As Thrill pointed out in the open thread this week, Sacha Baron Cohen is hilarious.  I prefer his Ali G. persona to Borat, but Borat has his moments.  I thought that his stint in the sun was over after the Borat movie since, damn, who is stupid enough to fall for that schtick now?  Ahem … According to the trailer to his new show, he reeled some more in.

Anyway, it got me thinking about some of the hand-wringing about comedians not being very funny.  I don’t see it.  They may avoid certain douchey topics like rape and pedos (believe me, I can laugh at that shit too, but it stopped being actually funny), but I still find humor.  Last week we went to my Mom’s for a few days and we always put on the satellite radio comedy channels for the five hour trip.  They are small bites of humor, but we laughed the whole way there and back.  Makes the trip seem at least a little shorter.

Let’s laugh this week.

  1. Funny songs – These are songs that are supposed to be funny or are just funny because, well, they just are.
  2. Comedy bits – Play some funny comedy bits and don’t pull any punches. Douchey shit is OK too.  This is another week where we can have a few laughs at others’ expense

Here is the playlist:

Dedications (safe for work is your opinion only):

Spootyjim – Steve Harvey

WVR – Kevin Hart

Santino – Jeff Foxworthy

Zurvan – Ron White

Lurking – Robin Williams

Thrill – John Pinette

88 comments

  1. Still one of my favorite comedy routines of all time – Bill Cosby – Himself

    (You don’t need to add it to the playlist, it’s the full show – all hour and 45 of it).

    George Carlin – Euphemisms

  2. My all-time favorite stand up performance is Eddie Murphy: Delirious.

    Uncle Gus and Aunt Bunny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yOWjkAxrwE

    Goony goo goo!

    Sit On My Face by Monty Python – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dax_tnZRExc

    The OSI theme from Venture Brothers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz59tFR2KMs

    I’m going to hog up some of the It’s Always Sunny musical moments.

    Go Fuck Yourself – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQnYmC4-_1c

    Charlie Day’s vocal range is astounding.

    Day Man! Ah ah ah! Fighter of the Night Man Ah ah ah! Champion of the Sun! Ah ah ah!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJNtVNe286E

    This scene ruined Tom Tom Club for me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOgtoQQ5Ybs

    Mandatory Dethklok with Titty Fish -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ITGzPFkgro

  3. I used to have one of the Monty Python double albums many years ago and I listened to that stuff religiously and can still sing along with almost all them. Here’s one of the lesser known tracks.

    “Poor King Charles laid his head on the block. January 1649. Dooooown came the axe. And in the silence that followed, the only sound that could be heard was a solitary giggle. From….”

    Oliver Cromwell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBPf6P332uM

    Bonus! If I Were Not in the CID: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCpyZ6d3dO4

  4. I thought that his stint in the sun was over after the Borat movie since, damn, who is stupid enough to fall for that schtick now? Ahem … According to the trailer to his new show, he reeled some more in.

    Yeah, how stupid of Palin, yucks all around, to devote both her own time time and money to a cause she feels passionate about, the lives and well-being of veterans. What a dope, falling for an obvious ploy, a disabled veteran in a wheelchair who was not really there to honor American vets and their ultimate sacrifice, nope, he was there is punk and humiliate. How lucky you are that you have not been personally affected with a loved one suffering life changing battlefield wounds, Sarah was not so lucky.
    Here is her Facebook reply;

    https://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin/photos/a.10152406056643588.1073741865.24718773587/10156554923683588/?type=3&theater

    believe me, I can laugh at that shit too

    I’m sure you can, anything for ratings, right? I bet if he punked her, pretending to promote the cause of Downs syndrome ( another cause dear to her due to personal circumstances) for a charity event, you lefties would find that equally humorous. Maybe this clown can do a bit on partial birth abortion, kids dying of cancer, or the hilarious side of grooming gangs.

    Stolen Valor Act, anyone?

    Palin has challenged Cohen to air the complete unedited interview to show he was a complete shit, but he may have bigger problems than being exposed as a jerk. As I said, this hasn’t premiered yet, but if Cohen is any way misrepresented that he had received medals for service in the US military, he committed a crime.

    Palin said that Cohen pretended to de a disabled vet, which could mean that he was trying to give her the impression he had been awarded a Purple Heart. He may have even worn fake medals on his person during the interview.

  5. I bet if he punked her, pretending to promote the cause of Downs syndrome ( another cause dear to her due to personal circumstances) for a charity event, you lefties would find that equally humorous.

    Cohen does that sort of thing to everybody. He’s Jewish and he did this, after all:

    Throw the Jew Down the Well – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb3IMTJjzfo

    Your reaction is an example of how political correctness has killed comedy.

  6. First of all, dammit you beat me to “Throw the Jew Down the Well”.

    Your reaction is an example of how political correctness has killed comedy.

    I did not mention Palin, he did. In addition to Palin, Cohen supposedly got Bernie Sanders, so the idiocy runs the gamut. I was genuinely surprised that he was able to punk anyone at all after Borat. As for laughing at inappropriate shit, yea I can and do. I am also aware that sometimes it isn’t wholly cool.

    Down’s isn’t all that funny, I have known some people with it and it is a difficult situation for the families involved. One of the few endearing things about Palin is her obvious love of Trig.

  7. Funny, but also a public service announcement.

    One of my all-time favorite Chris Rock bits.

  8. I did not mention Palin, he did.

    I wasn’t saying you were being p.c.. Rich was demonstrating how the “offensiveness culture” has neutered comedy.

  9. Cohen does that sort of thing to everybody…

    Your reaction is an example of how political correctness has killed comedy.

    I don’t give two shits whether he’s funny or not. He impersonated a disabled veteran, and ridiculed our vets. He should at the least have his visa revoked, and sent packing.

