Behold, An American Carol:
Now, as a Cracked blogger, and someone whom you clearly look to for political and moral cues, I've consistently held myself to the high standards of the objective journalist, with only occasional lapses (see "Why Florida Can Suck a Dick," "Fuck Orson Scott Card," and many others).
I can't tell you how many times a week I delete the word "douche-ass" from an article to replace it with the more neutral and objective "ass cleansing bulb." At least fourteen. Frankly, I dont even know anymore; I just run a replace all. As you can tell, months of blogging have left me an angry man with a dwindling vocabulary.
And that is why Im absolutely fucking ecstatic to find out that after years of The Daily Show and Colbert Report dominating the field of political satire like white knights taking on a drunk peewee soccer team, right wing satirists are at last stepping up to the plate and taking aim at the many Democrats running rampant in the Republican White House and
Republican-controlled Senate I suck. ITS ABOUT TIME.
Conservative satire has had a shaky history, primarily because a Republican telling you a joke is almost exactly like your uncle telling you a joke at Thanksgiving when youre eight: hes only doing it to humor you, and hes probably just cleaning up something from a Playboy cartoon.
When your image is that of a stolid, responsible, distant father figure, its damn hard to smoothly transition into the world of clowning. Which explains not only the lack of right wing humor in mainstream media, but also my awkward, painful relationship with my own father and his failed party clown business.
As one of the earliest examples, take the Half Hour News Hour. I know, a lot of the stuff Bill OReilly says seem like jokes, but after watching a bunch of Youtube clips of him screaming, Im prepared to put forward the theory that he actually believes in what hes saying.
The Half Hour News Hour, however, Fox News Networks aborted attempt at a Daily Show-type show for conservatives, just exudes that kind of creepy anti-humor Im talking about.
In the below clip, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are depicted as the President and Vice President of the United States. This brilliant sketch premise is then spun into a laundry list of great things they have done during their term. Is the joke that these things would never happen? If that's the case, then you're insulting them. Or do you think this IS what would happen? If that's the case, there's no joke. Just...a thing. Then they wrap it up with Ann Coulter parodying herself in an unflattering manner.
Sorry guys, but you kind of went off the tracks there at the end. Youre supposed to be the anti-Daily Show. And to do so, you made a joke about Ann Coulter being a batshit loony, bloodthirsty bitch? Im pretty sure thats exactly what The Daily Show does most of the time.
Thankfully, the GOP swallowed their pro-life pride and jammed a rusty coat hanger into the womb of Fox News, quickly obliterating the Half Hour News Hour and almost all mention of it in popular culture.
But now, with An American Carol, the conservatives finally have a chance to turn their image as humorless bankers around. First of all, its a big budget movie lampooning Michael Moore, probably the strongest choice for targets they could have made. Im super liberal, and I find Michael Moore pretty damn irritating. Hes also fat, which is funny in and of itself (unless youre Rush Limbaugh).
But still, youre making some rookie mistakes, and I hate fighting an unarmed opponent. It occurred to me that some constructive criticism from a magnanimous comedy pro could help you launch Republican humor to the level of a Click or Disaster Movie. And since Dennis Miller isnt available, Ill just have to do.
So lets go through that trailer again, and Im going to point out places where you did things that, frankly, I cant believe. Moments when you made such poor choices that my gut response was to shout Liar! You LIE! at my computer screen. Which, by the way, totally ruined my cred at the library.
All right, here goes:
Comedy is all about subtlety. Maybe youre still amped up from Roves reign of blatant attack ads, or maybe you totally missed the point of my Wednesday post, but no ones going to laugh at a guy pointing to a stupid guy and saying this guys stupid in a deep voice. Or, I mean, maybe they would, but not for two hours. I hope.
Didnt any of your English teachers hammer Show, Dont Tell into your heads? If you want to show the audience that Michael Moore is totally clueless, rather than calling him totally clueless, how about depicting him standing in front of a movie poster for the movie Clueless? Or perhaps misplacing his game of Clue? Or going to the Pope's funeral and taking a massive shit all over the floor? Believe it or not, all of those things are still technically more subtle and crafty than some of the lines in this trailer.
And in case you want to say its just a by-product of the trailers distilled format, Id like to point you in the direction of this clip, where a liberal poll taker laundry lists a series of Republican talking points so panderingly that I was waiting for her to turn to camera and say Im such a dick!
You want people to see the Republicans in the movie as voices of reason, not condescending, ham-fisted cynics rolling their eyes at our stupidity while they spoon feed us catchphrases from Hannitys dream journal.
Gary Coleman. Funny in Diffrent Strokes, kind of funny ten years later, no longer funny. Not only has his cachet as a public figure been used up; using him just seems like youre a creepy old guy trying to get in with the kids.
In fact, now that I think about itDavid Zucker, Leslie Neilson, David Allen Grierthis would have been an all star cast in 1987! So youre doing something right, just two decades late. If you want to get in with todays kids, youre going to need to update some of the cast and references.
This is based on A Christmas Carol, right? Maybe Seth McFarlane could voice the ghost of Marley, and General Patton could be Patton Oswalt, smoking weed and grinding on a skateboard. If you really want some credibility with the youth, put some of the muppets in the background of a scene, maybe chatting with Perez Hilton or logging onto BoingBoing.
Kevin Farley? As in, Chris Farleys brother? Youre practically declaring your movie a rental. Only straight-to-DVD teen comedies and desperate money grabs feature the siblings of deceased stars as their lead. My advice would be to CG him out and replace him with someone more relevant, like a Robin Williams or Don Cheadle.
I know this is a Zucker comedy, but the fake sound of someone getting hit over and over stopped being funny after Bob Terwilliger and a rake perfected the art. Try to branch out into some of the other well-plowed areas of comedy, like fart sounds, penis references, and someone accidentally eating or rubbing themselves with semen.
Here, you have a country singer perform a song about America being the greatest country in the world while pyrotechnics explode behind him and thenthats it. Its the only scene in the trailer that doesnt have a joke in it. I have taken that to mean that you think this is a good idea, or somehow not deserving of mockery. Well done. I couldnt agree more. This is the highlight of the trailer.
JAMES WOODS?! WHAT THE FUCK?! WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO HIM YOU BASTARDS?! WHY JAMES, WHY?!
So welcome, conservatives, to the big leagues of comedy. Though today you make fumbling, toddler-like steps in the general direction of a joke, tomorrow you may very well produce satire so cutting, so incisive, that it will convince conservatives to vote conservatively.
Now if youll excuse me, I have to go watch Stephen Colbert sleep through a Neil Peart solo and thereby open the Mexican border.