few mainstreamish national outlets where, despite the guise of a fake-news show, viewers were exposed to so much of the actual news. But somewhere in there you have to factor in the fact that Jon and company made it all so funny.
I don't have any scientific formula for how this marriage of truth and funny works. It's patently obvious that truth isn't inherently funny, and deserves to be heard and spread without having to be, and it's just as obvious that you can be funny without being aspiring to the condition of truthfulness. (Daily Show alum Stephen Colbert introduced us to the crucial concept of truthiness, which essentially aspired to the condition of un-truthfulness, offering instead the appearance of truth.)
But still, there's something special about that combination of truth and funny. Thinking about it, it occurred to me that while there are lots of other reasons why Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow have carved out such important places in the truth-telling game, it's probably no coincidence that they both have sensational senses of humor, and understand how to incorporate the funny without in any way diminishing their seriousness.
It's just a matter of personal time management that I've drastically cut back my political-TV-watching time. In part it's been made possible by the emergence of brilliant online funny-truth-tellers like Andy Borowitz and Lee Camp. How terrific is it to encounter stuff like this on a regular basis in my e-mail?
LA JOLLA, CA (The Borowitz Report) –- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today released the following letter to the American people:
Dear American People:
Yesterday, comments I made about poor people made me look terrible. This always seems to happen when I say what I really believe.
The fact is, I do care about poor people. That’s because I’m poor myself, when you compare me to Mark Zuckerberg.
According to most projections, Facebook’s IPO should net Mr. Zuckerberg a personal fortune of $28 billion. I couldn’t make a pile of dough-re-mi like that even if I fired people twenty-four hours a day.
Now, let’s take a look at Mitt Romney’s net worth: a measly $200 million. Now do you see why I consider myself poor? Compared to Mark Zuckerberg, Mitt Romney is practically a crack whore.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and envy a rich person like Mark Zuckerberg. That’s exactly what President Obama wants poor people like me to do. Mark Zuckerberg made his money fair and square, by creating useful products like imaginary sheep and angry birds. Say what you will about Facebook, it has totally revolutionized the way we waste our lives.
The fact is, if you’re poor in America, you should do what Mark Zuckerberg did: create a social network. I’ve just started my own, called TwoFaceBook. With TwoFaceBook, your profile doesn’t stay the same for more than two seconds.
In closing, there’s one more reason I don’t worry about poor people. They have Groupons.
Vote for me,
LOS ANGELES-AREA FOLKS: ANDY B IS COMING TO YOU!
On February 28, Writers Bloc will present Andy in conversation with another seriously funny guy, Patton Oswalt (left), at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, in what Andy describes on his website as his "only scheduled show on the West Coast this year." (I guess that "only scheduled show" weaseltry protects him from lawsuits by disgruntled literal-minded fans in the event that he should wind up doing another show on the West Coast between now and December 31.)
For more information and online ticket-buying, go here.
AND IN NEW YORK, LEE CAMP IS TAPING AN ALBUM
On January 20 Lee reported:
I will be taping my second comedy album at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC on Saturday, Feb 18th at 10pm AND I WANT YOU TO BE THERE. It’s only $8 to get in and there is no drink minimum. Special Guest: Ted Alexandro! Plus, there will be free brownies. …Not kidding. My last comedy album was listed as one of the top 5 of 2011 in Dusted Magazine, so why would you miss this one LIVE? Tickets are available online here: www.bit.ly/LeeCampTix
At that price I could afford to snap up a ticket as soon as I saw the announcement. Though space is limited, I believe there are still tickets available. If you've seen any of Lee's videos you should know what to expect, but I can vouch for the fact that seeing him do it in person -- and doing a whole show -- is amazing. (If you can't make it, you can get more information about Lee's first album here, including a link to free samples on iTunes, where you can also download it.)