  10. Your reaction is an example of how political correctness has killed comedy.

    Says the guy who lectured us (correctly BTW) that protests go too far when they injury people. Comedy is the same damn thing, at least to me. Some people might think it funny to push an old lady down the stairs. A few years back there was a phenomenon called the knock out game, where back teenage thugs would walk up to an unsuspecting white person, many times they were elderly, and punch them in the face in an attempt to knock them out, was that funny? So called comedy in the form of a political agenda ,”Do something you feckless CUNT!!” is not funny to me, if you think it is, then yuck it up all you want. Comedy, like music, movies, and books, is all in the eyes/ears of the audience. If he can get folks like you and pfluffy to tune into his show and laugh, then I guess that is comedy, but don’t pretend that stuff I don’t think is particularly funny (like luring someone passionate about Vet affairs several thousand miles away on her dime and her time just to ridicule her) somehow makes my comedy chops inferior to yours, because then you reinforce the same elitist thinking you ridicule the judge for.

    I did not mention Palin, he did.

    Oh, please, quit it. What Cohen stunt has been all over the news of late? You aren’t seriously going to pretend that you meant someone else?

    Cohen supposedly got Bernie Sanders

    How exactly did he “get” him? Were the situations similar? Did Cohen pretend to represent some cause that personally affected Sanders, causing him great time and inconvenience, then prank him ridiculing the very cause that was used as bait? I can’t find the youtube clip, maybe you can provide it.

    Down’s isn’t all that funny, I have known some people with it and it is a difficult situation for the families involved.

    OK, now take that little bit of compassion about Down’s sufferers you just showed and project that to a family who is also in a difficult situation because of personal involvement with a PTSD sufferer. Downs Syndrome and vet disabilities are personal to Palin, yet both you and Thrill shrug it off because ,”Hey, he does this to everyone”.

    I don’t give two shits whether he’s funny or not. He impersonated a disabled veteran, and ridiculed our vets. He should at the least have his visa revoked, and sent packing.

    Zurvan, you just killed/neutered comedy, which by implication means that you just are not “with it”.

  11. Zurvan, you just killed/neutered comedy, which by implication means that you just are not “with it”.

    If that’s what it takes to be “with it,” then, yeah, count me out. If he had cracked an off-color joke about being injured in the military, I wouldn’t think it was funny, and I’d want to beat the shit out of him still, but I wouldn’t want him deported over it. What he did…it’s too far.

    Since this is the Song Thread…

    “If My Nose Was Running Money.”

  12. Says the guy who lectured us (correctly BTW) that protests go too far when they injure people.

    You’re reaching with this parallel.

    In any event, Cohen wasn’t attacking disabled veterans. That’s a gross mischaracterization. He disguised himself as one so he could get access to Palin and have with her guard down. Palin was the butt of the joke, not Purple Heart recipients.

    It’s sort of like when Howard Stern hired Stuttering John to interview celebrities because he knew that they’d have to stand there and listen to him asking offensive questions or they’d look insensitive to someone with a disability.

    Speaking of Stuttering John, I also found it funny that he trolled the president. The Secret Service didn’t but, oh well.

    I’ll Talk My Way Out Of It – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbaC6yBpRXI

  13. In any event, Cohen wasn’t attacking disabled veterans. That’s a gross mischaracterization.

    And you know this how exactly? The bit has not aired yet so you have no clue what he did, what he said, or who he made fun of, so you have zero basis to make the claim that it was a characterization.

    Here is what Palin said;

    For my interview, my daughter and I were asked to travel across the country where Cohen (I presume) had heavily disguised himself as a disabled US Veteran, fake wheelchair and all. Out of respect for what I was led to believe would be a thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform, I sat through a long “interview” full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm – but finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin. The disrespect of our US military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse.

  14. Everything Palin wrote conforms with what I said. She agreed to meet with Cohen and listened to his crazy shit because she thought he was a disabled vet. She was the subject of the prank.

  15. You said it was a gross mischaracterization to say that Cohen was attacking disabled vets, you don’t know this since the transcript of exactly what he said and did is not available, yet. Yes, we know that he pretended to be a disabled vet to con Palin into the interview. And we know, based on what Palin has said, that Cohen showed “perverse” disrespect to both the military and middle America, exactly what he said or did to show this, we don’t know, yet you still defend him, without any evidence.

    I’m confused, weren’t you the champion of ,”Hey, if it’s comedy, it doesn’t matter who you attack or make fun of”, yet you are going out of your way to defend Cohen when you don’t know what he said or what he did.

  16. Compassion. I see.

    Downs Syndrome and vet disabilities are personal to Palin, yet both you and Thrill shrug it off because ,”Hey, he does this to everyone”.

    I notice that you don’t give two shits how he got Sanders.

    Punching people in the face is not funny and I checked my post – I did not say that it is or ever was funny to me. Harming animals – not funny. Anything else you would like to make up that I think is funny? I said I have been known to laugh at inappropriate rape and old pedo jokes. Most comedians can’t get away with these any more.

    Do you laugh at idiots in man on the street interviews? You know, the ones that interview 50 people to get the five dumbasses in the video? I admit that they can be funny. It works on a statistic that X number of people have learning disabilities like my son’s. My son has poor recall and processing speed. Give him a few prompts and he might be able to tell you who won the Civil War, but those interviews don’t work that way. They would show his blank expression and nervous laugh. Had to inform my mom last week that she was poking fun at kids like her grandson when she mentioned one of those. I don’t blame people for not knowing this, it is only something you would know if you experienced it.

    Man on the Street – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oHwaSs0HsE

    Sarah Palin put herself out there in a way that offended a lot of liberals and she is still doing it. I have some empathy for her with Trig because I know it is tough, but I doubt she would give a tinker’s damn about me.

