COMICS SHOULD KEEP POLITICS OUT OF THEIR ACTS

(This Op-Ed by yours truly, appears in Florida Today newspaper this date.)

Some of us remember “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” the iconic Pete Seeger tune popularized in the 1960’s. How about substituting “comedians” for “flowers”?

Seems today’s audiences create successes for so-called comedians who really don’t know how to make people really laugh.

Where are the Jackie Gleasons, Robin Williamses, Carol Burnetts? The Red Skeltons, Bob Hopes, Joan Riverses and Johnny Carsons? Where are the comics who made audiences howl with a stare into the camera, a dumb flub or an ad-lib line not on the cue card? The funniest comics were loved by all audiences, not just right-wingers or left-wingers. For the most part, we had no idea what side of the political aisle they aligned with. Neither did we care.

Sure, they took jabs at politicians, but not borne of their own politics.

Comedians — and some actors — of the modern era have tarnished the profession to a low point from which they may never recover. The unfunny Samantha Bee recently stained show biz by espousing pure filth on national television to an equally disgusting audience, calling the daughter of our president a vulgar term. Bee was there not to be funny, but to extract cheers borne of hate. It doesn’t matter if Bee, or her audiences of feckless followers, are right or wrong about her political opinions. There’s a time and a place, and that was neither. Never mind the disregard to young people watching.

Imagine if any of the previously named comics ever did such a thing.

It’s getting catchy. Kathy Griffin, who did have comedic talent, showed her lack of dignity by photographing herself holding a mock decapitated head of Donald Trump. Griffin should seek another profession. I’m sure she has lost much of her fan base.

Michelle Wolf hosted the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and proceeded to denigrate, in unfunny terms, the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was seated in the room. Critics called her action “vulgar, mean-spirited and nasty,” according to USA Today.

Please don’t remind me about the infamous Dean Martin roasts of celebrities and suggest there are parallels. Those were the days when true jesters were funny and clever insults were welcomed as pure and harmless humor. Today’s so-called humor is not intended to be harmless.

This is not limited to comics. I’m still scratching my head over actor Johnny Depp’s outrageous, and perhaps illegal, public suggestion in 2017 that “It’s been a long time since an actor killed a president. Maybe it’s time.” If I were the president I would take that as a threat. So should the Secret Service.

Same goes with Snoop Dogg, who aims a gun at a clown dressed as Trump in a video. Classy, indeed. Another implied threat?

And in a public rant during the January 2017 Women’s March on Washington, Madonna exclaimed, “Yes, I’ve thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” Sounds like a threat of violence to me.

There are other examples of hypocritical celebrities taking vile liberties, using their fame to export hatred toward a duly elected president. But none so disappointing as actor Robert De Niro, one I would have thought would stand above the fray despite his personal leanings. Instead, he knew he had thousands of self-lovers in the room who would cheer in unison when he dropped a profanity bomb directed at the president, at the Tony Awards, for all America to hear and see, kids included. That was the pin in the balloon. My esteem for De Niro and others like him fizzled forever.

I am well aware that President Trump doesn’t always express himself in ways we would like, and I don’t agree with all his policies, but he is the elected president of this country who, by virtue of his status, must be shown respect and dignity. Millions of people disliked Barack Obama and his policies, but celebs never dared to cross the hate-line of utter disrespect with such revolting contempt.

Today’s comics couldn’t shine the shoes of those class acts of yore.

“Wheeeerrre’s Johnny?”

11 Responses to COMICS SHOULD KEEP POLITICS OUT OF THEIR ACTS

  1. Michael Conner June 30, 2018 at 10:02 am #

    Marshall, celebrity hate is fueled by the news media. “Journalists” are everywhere, shoving a microphone in the face of people who have strong opinions. Lawyers have a saying about soliciting testimony. “Always ask questions where you already know the answer.” The media, like bees, go from flower to flower gathering the nectar of hate. Normally civil people, rid of any guilt or repercussion and playing to a crowd of sycophants, feel free to contribute to this bizarre news climate in which we all live. The news cycle, like a ravenous beast, must be fed 24/7. Some of the few comedians I listen to are Seinfeld and Lewis Black. Black brings in politics, but skewers both sides. Everything you said is spot on, Marshall. Celebs forget that half of the country voted for the prez.

  2. marvin wiley June 30, 2018 at 10:07 am #

    I agree but comedy, as well as politics, have evolved to ( di-volved if you like ) to this state. Who started the fire. Lenny Bruce or Donald Trump and or the coveted freedom to tell it like it is; non-politically correct, sometimes known as speaking your mind. I’ve read that things were got quite provocative in the Catskills during the 40s. ” One of these days Alice ” was a frequent threat to his wife made by a comedian who apparently was not partial to a certain middle eastern group of people. Threatening his wife as well as his hatred for a group of people was an act and his reality, in the order provided. There was white trash and near white trash, the later having to mind their P & Qs or be downgraded to less than white trash. Less than white trash had an open season during which one could make fun of. Then they began to make fun of themselves to the gut laughing audience, who approved in mass. The Beverly Hillbillies, great taste but the audience grew to appreciate Archie Bunker more so. Only the editorial pictorials of the old days dared to excavate the humor of those in the elite class. There were dragon fights between the two but both have survived and thrived to this very minute. What happened? It began to be valuable and the CP that I used today makes it easy for “anyone to ” tell it like it is or is not from their little rooms in their large as well as no so small houses. It makes money for people who are beyond it and gives voice to people who were itching to participate. Most everyone likes a well-written fiction book. hardly anyone wants to read a well-written biographical or any information concerning how do we survive MADD. Oh! That was a comic book as well.

