John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

Authors
By
Published
Comments
Comments 0

Robin Williams Criticized the Iraq War, and the Troops Loved It

By:
Robin Williams Criticized the Iraq War, and the Troops Loved It

Like standup comedy where every single thing is funny and doesn't waste your time? Follow Cracked Comedy Club on Instagram and YouTube for exactly that.

After comedian Robin Williams passed away in 2014, the USO expressed public thanks “for all he did for the men and women of our armed forces.” Williams was a regular on the USO tour, visiting 13 countries and entertaining an estimated 90,000 troops. But while the military was grateful for the comic’s commitment to those serving their country, Williams wasn’t out there spouting pro-administration propaganda. In fact, he could be downright critical of those in charge.

“Back when the Hummers still hadn’t been sufficiently armored yet, I said they should strap Dick Cheney to the front of a Humvee like that character Lord Humungus in Road Warrior,” Williams told Paul Provenza in his book, Satiristas: Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs and Vulgarians. “Strap him right to the front: Now they’re sufficiently armored!”

It’s hard to imagine the Pentagon endorsing that brand of comedy, but “the troops were pretty into that kind of thing,” Williams said. Here’s another example. At one point, Donald Rumsfeld pooh-poohed the idea that military troops didn’t have the equipment and armor they needed. “You fight a war with what you’ve got,” he said.

Williams’ jokey response: “Yeah, but 11th-century Norman armor?”

The troops “loved that stuff,” Williams said. “Ripping on Bush was an easy shot too — because they fucking knew how insane Bush was.”

Provenza noted that kind of comedy wouldn’t have gone over in comedy clubs during the Gulf War since anti-Bush humor was seen as not supporting the troops. The irony: Nobody loved those kinds of jokes more than the soldiers themselves. “The troops realize more than anyone the insanity of what the fuck they’ve been put into,” Williams explained. “You talk to those guys, they’ll tell you that questioning the government is not being unpatriotic, it’s the ultimate patriotism!”

Especially around political matters, Williams was a staunch advocate for truth-telling, knowing the dangers involved in silence. “True story,” he said. “In Germany, I was on this very dry German talk show with a woman hosting it, and at one point she said, ‘Vy do you zink zere’s not so much comedy in Germany? Ve have some but not a lot.’”

“And I said, ‘Did you ever think it’s because you tried to kill all the funny people?’”

“And here’s the frightening part: She took a moment and then went, ‘No.’”

“I thought, ‘Oh fuck. There it is. That’s it right there.’”

That’s why Williams refused to sanitize his comedy for the troops — and why the soldiers loved him for it. “I don’t know what changes this culture or what it takes to get people motivated,” Williams said. “But we have to keep on talking, saying all the shit they don’t want anyone to hear. Because we can.”

“Keep on talking” was Williams’ mantra. “Talk about it in every way you know possible,” he said. “And then occasionally throw in a good dick joke.”

Tags

Scroll down for the next article

MUST READ

John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

Authors
By
Published
Comments
Comments 0
Forgot Password?