  17. You said it was a gross mischaracterization to say that Cohen was attacking disabled vets

    Because it is a gross mischaracterization. He used the disguise to get close to Palin. He was pranking Palin, not disabled veterans.

    I’m not defending him at all. I’m explaining what he was doing. Pfluffy noted that it’s amazing that Cohen is still able to prank anyone because he should be recognizable. Disguising himself in this way is how far he has to go to get there. And again: he was trying to make fun of Palin, not disabled vets.

    He could have made fun of disabled vets without bothering with Palin, right? He didn’t. Because Palin was the subject of the joke. Why aren’t you getting that?

    What are the rules now? Are people no longer allowed to disguise themselves to get other people to say things that they wouldn’t say if they knew they were on camera? Does James O’Keefe know this?

    Or is it only okay to disguise yourself if you’re doing journalism?

    Or is it okay to disguise yourself for any reason as long as you don’t disguise yourself as a disabled veteran?

    There are all of these rules we have to navigate thanks to SJW’s and….conservatives. Can white people pretend to be black? What are the rules?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAKFhRWg9AE

  18. I notice that you don’t give two shits how he got Sanders.

    And yet you have been unable to prove how he “got” Sanders, even after my above prompting.

    Punching people in the face is not funny and I checked my post – I did not say that it is or ever was funny to me.

    And no where did I say you said it was funny, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

    Anything else you would like to make up that I think is funny?

    See above response. Since the both of you defined comedy as Anything that illicit’s a laugh no matter the subject or how the laugh was obtained I was just wondering whether this type of slapstick was funny to you.

    Do you laugh at idiots in man on the street interviews?

    I am “amused” by some of them, yes, but you still don’t get the difference. The topic discussed is random, not a personal subject that the interviewee has a vested interest in, and it is spontaneous, the interviewees are not lured thousands of miles a way to discuss something they fell passionately about all for the purposes of ridicule and humiliation.

    It works on a statistic that X number of people have learning disabilities like my son’s.

    So ADHD jokes or similar is not OK with you? Now suppose you were famous and was told a new charity who provides money for research in this specific area would like you to come to San Francisco to be interviewed, to lend your considerable weight of name to the organization. You go and the after the interviewer shows perverse disrespect to the cause and you leave, to find out later that it was Cohen pranking someone famous (you) for a new Showtime special, then some blogger calls you stupid because you should have seen right through the scam.

    Sarah Palin put herself out there in a way that offended a lot of liberals and she is still doing it.

    How is she ,”still doing it”? and are you somehow saying she deserved what she got?

    He was pranking Palin, not disabled veterans.

    We are going in circles; you can’t prove any of this since you were not there and you don’t have the transcript.

    Pfluffy noted that it’s amazing that Cohen is still able to prank anyone because he should be recognizable.

    Not so amazing since we don’t know how well he was disguised. And since she said ,” I thought that his stint in the sun was over after the Borat movie since, damn, who is stupid enough to fall for that schtick now? Ahem”, he has been out of the game for awhile. Another news flash, He may be recognizable to you but I would not recognize him and I doubt Palin would either.

    As far as the rest of your comment, let me just say this; his bit with Palin might indeed be funny, but I’d have to see it first. He would have been better served if he dressed up like a disabled vet and randomly ran into her on the streets of wherever she lives and struck up a conversation about the plight of disabled vets, this could have worked, depending on how funny he was in doing the prank. What bothered me was the manner in which she was inconvenienced, that and pfluffy calling her stupid for not catching on mid prank. Even the dopey ice cream glove prank had Cohen going to Trump’s office and causing 2 minutes of wasted time, that’s it.

    As far as what topic are off limits, go wild, I don’t care, I always subscribe to the notion that the free markets should decide. If someone laughs and thinks it’s funny, fine, but if I think you crossed the line I get to call you the Hipster Mcdouchebag that you are because, well, it’s a free country. If you want to make Down’s syndrome jokes or ADHD jokes and you think there is a market for it, give it a shot, but don’t be surprised if some thinks you suck because of it.

    Dressing up like a disabled vet, depending on the get up, sure sounds like a possible case of Stolen Valor to me. There is a reason they call it stolen valor.

  19. ADHD Jokes? I see them all the time. Some are funny and some are not. Half of Eddie Izzard’s stuff is pure attention span.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSyugt8If6Y

    You don’t appear to be reading thoroughly. Man on the street interviews are not about ADHD. I was demonstrating my empathy for Palin and Trig with my story about it. I see how my son could get caught in the cross-hairs there because of his recall and processing speed. I see it in the responders in those interviews. I can see how she would not appreciate Down’s jokes.

    Let me be clear – this post is not about Palin. I did not mention Palin. You did. And then when I said it wasn’t about Palin, you insisted I was full of shit. There is a WHOLE SEASON OF PEOPLE that got pranked by Cohen after a couple TV shows and a movie. I was talking about all of them. You seem to really want to make this about Palin and it was not. It was just as Thrill said – “damn, people are still falling for this shit”.

  20. I know I posted this in the open thread, but I want a ruling. Watch the Paula Abdul clip from Bruno.

    https://www.yoiutube.com/watch?v=sc3H4UkkZgk

    The joke is on Paula Abdul, right? It’s not “disrespectful to Mexicans”, is it? The Mexicans are role playing. They’re “in on” the joke, which is on Abdul.

    Where’s cress? I need someone who has a good, professional handle on comedic construction.

  21. Man on the street interviews are not about ADHD.

    Yeah, I know that, it was a separate paragraph, ya know, like a different thought entirely, that is why it was a different paragraph.

    I can see how she would not appreciate Down’s jokes.

    And for the exact same reason, personal attachment, she does not appreciate levity about disabled vets, same thing applies.

    this post is not about Palin

    I know.

    And then when I said it wasn’t about Palin, you insisted I was full of shit.