  3. Charlie June 30, 2018 at 10:50 am #

    Carson, Leno and Letterman stand head and shoulders above low lifes Kimmel, Colbertt , and Fallon. I haven’t tuned in to any of them in several years. it’s a race to see who is the unfunniest. Right now they’re all tied for first maybe Kimmel has a slight lead in being the worst.

  4. Charles Pierce June 30, 2018 at 11:27 am #

    All speech is free, to that end everyone, comedians, Retired Police Officers, Retire Military and everyone in between have the right to say what they want about politicians. Humor, the Theater, Movies, TV, Radio and even the internet have become crass and very rude. That is the nature of what our politics and our society have become. How do we change them with out destroying the 1st amendment. I am working with an organization that is trying to tackle some of the political problem in this country. Please go to the https://conventionofstates.com/ web site and read. We are looking to call a Convention of States under Article V of our constitution to propose a balance budget amendment, Term limits on persons serving in congress and the end of administrative law.

  5. Bill Solen June 30, 2018 at 1:40 pm #

    Charlie and I think exactly alike on this one. After the top 3 real late night comedians left TV it didn’t take long to see the writing on the wall. I’ve never understood Kimmel’s claim to fame. I’ve never considered him ‘funny’. The other two mentioned are slap stick left wing morons.

  6. Paul June 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm #

    Somehow you forgot Peter Fonda’s classy comment “we should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles”. Really? An 11 year old who has done nothing to harm anyone. When Obama was President, his kids were strictly off limits, and rightfully so. But there are no limits to the HATE and HYPOCRISY of today’s liberal left. They are becoming dangerously unhinged, truly sick individuals. The only plus is they are exposing their true selves and their insanity to all of us, hopefully it will lead to more liberal defeats at the ballot box.

  7. George Gilcrist June 30, 2018 at 3:41 pm #

    Great column today (Sat)…..and I agree totally. People like De Niro, Streep, Samantha Bee, Kathy Griffin, etc should shut up and do what they do. We do not see Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, John McCain, Rick Scott or others getting on stage at the Laugh Factory or doing an act on Comedy Central. Problem is…..Hollywood and its entertaining tentacles has destroyed freedom of opinion and freedom of speech, and has entered arenas of which they do not belong…..to this point becoming anti American….we have a new radical group in the U.S. now….we have the KKK, Black Panthers, Nazi party, and democrats/liberals/far left……..eliminating ICE would just create societal and economical chaos, but then again…..this is what happens when the ignorant speak…..when you give the clueless and the idiots placards/signs and marching permits.

  8. Pat Pesce June 30, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

    Kudos to you and your Op Ed piece!! You refer to comedians but the article is a microcosm of the big picture. This county is going down the tubes by well meaning but ignorant people. I can’t imagine…struggling, trying to understand where such hatred and violence in this country emanated from. Can anyone point to it?

  9. JustMe June 30, 2018 at 8:31 pm #

    You are so right. These celebrities are not funny nor are they to be admired. I remember Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, all of whom could make us laugh without the violent hate speech we see today.
    Many of us tolerated the anti-American, anti-American military, anti-Israel, pro-Muslim, racist Barrack Hussein Obama for eight long and damaging years. There were plenty of us who knew how low Obama was from the beiginning as he hung out with terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernarding Dohrn, and the racist, anti-American Jeremiah Wright. However, we never went to the violent, disgusting extremes as the lefties/Democrats are doing to President Trump in an effort to bring him down. And the comedians who also knew how low Obama was, didn’t go to these extremes either.
    The truth is, many of us are sick of these celebrities like Peter Fonda and politicians such as Maxine Waters with their hatred and calls to violence against President Trump, his family, and those Americans who support him. It’s now dangerous to support Trump and the Constitution. Anyone who does is a target for physical and verbal violence from the left.
    I never thought I would live to see the day when a major U.S. political party would support and encourage such filth and violence against their fellow Americans as the Democrats are doing.

  10. Jan Siren July 4, 2018 at 10:31 am #

    Marshall,

    I remember monologs by Bob Hope – it was pretty obvious what his political leanings were even if he never came out and said “Vote for _____!” On the other side of the spectrum was Mort Sahl. Both were pretty funny guys in their respective ways. Are you saying let’s abandon that tradition, get even hints of politics out of comedians’ routines, and only make jokes about, um, the weather? (At the counter of a diner, one guy trying to make conversation with the guy next to him: “Looks like rain.” {The other, sipping his coffee:} “Tastes like it too.”)

    Jan

    • Adams July 4, 2018 at 2:29 pm #

      Did you even read the Op-Ed?