And now to hurt the ones I love. Sorry, Comic Ruths, but you're the ones who wrote this crap. You had it coming.
Lazy hack comedy, sadly, has its audience. Men and women being different, hospital food sucking, fat people fatting, cats doing anything, een sawveeyet Rahshah, and shit yelled through a bullhorn will never not be yuk-yuk nirvana for comedy fans who hear "two-drink minimum" and interpret it as "all-drink maximum."
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"The other side? The chicken went to the other side? Stop, stop, can't breathe, you're killin' me!"
That's why, when a comic actually pushes the envelope with smart, thought-out, witty, edgy, progressive material, I both drop to my knees in appreciation and curse them out for writing those awesome jokes before I could. The problem with comedians who embody everything I just wrote and am too lazy to copy-paste is that when they fuck up and write ignorant, sub-intellectual humor, they actually look dumber than the people who write that swill full-time. If Babe Ruth swings at a batting tee, misses the ball, slips on dirt, and lands on his ass, that's way worse than when a scrawny, unathletic toddler does it.
Tom Sande / Associated Press
Blame half his misses on his habit of using three bats at once. Very clumsy.
And now to hurt the ones I love. Sorry, Comic Ruths, but you're the ones who wrote this crap. You had it coming.
Aside from his misguided belief that Jason is a stupid name, George Carlin wasn't really wrong about much. His opinions were extremely inflammatory, and certainly not everyone agreed with them, but there was usually something -- observable logic, verifiable facts, educated theories -- backing up his naughty words and fart jokes. He never just pulled a shitty argument out of his ass for the sake of having material.
Well, except for that one time. That time George Carlin -- one of the most educated and thoughtful comedians of any generation -- took total misinformation, claimed it as his own, somehow blended it with a misinterpretation of the misinformation, and created probably the dumbest bit of his career. Yes, even dumber than when he took what felt like 700 years to wax romantic about peas.
One of Carlin's favorite activities was to pick on clumsy, politically correct euphemisms. His 1997 book Brain Droppings pissed all over the term "Native American," calling it a "pussified, trendy, bullshit phrase." On the other hand, he felt "Indian" was a perfectly acceptable and honorable name for people, even though they were only called that because some dumbass white dude thought he was in India. But according to Carlin, that wasn't the proper origin story at all! He claimed that "Indian" actually derived from a glowing tribute entry in Christopher Columbus' diary where he called the natives "una gente in Dios," Spanish/Italian for "a people in God." See, they weren't dead race walking -- they were holy men!
If that wasn't enough, Carlin wrote that "India" wasn't even a thing back in 1492, as the area in question was known as Hindustan. So not only is Columbus suddenly not a genocidal racist, he's also a genius navigator who didn't just pratfall his way onto a landmass he knew squat about.
Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
"I knew I should've taken a left toin at Poitugal."
Unfortunately for Georgie Porgie, his defense falls apart once you realize that it's total bullshit. "Una gente in Dios" doesn't appear in any of Columbus' writings (but "Indians" does), and isn't even how to say "a people in God" according to my favorite foreign language professor.
Google and Mxy
I turn off SafeSearch whenever I'm hot for teacher.
Worse, it appears that Carlin lifted this idea -- without accreditation -- from a 1980 speech by Russell Means, a radical Lakota who claimed Columbus called the natives "indio," which is legit Italian for "in God." Where Means got this bullshit idea, nobody knows, though I'd bet at least a nickel he simply made it up to troll white people as part of his 5000-word "fuck white people" speech.
Though that death stare of his was all the "fuck you" he ever needed.
But it's almost like Carlin knew what he had pilfered wasn't correct (or his), so he doubled down on Means' "indios" claim, inventing "una gente" from whole cloth and drafting a goofy story about how Columbus -- an Italian who was only fluent in his own language -- wrote in broken Spanish to communicate with the King and Queen of Spain. It's pure bullshit to make his routine seem slightly more plausible (and slightly more his).
