Some of my notes from my night watching Glenn Beck's comedy show were easy to decipher ("Glenn Beck just said 'The National Endowment for the Arts pisses me off' and everyone clapped") but I also jotted down some slightly more passionate, yet less discernible remarks:
I'm not sure exactly what prompted that. Maybe it's me having sex with Glenn Beck's mother. Maybe it's Glenn Beck having sex with Glenn Beck's mother. Anyway, there were a lot of these quick, barely legible notes. This is my attempt to construct a rational narrative out of 11 of them. #1.
OK, I got this. It was pretty clear almost instantly that I wasn't Beck's target audience for this tour. The words "New York," "East Coast" and "California" are thrown around with a wink, as if the words themselves were punchlines, even though the jokes are never quite explained. ("I was doing a show out in California." Huge laugh and applause. "I was stuck in, ahem, New York the other day." Similar reaction.) I was born and raised on that awful, out-of-touch elitist East Coast and, after two decades of reading Proust and bathing in champagne with the rest of the Northeastern Liberal Elite Mafia, I moved to Los Angeles. So, immediately, as someone who can and does call both coasts home, I'm the opposite of Glenn Beck's ideal audience twice. #2.
If you've ever seen Beck's TV show, you know that Socialism and, specifically, America's march towards Socialism is a big concern. During the live show, Glenn uses a quote from the Russian magazine, Pravda, to illustrate a point. I should point out that Pravda also boasts thought-provoking headlines like "Blonde Women Rule the World at all Times" and "Anorexic and Hairy Prostitutes All The Rage in Moscow." But on that night in Kansas City, their most important story was one that lauded America for its movements towards Socialism. He may be quoting a source that's as inherently biased and removed-from-reality as he is, but when he mentions the Russian endorsement, the mood of the theater grows dark. If my memory is serving me, that's why I wrote down "Horseshit." And then I wrote "Glenn Beck sucks" because, at that point in the show, I thought Glenn Beck sucked real hard. #3.
After he used a ridiculous Russian magazine to prove an unsubstantiated claim that was convenient to the point he was trying make, I decided that I should state for the record that Glenn Beck wants rape taught in our public schools. Not for any preventative purposes. He wants to make American children more efficient rapists. "A rapist in every classroom," Beck cried out from the stage, as he sipped on rape juice and tossed back little mini cocktail rape hot dogs. To be fair, he did go on to clarify his point, saying "Rape rape rape." It was an unexpected outburst, to be sure, but I thought I'd just, you know, put it out there. If any comedian/political talking head wants to talk about why Glenn Beck is dangerous for America, feel free to cite Cracked.com in the same way that Beck cited Pravda. #4.
Calling this a "comedy" show was a very ballsy move. I would call it an energetic history lecture, or cheap, fear-mongering propaganda, or some kind of religious evangelical movement (if Glenn Beck was a religion), but never a comedy show. Not because it wasn't funny (it wasn't), but because there just didn't seem to be any jokes. The audience certainly laughed at the non-jokes that Beck was throwing around. Sometimes he would just use words like "Congress" or "Nancy Pelosi" or "Coal fire" as "jokes" that had neither set up nor punchline. He'd say "Climate Bill" and the crowd would go wild. When he mentioned going to the New York Museum of Modern Art there was absolute pandemonium. The only conclusion I could draw was that the audience was laughing at him for being so incredibly full of shit. Like when he attacks the media for what they do to "us," despite the fact that he's kind of a big part of the media. Or when he claims to speak for the heart of America, but oddly breaks into an obnoxious and over-exaggerated Southern accent whenever he's doing his impression of a generic stupid person. Or when he claims to support the military but at one point says that kids who aren't properly educated will grow up stupid and have no choice but to enlist in the military. There was a brief moment there when I thought that Beck's audience was laughing at him for the same reasons that I find Sacha Baron Coen funny when he's acting like a retarded asshole. #5.
And then, with absolutely zero provocation, Glenn Beck made fun of Ed Asner. He called Ed Asner an elephant and the audience fucking erupted. So while I can't speak for his audience, I can say with complete and total authority: Seriously, fuck you, Glenn Beck. Ed Asner is a goddamn institution. #6.
Oh, I know exactly what this means. Fifty minutes in to this bizarre hodgepodge of non-jokes and terrifying propaganda, Glenn Beck says he needs to take a break. This being the medium of film, I expect him to come back immediately, but he doesn't. The lights in the theater go up and a "Back in 15 Minutes" title card appears on the screen. There is an honest-to-goodness 15 minute intermission. In the movie theater. Speaking technologically, we've advanced beyond this, haven’t we? One of the greatest things about movies is that we don’t have to periodically pause while the actors get changed into different costumes, it's part of the magic. It's almost as bad as the 10 minute interlude earlier where Glenn Beck lamented the lack of pro-rape teachers in kindergartens. "WHAT?!" is exactly right, Daniel from the Past, WHAT?! indeed. #7.