    I admit I am at a disadvantage here because I know very little about this “comedian”. But you admitted that he hasn’t done anything for a long while and now the Palin prank is front and center on the news, has he pranked anyone else lately? It is not reasonable for me to assume when you say,” who is stupid enough to fall for that schtick now? Ahem …”, that the “ahem” means his latest victim which would be Palin. If you are honestly telling me that you did not have Palin in mind when you wrote this, then I will believe you.

    There is a WHOLE SEASON OF PEOPLE that got pranked by Cohen after a couple TV shows and a movie.

    Was this recently? Your comment indicated that he has been quiet for a while, but now he surfaces with this Palin prank.

    You seem to really want to make this about Palin and it was not.

    OK, I will take you at your word and withdraw the criticism, my bad.

    In the spirit of the post;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLRlFdZ49ls

    Some NSFW humor

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh2PjkzW20w

    And some actually funny Palin humor

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iyIbbxVzrU

  22. Where’s cress? I need someone who has a good, professional handle on comedic construction

    Why hello there…

    I haven’t seen the clip, but if it’s like the rest of SBC’s work, then he interviewee is the subject and SBC usually plays a satirisation of the character to enable the subject to embarrass themselves by agreeing with his character.

    AliG played to old white stuffy politicians view of ‘the youth’ just at the time when (in the UK anyway) Channel 4 we’re beginning to show more youth oriented programming. He played up to the ignorance politicians assumed the youth possessed.

    Borat was a satirisation of the UK and US views of foreigners. He played to the stereotype of the backwards, uncultural nonwesterner to reveal the views that people really had.

    Now again I haven’t seen it – but Injured Veteran doesn’t sound like a satirised character – it sounds like he’s actually satirising an Alex Jones type person?

    We simply can’t have this discussion until we see the piece. Because it’s all about the point that it’s trying to make.

  23. That’s what I was looking for. It explains his setup, delivery, and payoff. Again, the joke is on the person he’s interacting with, not the person he’s pretending to be. The latter is just a device.

    We can wait to see the Palin skit, but I’d be amazed if he deviates from his usual pattern. Truly, you have to give him props for saying this right to a real-life terrorist’s face:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL_RaMJ3oc8

  24. No, I really don’t. The guy’s a talentless twat.

    I was thinking the same thing, although to be fair, I don’t know his work very well. I IMDB’ed him. For the last few years he has been MIA, now suddenly he pranks Palin for his new special.

    I facetiously mention pushing an old lady down the stairs to gauge where some here define or limit their definition of comedy when this falls into my lap;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zF98VDxED4

    To compare Cohen to Chaplin is beyond ridiculous.

  25. Check out Chris Morris’s ‘Brass Eye’ to see the master of this at work. Should all be on YouTube.

  26. Check out Chris Morris’s ‘Brass Eye’ to see the master of this at work. Should all be on YouTube.

    Are you talking about this? And this?

    Now, I grew up on Mr. Bean, love most Monty Python, and Top Gear/Grand Tour is probably my favorite show and the humor is one of my favorite parts, so I’m pretty sure I enjoy British humor.

    But I watched a good chunk of those two videos, and…yeah, not funny.

    Let me ask you and WG something – do you find Jimmy Fallon funny? Because there are a number of people in my family and friends who love him and find him hysterical. But I can’t stand him, never found him funny on SNL, and it’s only gotten worse. So maybe I’ve just got a different kind of funny bone.

  27. do you find Jimmy Fallon funny?

    I’m going to have to say no only because I haven’t seen him in anything since the last time I caught a glimpse of him on SNL’s Weekend Update a long, long time ago. I’m really not kidding when I talk about how detached I am from pop culture.

    RedLetterMedia is funny to me. That’s one of the best exemplars of the brand of humor I enjoy. Lots of people hate it though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeK889V5M88&index=9&list=PLWXQdJ1_d0vSjucEydlB3-KlZXTH-Qked

  28. This.

    Sure, that’s funny. No argument here. I just recognize different variations of humor differently than you or Rich, I suppose.

    I’m fundamentally an absurdist. I appreciate seeing uncomfortable and humorous takes on the dumbest and most common things in life. Maybe Seinfeld is where I first learned to enjoy that perspective, but of course this show had it in spades:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkbYwtvm0yU

  29. If you are honestly telling me that you did not have Palin in mind when you wrote this, then I will believe you.

    The catalyst for this post was in the ~10 hours of comedy bits we listened to on the round-trip to my Mom’s last week. Bill mentioned SBC in a post and I checked on what was going on. Palin is in the news because she addressed it, but I deliberately left her out because many more were taken in and she is by no means the only person that SBC has gotten over the years. I mean, did you look at the “Ice Cream Glove” I put in the playlist? LOL, Ali G. was funny.

    No, I really don’t. The guy’s a talentless twat.

    OK, put on your CISSP hat here. Humor is subjective, and if you don’t find him funny, fine. Thing is, this guy is a world-class social engineer. I am currently doing my BA capstone on social engineering and if I can work him in as an example I will. Professor may not go for it though, since the sources for it may not be that “scholarly”. If SBC decides to use his powers for evil, companies should hold onto their wallets, he WILL get in.

  30. I am currently doing my BA capstone on social engineering and if I can work him in as an example I will.

    You’re very lucky, timing-wise. There’s a treasure trove of examples of social engineering methods used by the Russian GRU in the Mueller indictment. I’d be using it if I were in your shoes!

    https://assets.bwbx.io/documents/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/rs96.XUFx2Gw/v0

    https://kek.gg/i/6WXwFn.png

    Also, I used to be a private investigator and regularly used social engineering techniques to get information from people. Hit me up if you think I might be able to provide anything useful.