Oh, and about Hindustan: this too came from Means, who boldly challenged anybody to look at Old World maps and see that "India" was not a thing back then. So I did:
That sure is a lot of "India" and "Indian." And that sure is not a lot of Hindustan. Because Hindustan was never the name of that country or that ocean. It's a popular term for the general area, but it's never been an official name. India and its derivations always existed, and that is what Columbus was referring to.
On the plus side, a house is absolutely a good place for your stuff. George nailed that one, all by himself.
Louis C.K. is clearly intelligent and aware of the world, since his observations about life, the universe, and everything aren't limited to "men leave the toilet seat up." Something I keep forgetting to do, by the way.
I'm bad at manning.
Plus, he has two children, both of whom came from the loins of a lady he personally seeded. So he almost certainly knows how vaginas work -- or so you'd think. Because apparently he slept through that one anatomy class and never bothered asking anybody for the notes.
C.K. kicked off his 2008 stand-up show Chewed Up with several minutes about something that gets chewed up a lot -- vaginas. According to him, even though he enjoys saying the word "cunt," he doesn't like using it to describe a vagina. Good for him? You go, girl? Nope, not really. Actually, not at all. Because to him, the word "cunt" is strong and harsh, where an actual vagina is ... adorable. "Vaginas are so sweet. They're little pretty things, with little flower petal-y lips." That's a view of ladyparts so ignorant, a 100-year-old monk born and raised in the monastery that he never left, not even to hit the corner store and get milk to pour over his Halo Nut Cheerios, would look at him and say, "Really, guy? Really."
Jose antonio Sanchez reyes/Hemera/Getty Images
"God in the Flesh came out of one of those things, so don't tell me they're delicate."
He continues on with the most inaccurate description of anything since Mama Wilkes Booth described her son as "quirky," by claiming he hears a gentle little piccolo in his head whenever he sees a vagina, as opposed to the mass of fucking lambeg drums that would realistically accompany an organ capable of passing ten pounds of wriggling flesh in under a workday.
Louis then proposes we stop calling vaginas "vaginas," because even that's too tough a word for such a delicate instrument of princessy innocence. His pitch: call it a "falalalalalalala" because if a vagina had legs, its two lips would spend all day skipping and frolicking through the tulips. He also feels there should be a beautiful butterfly fluttering around every vagina like in a damn fairy tale, though good luck convincing the powerful Butterfly Union to include that in their next contract.
Nicholas Cope/Photodisc/Getty Images
"Fifty vaginas per year max, with paid leave and sick time should you assign us to an unwashed one. That's our final offer."
But besides being totally inaccurate, why else is Louis dead wrong? After all, calling something "pretty" and "sweet" is normally a compliment, right? Well, as pointed out by fellow Cracked writer and non-fellow vagina owner Amanda Mannen, it's patronizing as fuck. It's a dude headcanoning something he doesn't own and re-imagining it as an instrument of pure happiness and pleasure. Namely, his happiness and pleasure. It's the old "pussy on a pedestal" way of thinking. They don't go there. They go wherever their owner wants them to go.
Louis at least nails it that the vagina needs a new name. But it should be one that truly describes its power and what it can do. At the risk of not attracting any butterflies, may I suggest "the Iron Box?"
The next time you want to tear your grandmother a new asshole for continually sharing phony tripe from Empire News on her Twitbook wall, stay optimistic: she might just turn that into a legendary stand-up career. And you can thank legendary topical rant master Lewis Black for setting the precedent.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
This is how he says "you're welcome."
His 2000 album -- called The White Album, because his name is Black and black is the opposite of white, making it funny and shut up you don't know him -- has a routine called "Other Idiots in Arkansas." It was penned in reaction to Bill Clinton's general billclintonness, and concluded that Clinton sucks at keeping his suckjobs private because he's from Arkansas and therefore dumb as snot. It's in his, and his fellow Arkansans', inbred blood.
Great -- hick jokes. If he had just stuck to mocking Clinton, the shady millionaire politician, then everything would've been super happy fun. But he didn't, and instead decided to throw random nobodies under the bus, so I'm forced to frowny face.