For the second act, Beck decided to dress in full-on colonial garb. Powdered wig and everything. He walked on stage, posed and the audience clapped and did not let up for a full three minutes. He opened the second half of his set with the words "Give me liberty or give me a jelly donut." The audience totally lost its shit. Now you're probably thinking that the costume is the "cheap visual trick" I refer to in the above note, and that the titties was just me being bored. Nope. The "titties" refer to the most infuriating moment of the show: To visually demonstrate the direction America is headed, he brings three people on stage. There's a very large, intimidating-looking dude, who represents Tyranny. On the opposite end of the stage, Beck positions an average-looking guy representing Anarchy. And then, in what has to be the most irresponsible use of titties in the history of media, Glenn Beck brings out a stunningly attractive (for a white chick) blonde with a super sweet rack, who he says represents freedom, or, as he explains with the focus and intensity of a seasoned sexual predator, "Sweet, sweet liberty." And I haven't even gotten to the worst part. In this visual diagram, Glenn himself represents America, of course. But as he stands, his sweaty, pale arms draped sloppily around Lady Liberty, far from Tyranny and a respectful four feet from Anarchy, he mentions Roosevelt and gives an unfairly watered-down depiction of turn-of-the-century Progressivism, and takes a step away from Liberty's glorious rack. And the audience boos. They boo fucking Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt fought several important battles, gave us the Panama Canal, helped conserve the Earth's forests and kept us out of war despite the fact that the son of a bitch loved war more than food. And Glenn got the audience to see him as "that guy who moved us away from the titties."
Towards Rape Town? This man must be stopped. Now, I'm no historian or anything, but I feel confident in saying that I am Cracked.com's Senior Authority on Motherfucking Presidents, and I certainly know enough to realize that, when you've got your audience booing Theodore Fucking Bullet-taking Fucking judo-mastering Fucking Bull Moose Roosevelt, then there is something profoundly wrong. Wrong with you, your audience and your bastardized perversion of history. #8.
Beck has a very clever way of being racist without actually directly saying anything racist. He's always applauding the Founding Fathers as brilliant, wonderful men who are, most importantly, Beck will stress as he leans toward the audience, "just like us." And he's right, in that the only people in his theater are old and white. I actively tried finding some non-white folks in the crowd and I was, time and time again, unsuccessful. This was seriously the whitest audience I've ever seen (and one time I went to a Weezer concert). I politely nodded to the equally white people in my theater and sat down with a little notebook so I could capture the experience. Now there's nothing wrong with being white (some of my friends are half-white), but Beck seems to see America's early years as a perfect utopia. He paints Progressivists as disrespectful, socialist upstarts with no regard for the flawless and infallible men who created our constitution. Never mind the fact that the perfect, infallible rules that the framers set forth made it impossible for anyone who wasn't a white, property-owning male to have any say in the voting process. Poor Glenn Beck misses the good old days when women couldn't vote and black people were actually black almost-people. At one point, Beck describes a terrifying panic he felt back in November. He talks about the lead-up to the election and how he kept screaming "Don't you see what's happening? Don't you see what's happening!?" until it was too late and the unthinkable occurred. He never says what the unthinkable is, just that it happened in November and it terrified him to the point of panic. But whether he's talking about a terrifying storm in November or a bleak future populated by "undocumented" (re: non-white) workers building "our cars" it seemed pretty clear to me that Glenn Beck is a scared white man who is desperately yet unsuccessfully trying to cope with the fact that the country of his beloved white founders elected a black guy. #9.
This... honestly could have happened at any point of the show. I think I have this exact thing written down about six times, so... yeah. #10.
At around 9:34, Glenn Beck talked about how important it was that everyone read as often as possible, and that Common Sense in particular was a must read. But he wasn't talking about Thomas Paine's Common Sense (which, I'd like to point out, is available for free right here). No. There's a new book, Glenn Beck's Common Sense, that Glenn had in his pocket while on stage, because he really thinks you should buy it. Actually, he doesn't think you should buy it. He thinks it is your constitutional obligation as a living, mouth-breathing human being to buy it. He makes a big point to show that he made his publishers put it out as a soft cover book, so he could sell it for the low, low price of $9.99 and standing on stage with the threat of tears in his eyes, he again reiterates how important reading (and buying) books (that he wrote) is. This is a two hour comedy show with a freaking intermission, and Glenn Beck spends 10 minutes desperately pimping his book, the proceeds of which I imagine go towards the pro-rape legislation he's been pushing for. #11.
Beck spends the entire show establishing an "Us vs. Them" vibe. "They" are brought up throughout the show- sometimes as Congress, sometimes as politicians or pedophile schoolteachers or Californians or artists. It doesn't seem to matter. They are the killjoys that move us away from FreeTITTIESdom, and They are the spooky bastards that are giving our jobs to immigrants, and They are the shady creeps that want to turn America into Socialist Russia. The point is that They are evil, and We are perfect Glenn Beck's Common Sense-buying heroes, and he's pretty forceful about encouraging Us to do something about Them. He's not clear on what we should do, just that it's aggressive and fairly violent. I spent 19 fucking dollars of Cracked.com's money to watch Glenn Beck stand center stage, teary-eyed and red-faced, shouting about how They needed to be taken down, and the audience screamed and cried and cheered along with him. But again, Glenn Beck never explicitly says who "They" are, so when the show was over, I conducted a brief interview with one of the other attendees, a gentleman in his late 40s with a giant grin. DOB: So, you enjoy the show? Guy: Absolutely I did, he knows what he's talking about, we should elect him for president. DOB: Yes. We should elect Glenn Beck for president. That is true. Yes. Quick question: When Glenn was talking about how we needed to rise up against "Them" and tell "Them" that we're not going to take it anymore, who do you think the "them" in that sentence is? Who is the "They" that we're rising up against? [Very long pause.] Guy: Well, the people- I mean, the politicians, the ones- Anyone who has taken us farther away from Freedom, from where we were before. The people who inched us away from...[It's clear that he's thinking of titties right now.]...Liberty. DOB: Got it.