  31. Well for comedy, I’ve been a fan of Supermansion as of late on crackle. Funny stuff. Especially if you like comedy on the 8th grade level like I do. Not over the top as in trying too hard to make a point or some bs shock value or life lesson. Similar to Drawn Together.

    https://www.sonycrackle.com/supermansion

  32. Spoiler alert – this is a long post mainly because I love writing about British Comedy and Zurvan gave me an opportunity

    But I watched a good chunk of those two videos, and…yeah, not funny.

    First off, let me be clear – I’m not at any point trying to persuade you to find something funny. That’s not my point at all – laughter is an involuntary reaction, and comedy’s job is simply to find a way to trigger that involuntary reaction. All I can do is explain what (I think) these comedians are trying to say. (Background/Humblebrag, I VERY tangentially know some of these guys and worked on the scene in the late 90’s/early 2000’s before I became a corporate shill…. my handle is a reference to one of the two famous jokes I ever wrote, which shows what a sad I am!)

    Classic British Comedy post war (outside of Python and Milligan) was all about the triumph of the underdog (unsurprisingly) a recognition that while we might be rubbish – somehow the ‘britishness’ of us will mean that we’ll at least end up in the same position at the end of the episode. Some Mother Do Ave Em, Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, Pink Panther, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. (Incidentally, if you’ve never seen/listened to any of these, doing so will give you a fast track into the UK psyche.) These were buffoons we laughed at because their heart was in the right place.

    In the Thatcher era you had ‘alternative comedy’ which was anti establishment, but had the unique perspective of not actually being very funny. Ben Elton, Alexi Sayle, basically did political comedy, but only for students. They did ‘satire’ – defined as ‘taking the piss out of the powerful’. The oultlier was ‘not the nine o’clock news, who went on to produce later on.

    Then in the late nineties, early 2000’s you had a bunch of comedians (mainly from Cambridge Footlights) who decided that satire was ‘impersonating the powerful to show how awful they were’. So you got Alan Partridge, Chris Morris, Nathan Barley, Fist of Fun, Have I got News For You, The Thick of It, and basically anything Armando Ianuuci was involved in. These were buffoons we laughed at because their hearts were in the wrong place (see Colbert, Stephen)

    (Side note – if you like British Comedy, then most of the great comedies were incubated on radio, and are available in audiobook. For fans of the absurd, I can recommend for long car journeys – The 99p Challenge, Absolute Power, That Mitchell and Webb Sound)

    Enter Brass Eye – a parody of the news culture that nowadays we take for granted (basically a 60 minutes parody). In trying to skewer outrage culture and media hypocrisy, they ran a fake news show about Peadophilia. He showed you can get celebrities to say anything if you convince them there’s a cause. He showed the hypocrisy of the media, as complaints about the fact his show talked openly about Paedophlila ran next to articles about 15 year old pop singers boobs. He got the Daily Mail to publish the words “Wicker Phallus’ on their front page.

    Yes what they were doing was outrageous, but the point of what they were doing was funny.

    SBC is similar. The point of what he does is to get people to show who they really are, and be funny along the way. Ali G was about generational divides. Borat was about cultural (notice the difference the ‘urban’ kids versus the ‘trust fund’ kids) Bruno was about sexuality (and didn’t really work). My guess would be that this one would be about the divide between left and right.

    re: Fallon – He’s charming and talented, but I don’t find him funny as a comedian per se. I’d call him amusing. For the record, Wipeout is gold.

  33. Man I came for a DJ thread and a fight broke out. Is nothing sacred any more?

    We’re going to have to add Sacha Baron Cohen to the list of high-risk DJ thread topics. The other items are country music and pop tarts (Katy Perry and the like, not the pastry).

  34. That’s not my point at all – laughter is an involuntary reaction, and comedy’s job is simply to find a way to trigger that involuntary reaction.

    That’s about right. There are certain things that always work when delivered properly with the right setup, timing, situation, etc. For example, I still laugh at reruns of I Love Lucy. That’s a show that was never offensive or mean-spirited like SBC or Archer or other things I enjoy now, but it’s still funny. Lucy was a comedy genius and could pull off ridiculous physical comedy and lay down the setup for a joke that took an entire episode to pay off.

    The show held up because she knew what people found funny in a timeless way. The methods are what matter more than the “style”.

    I think most of the evolutions you see in American comedy are stylistic but whether or not it’s funny is still bound by the same structure that Lucy knew how to work with. Like in the 80’s, you had family comedies. Then later you had desconstructions of family comedies with the Simpson’s and Married with Children. The 90’s had shows about wider groups like Friends and all of those shows used laugh tracks.

    Then you started to see that “documentary style” of show like The Office (UK and US versions), Trailer Park Boys, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and It’s Always Sunny. They’re harsher than Lucy, use bad words, and are often offensive but I would say that if you cleaned them up the same things that make them funny would still work.

    What we have now is that a lot of humor is simply saying shocking and inappropriate things. It’s not funny to me. I might find it interesting, but I don’t laugh. When Mrs Thrill and I saw Bad Moms, I thought it was a decent movie and I appreciated what it had to say about the struggle of mothers who try to balance the demands of their lives to do what’s best for their children….but I didn’t laugh one time. The “jokes” were entirely based on being these suburban moms doing outrageous things and saying naughty words. Yawn.

    Shows likeThe Daily Show and whatever Colbert is doing are pretty much the same thing. “Hey, what would happen if a news anchor said ‘cock holster’? Hilarity!” It’s a funny idea, but it isn’t really funny to me.

    I think Cohen gets unfairly lumped in with that trend of “guy doing shocking and offensive things” like Tom Green and people tend to reject it on its face. I agree with ilovecress that what he’s doing is deeper than that and it’s what makes it funny to me. It’s not that much different to me in comedic structure than Lucy disguising herself as Ricky’s agent to convince a Hollywood producer to pay him more money.