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows / everything that's wonderful is what I feel.
But simply punching down for no good reason wasn't enough for Grumpy Jeff Foxworthy. In order to truly illustrate that Arkansas is moron central and shouldn't give us a president for "a hundred years," Black whipped out local news stories about Arkansans damn near derping themselves to death. Because nobody does anything dumb anywhere else.
He starts with the tale of two men whose truck's headlight fuse burnt out during a frog-gigging trip. They decided, since they evidently had chewing tobacco for brains, that sticking a live bullet in the fuse hole would make for a fine replacement. This, obviously, failed miserably -- after the truck heated up, the bullet exploded out of the hole and lodged itself into the driver's testicles. The truck crashed, since even the world's greatest driver would start flailing with lead coursing through their sack, and his passenger (named Billy Ray, because of course he was) suffered a broken clavicle.
But it gets even Arkansasier, as once the driver's wife learned what happened, she had but two questions: did they catch any frogs, and if so, did anybody collect them from the truck?
But it turns out that Black's the real donkey here, as the anecdote's complete baloney. It's just a silly urban legend that's been passed around since at least 1996 -- two years before Black recorded his routine. Literally the only part that's real -- aside from frogs, bullets, and balls existing -- is the newspaper that supposedly broke the news. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette actually had to run a real story refuting the fake story because people wouldn't stop bothering them about the fake story. So the truth was out there, not that Black never looked for it. After all, he had redneck jokes to crack.
What makes Lew's faux-pas even more bizarre is that his second tale of Arkansas stupidity -- because remember, stupidity exists nowhere else but Arkansas -- is 100 percent real. A guy needed to check for water in his gasoline can and, since it was dark out, he used a cigarette lighter as a handy visual aid. The ensuing explosion burnt down a nearby mobile home, sending a woman to the hospital and a dog to Heaven.
Tammy Mcallister/Hemera/Getty Images
At least until God decided he wanted a happy ending after all.
This happened in July 1999 -- less than four months before Black recorded the album. So he was actively searching for Darwin Award nominees to pepper his rant about random, only-sometimes-actual-factual stupid people from the only state so dumb it should never produce a president ever again. Actively double-checking the stories though? That's just too much work.
Amazingly, some people still see Weird Al as a mere goofball novelty singer, because they're idiots. Al's a legitimate musical and comedic genius, capable of playing in any style and making an intelligent and subversive mockery of virtually anyone -- except for Latinos, apparently. Because then, his intelligent and subversive message becomes "teehee, your culture's funny."
Al's 1992 album Off the Deep End features a takeoff of Gerardo's "Rico Suave," because when Weird Al parodies your song, you know you've made it as an artist. Yankovic's version is called "Taco Grande," and you'll never in a million billion years guess what it's about. On the surface, it's whatever -- Al's written about food more than Anthony Bourdain, so what's another ode to pre-poop? But where "Fat" took a song by a really skinny dude and turned it into an ode to girth, "Taco Grande" took a song by a Latino and turned it into four minutes of a Latino guy who worships Qdoba.
Our hero loves tacos, burritos, enchiladas, guacamole, refried beans and rice, and ... that's it. He appears to have no hobbies outside of eating: "I love to stuff my face with tacos al carbon, with my friends or when I'm all alone." Why do I have a feeling he's alone a lot?
"This is all the love I will ever need."
I'd cite more lyrics, but I don't really need to: it's seriously nothing but stereotypical food. Shit, at least the "Fat" guy did things other than eat. He got his shoes shined, he went to the movies, he chilled at the beach -- he lived his life and remembered to heavily breathe. Taco Man? The only reason he's not mariachi hat dancing like a good little Slowpoke Rodriguez is because he's too busy wrapping everything on the table in a flour tortilla and shoveling that oversized tube down his throat like a reverse impalement.
Also known as the Vlad Diet.