    The It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode “The Gang Broke Dee” is a remarkably good breakdown of this concept about what actually is funny. There be spoilers here, for those who haven’t watched it.

    The episode starts with one character, Dee, who is depressed. She wants to be a comedian and actress, but she is working as a waitress in a dive bar and everybody abuses her. “The gang” decides to pick her back up by getting her to perform stand-up comedy at an improv place. She says a bunch of stuff about “my vagina”, makes stupid noises, and otherwise acts like a weird character. The audience loves it. They laugh and applaud.

    Dee ends up getting her mojo back. She repeats the act, develops a following, and eventually gets invited to appear on late night tv and is “flown out” to appear on a “late night tv show” to do her act. But when she arrives, she finds out that the entire thing was a prank orchestrated by the gang. She was never funny, the audience was paid, and they tricked her into thinking that she was being brought to a tv studio.

    Yes, the entire episode was a setup for a big joke and I laughed until I had tears when the reveal hit. It was because the episode followed the classic “setup, delivery, payoff” formula AND exposed the vapidity of the “person saying cheap offensive things for a laugh” concept that made it so great.

    Again, the style doesn’t matter in terms of whether or not something is funny. I think it matters, as does the subject of the joke (“the establishment”, the poor, minorities, white people, etc) for the tastes of the audience, but whether or not it’s actually funny is hardwired into our brains.

    PS: Hey, cress, where does “Keeping Up Appearancs” fit in the shows you described? I think that one’s brilliant.

  35. Keeping up appearances was basically a Golden Era 70s sitcom that aired in the early 90’s. It was this ‘gentle comedy’ that the alternative comedians were reacting to.

    But despite being ‘classic’ rather than ‘alternative’ it’s still about the same thing. Shows like The Office, Alan Partridge, Father Ted, The IT Crowd, Spaced and Black books are about aA person who isn’t impressive, pretends to be impressive, gets found out. See also Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, Dads Army, Reggie Perrin, On the Buses, and Last of the Summer wine.

  36. Great stuff cress. My all-time favourite British comedy show is probably The League of Gentlemen, which is pure absurdism. Although Steve Coogan is probably my favourite British comedy actor.

  37. “Children under 5 will also have elevated levels of the pheromone called “Blink-182”, produced by the part of the liver called the “Rita Ora”. This allows nerve reflexes to travel along the “Cardi B” neural pathway to the “Wiz Khalifa” 40% faster.” OMFG. This is very much like the Brass Eye pedophilia episode.

  38. 10 min SBC preview….yikes

    First question: Is Cohen disrespecting the Israeli military with that persona?

    Second question: Is that not the most epic manspreading ever seen?

    The biggest problem with it is that every interview is heavily edited and it’s clear that the Congressional members are just reading a script. What did he tell them to get them to read the scripts?

    On that basis, it’s less effective than Borat or Bruno where he was just engineering these insane situations and letting the camera run.

    That’s me evaluating it on whether or not it works as an expose. It doesn’t. Convincing guys to read a script and then not showing how you got them to read it or what they said after they read isn’t compelling one way or the other. The only exception would be the second guy, the lobbyist, who is clearly a nut and said some nutty things unprompted.

    But is it funny? I didn’t think so. I laughed at his over-the-top character (I’ve met actual Israeli security/intelligence professionals and they don’t behave like that at all) and premise of arming 4 year olds, but I’d have to see more of the unscripted, unedited moment with his reactions to them to say that it’s the same sort of humor of his I’ve found funny in the past.

    FWIW: I never watched Ali G. I know him best from Bruno, Borat, Madagascar, The Dictator, and some of his other acting roles.

  39. Is Cohen disrespecting the Israeli military with that persona?

    Is that a serious question?

    First off, you should ask that question to an Israeli citizen for it to have any relevance at all. Do they have anything similar to Stolen Valor Act in Israel?

    He was not wearing a military uniform or purported to part of the Israeli military so the obvious answer is No.

    I know you are desperately trying to find similarities (hence the question) in this skit with the stunt he pulled on Palin, there aren’t any. When you pretend to be a disabled vet the implication is that you were wounded and later disabled from actual combat. Granted, we don’t know how he was dressed for the fake interview, whether he was wearing a military uniform with decorations but do you really think Palin would have agreed to be a part of this if Cohen had told her he was some file clerk with the ROTC that suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome? This was so bad on so many levels, the fact that you, ex military yourself, can’t see this is stunning.

  40. Is that a serious question?

    No, not really. It was more of a call-back joke.

    Do they have anything similar to Stolen Valor Act in Israel?

    Maybe? I don’t know. I don’t think what Cohen did qualifies as a violation of the American one either.

    but do you really think Palin would have agreed to be a part of this if Cohen had told her he was some file clerk with the ROTC that suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome?

    No, probably not. That’s why he did it.

    This was so bad on so many levels, the fact that you, ex military yourself, can’t see this is stunning.

    I have the perspective of having been someone who pretended to be other people in the course of doing jobs. They wouldn’t have spoken to me if I’d said, “Hi! The company that has been paying out on your disability claim has reason to think that you’ve been violating the terms of your settlement and has asked me to come here and get proof of it. Would you mind going out and mowing your lawn while I videotape you?”

    If the requirements of the job had required me to pose as a disabled veteran, a pastor, or even the Prophet Muhammed I would have done it. It wouldn’t be disrespectful in intent, it would have just been whatever I had to do to get the other person to trust me enough to open the door and talk to me.

    What I will say is that I’m guessing Cohen does make the disabled vet character he plays the only real joke based on how he behaved as the Israeli commando guy. I’ll say at this point that Showtime had better be very, very wary of what they let get aired.

  41. Joe Walsh confirms it was a deceptively-edited script reading.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9LjwRRO9fk

    Honestly, this is the same bit the Daily Show has been doing for 20 years. Get somebody with an idea or belief you think is wacky on camera, get them talking, and then edit the hell out of it to make the subject look silly. Some people like that stuff, I suppose, but it’s hardly innovative.

  42. Walsh (and the others) still said what they said, no matter how it was set up. They’re not very good advocates for Israel if they allow themselves to be filmed saying just about anything anyone asks them to.

  43. Walsh (and the others) still said what they said, no matter how it was set up.

    Uh, no the way it was set up matters. If you’re trying to get them to say that they want to arm 4 year olds and the only way you can do it is by asking them to read a script after bestowing them with special treatment, it’s pretty safe to say that they don’t want to arm 4 year olds or Cohen would’ve just been able to ask, “Hey, do you want to give AR-15’s to kindergartners?”

    The fact that none of the Congressmen said that and he could only get them to read the statement is all you need to see.

    And if you think I’m being overly-strict here, I’ll just say that every time James O’Keefe releases a video of Planned Parenthood or the DNC or someone else’s employees saying embarrassing things, he gets accused of deceptive editing and dismissed on that basis. Even when it isn’t the case.

  44. The fact that none of the Congressmen said that and he could only get them to read the statement is all you need to see.

    Why did they read the statement? Who in their right mind reads something like that out while being recording? Aren’t these all supposed to be experienced, intelligent politicians? The alternative to them believing it is that they’ll all incredibly stupid.

    And if you think I’m being overly-strict here, I’ll just say that every time James O’Keefe releases a video of Planned Parenthood or the DNC or someone else’s employees saying embarrassing things, he gets accused of deceptive editing and dismissed on that basis. Even when it isn’t the case.

    And you don’t think it should be dismissed?

  45. Why did they read the statement?

    Watch the video. Walsh explained it. Cohen’s people used a great tactic: they gave stuff and left the subjects in a situation where they felt they had to give back. It’s sort of like how timeshare presentations work when they offer a free gift just to listen to them talk.

    There’s a whole thing about how the Hare Krishnas figured out that they were more likely to get donations just by giving out flowers. People do that when they feel obligated. I’m trying to remember where in the hell I read it. I’ll cite it when I figure out.

    Point is: Cohen is extremely good at his job.

    And you don’t think it should be dismissed?

    I’ll say that O’Keefe has had some successes and lots of failures with his tactics.

  46. Ah ha! The Hare Krishna thing was explained in “Influence” by Cialdini. The technique is called reciprocation. Yes, it works even on intelligent people.

  47. Multiple experienced professional politicians who have relied on being extremely careful about what they say and do their whole careers happily reading out crazy incendiary shit in front of a camera (to help out some randoms who they’ve never met before) is akin to a person in the street giving $2 to someone who hands them a flower?
    FFS.

    I’ll say that O’Keefe has had some successes and lots of failures with his tactics.

    Do you think it should be dismissed?

  48. Is this why the same politicians work so hard for the gun lobby? Reciprocation for the financing? They just can’t help it?

  49. U.S. officials allege that Butina, while attending a university in Washington, worked from 2015 until at least February 2017 as a Kremlin agent under the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government and Russian central bank, according to an FBI affidavit in support of the complaint. Although the complaint does not name him, it appears to refer to Alexander Torshin, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin and longtime supporter of the National Rifle Association who reportedly also has ties to Russian security services and organized crime figures.

    Authorities have been investigating whether Butina and Torshin, both gun enthusiasts who attended NRA events together, were part of a plot to funnel Russian money through the NRA to the Trump campaign, perhaps through NRA entities that were not required to disclose their funding sources.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/16/russian-agent-conspiracy-guns-724470

    I.e. for reciprocation.

  50. As for Palin:

    “He thinks this kind of stuff is funny, and mocking the disabled and mocking and belittling our vets with his betrayal — in my book — is not funny,” Palin said.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/396848-palin-i-took-off-my-mic-and-walked-out-when-i-realized-sacha

    Trump mocked the disabled and belittled vets by saying he likes people who weren’t captured (i.e. you can’t be a war hero if you’re captured). So in reality she doesn’t give two shits about mocking or betraying either.

    Rich, your take relies entirely on Palin’s portrayal of events being accurate. Palin claims she was told it was a “legit opportunity to honor American Vets”. We have no idea whether that was actually the case, beyond her saying so. Cohen and now Showtime have she was not told that he was a disabled vet, and he did not have a uniform or medals or anything else on to indicate he was a military vet (i.e. presumably he was wearing the same thing and in the same chair etc as in the first episode with Sanders).

  51. Just watched the intro – I’m not 100% he’s hitting the mark. It’s probably because he’s too famous now, so has to try really hard.

    Uh, no the way it was set up matters. If you’re trying to get them to say that they want to arm 4 year olds and the only way you can do it is by asking them to read a script after bestowing them with special treatment, it’s pretty safe to say that they don’t want to arm 4 year olds or Cohen would’ve just been able to ask, “Hey, do you want to give AR-15’s to kindergartners?”

    I disagree a little. The point I think he’s trying to make (and this is where he’s really a disciple of Chris Morris and Armando Ianucci) is that when you have someone with a view so profoundly held that they can’t be rational about it, then they can be used to agree to anything. Even agreeing to reading out something ridiculous because it’s advocated by someone on ‘their side’. The point he’s trying to make isn’t about Gun Control, it’s about politicians being full of shit and willing to say anything whether they believe it or not.

    It’s absolutely what the Brass Eye special was about

  52. Multiple experienced professional politicians who have relied on being extremely careful about what they say and do their whole careers happily reading out crazy incendiary shit in front of a camera (to help out some randoms who they’ve never met before) is akin to a person in the street giving $2 to someone who hands them a flower?

    Yes, it is from a cultural and psychological viewpoint. Again, giving somebody “free” shit is a great way to convince them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

    Is this why the same politicians work so hard for the gun lobby? Reciprocation for the financing? They just can’t help it?

    I think it’s true of all lobbyists and politicians. Sort of like how Ukrainian lobbyists are able to engineer a new cold war between the US and Russia even though there isn’t any conceivable good reason why the US needs one. Or like how Bill Browder might have helpfully funneled $400 million to the Clinton campaign to help with that purpose. Or the entire State Department/Clinton Foundation nexus when Hillary worked for the Obama Administration.

  53. The point I think he’s trying to make (and this is where he’s really a disciple of Chris Morris and Armando Ianucci) is that when you have someone with a view so profoundly held that they can’t be rational about it, then they can be used to agree to anything.

    Sure, he can make that point and I’m sure a lot of people will look at it and say “Ha! Republicans would arm 4 year olds!” and share it the video on Facebook. All I see is that Cohen sweet talked them into reading something. Doesn’t mean I don’t think it was clever, but if you’ve ever wondered how people get conned into buying timeshares, this is a pretty useful explanation of how it happens.

    The big takeaway from this is that when somebody gives you something for free, you don’t owe them anything. Walk away.

    The point he’s trying to make isn’t about Gun Control, it’s about politicians being full of shit and willing to say anything whether they believe it or not.

    Was that ever in dispute though?

  54. All you left-wing critics think you’re too smart to be duped, but Cohen did dupe leftists such as Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean and Ted Koppel, according to the video. So, being a left-wing super-genius doesn’t make you immune to being duped, and none of you arm-chair critics would have fared any better if the ruse was elaborate enough.

    Walsh was flown to DC, picked up in a limo and taken to a hotel, then limoed to a TV studio where he was presented an “award”. All that shit costs money, and lends an air of credibility to the whole thing. Even you super-genius critics would have been duped, whether you care to admit it or not.

  55. Lurking, at no point t did anyone claim that – but it is a lovely strawman. Did it make you feel clever and like you ‘owned the libs’?

    Was that ever in dispute though?

    Nope – but just because it’s an old joke, doesn’t mean it’s not worth reiterating that your elected representatives can be persuaded to support a position by the dangling of a shiny object. For the price of a limo, a hotel room and an ‘award’, you can get a congressman to agree to something stupid.

    The joke isn’t that it’s an elaborate scam – it’s that it’s a really really cheap one.

  56. You can tell it;’s funny because of the long thread in the comments explaining the joke 😉

  57. Or like how Bill Browder might have helpfully funneled $400 million to the Clinton campaign to help with that purpose.

    Did you get that directly from Putin?
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/jul/16/vladimir-putin/putins-pants-fire-claim-about-400-million-donation/

    All you left-wing critics think you’re too smart to be duped, but Cohen did dupe leftists such as Bernie Sanders

    Did you watch the first episode? Sanders clearly just thought the guy was a loon.

  58. Reminds me a lot of Titan Maximum too.

    I’ll have to watch a few of these. It looks like some of the same writers for both.

    I see the little foreign troll is very active. Something rattled the guy. I wonder what 🙂

  59. I’ve been away at the 2018 International Foreign Troll Conference.

    I laughed surprisingly heartily at that. Had a visual of a bunch of guys walking around with their convention swag bags, ID badges hanging around their necks. They’d be changing the signs around outside of classrooms to cause confusion and calling each other “fucktards”.

  60. I’ve been away at the 2018 International Foreign Troll Conference.

    First sincere thing you’ve said in the thread.

  61. Sorry, correction: Obviously I meant I’ve not been away at the 2018 International Foreign Troll Conference.

  62. First sincere thing you’ve said in the thread.

    Probably better to save that for when it’s true (it is sometimes true).
    Of course we also know that objecting to trolling is purely based on which side they are on, given your leader is the King of Trolls.
    And I was totally being sincere when I reversed my position on whether I actually went to the conference. Couldn’t you tell (it was obvious)?

  63. Did it make you feel clever and like you ‘owned the libs’?

    Is that what I was supposed to feel?

    For the record, your entire response was a straw man.

    Did you watch the first episode? Sanders clearly just thought the guy was a loon.

    One down, two to go.

    Otherwise, my point stands, no matter how “irrelevant” it is.

  64. your elected representatives can be persuaded to support a position by the dangling of a shiny object

    Human Condition. What makes you think politicians are supposed to be immune? What makes you think you are immune?

  65. This guy was at least sharper than our average member of Congress. Not that it’s a high bar.

    http://www.foxla.com/news/local-news/exclusive-riverside-gun-store-confronts-sacha-baron-cohen-after-he-comes-to-business-in-disguise

    “He comes in, off the bat you can see in the video I’m looking like, this guy does not look like a Hungarian immigrant, tight ass leather pants, a beard, it just didn’t fit,” Sweidan said. “The moment his words came out of his mouth I was like this guy is full of s***.”

    Sweidan told FOX 11 Cohen said he wanted to buy a gun, but said it with a very odd sounding accent he didn’t find credible.

    “I’m looking at the producer and I’m just like am I being fooled right here?” Sweidan said. “And I just kept looking at the guy and I was like you’re Borat, as soon as I said that his eyes just looked at me like, and he did a turn right out the door.”

  66. What makes you think politicians are supposed to be immune? What makes you think you are immune?

    Hillary’s campaign chairman and some DNC officials fell for a Russian phishing scam. Nobody has a monopoly on susceptibility to being conned.

    But that’s not the point. Cohen was out to prove that the GOP is too accommodating to the gun lobby, not to prove that Republicans are idiots. I don’t personally think his experiment is a success for the first part.

  67. Let us just say that I am “triggered” by insufferable left-wing condescension. All of which is totally unwarranted and unjustifiable.

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