Like "Rico," the whole song is rapped in Spanglish. Unlike "Rico," it includes a cameo by Cheech Marin, that bastion of Hispanic progressiveness. Al planned for Marin to yak in Spanish, except it turned out he can't speak it. This is what happens when you make assumptions. So instead of replacing him with one of the few actual Spanish-speaking musicians out there, Al simply had his secretary translate some English words into Spanish and had Marin rap them phonetically. Eh, Hispanic dude, Spanish-esque words -- close enough. As long as you bang "gringo estupido tonto," everybody's happy. Especially the owner of Taco Bell.
And now, back to disrespecting the dead -- in this case, countercultural visionary and mushroom enthusiast Bill Hicks, a beloved comic genius who stained his career skivvies by bafflingly embracing Friendzone imprisonment, one of the worst possible brain farts this side of "I think I'll bake a baby."
Hicks despised anything he felt inhibited human progress, meaning he hated 99 percent of things (except smoking, but that was more a murderous addiction than a spiritual belief). But most of all, he hated stupid, loud, macho men, both for destroying the planet with their alpha male shit and for ... fucking all the women? Apparently, yeah. Hicks, more than once, riffed about how he -- a good, smart, respectful person who wouldn't hurt anyone except maybe Billy Ray Cyrus -- hasn't gotten laid in forever, but every grr grunt punch caveman on the planet rolls in ladies every night.
This was no more evident than during Hick's second album, Relentless. Hicks, who also dabbled in music, recorded a ditty called "Chicks Dig Jerks." It's exactly what the title suggests -- he spends five minutes whining about being stuck in the Friendzone. I'm not exaggerating in the least:
Oh, Hitler had Eva Braun
Manson had Squeaky Fromme
Ted Bundy got lots of dates
I wonder what I'm doing wrong.
If Hicks hadn't croaked in 1994, an aneurysm would've got him in 2014 after seeing Manson win over a lovely 20-something while being so life-imprisoned they'll probably leave his corpse in the cell until the year 2525 just to teach it a lesson.
Sure, he came home drunk each night
Beat the kids and her in a fight
But, man, she loves him so
It's so hard to let him go.
In Bill's world, there are two types of men: decent dudes, and the scum of the fucking Universe. No in-betweenies. Bill is, reluctantly, in Group 1 -- sentenced to a world without love and a bed without ladyparts because he's too darn nice.
Well, I'm sure there's some out there who can relate,
Particularly young men without a date
See some jerk, some fine, fine babe
Go driving away, aww.
Maybe don't call a strange woman "babe"? That might help your hoochie-coochie cause. And how do you know that guy's a jerk? Is he actively hitting her or screaming at her? Because if so, calling 911 is probably a nicer route to take than throwing up your arms and going "aww". But who am I kidding? He probably just looks like a jerk, AKA Not You.
And then, the real Friendzone bullshit begins, with some strawwoman uttering lines like "You're so sweet / can't we just be friends? / I think of you as a brother." Yep, a brother who's gone on record as saying "Hitler had the right idea, he was just an underachiever." Wonder if that played a role in your dry spell any.
This just gets more and more embarrassing as time drags on:
What do I have to offer you, baby?
Poetry and true love.
That's not enough, I know for sure
You need someone to throw you through the door.
You don't need me to say why "true love" isn't enough to attract a woman -- roughly 97 trajillion gillion frazillion and three bloggers have already done that. I will say, however, that if you're offering true love to just about any woman willing to give you a shot, it's probably not true and will, in fact, die horribly after the first argument.
"You only half-filled the dish strainer with clean dishes, I DO NOT KNOW YOU ANYMORE."
Also, if you need filler lines like "I know for sure" to flesh out your poetry, your poetry sucks. Just throwing that out there.
How does this handwringer of a tale end? By Hicks becoming a jerk, naturally. It'll get him all the babes:
Tired of being a good guy, such a lonely life.
I'm gonna be a jerk, I'm gonna step on lots of toes.
Girls gonna go crazy for that kind of guy.
I'm a jerk ... and it's working out.
Welcome to Group 2, Bill! As you said in a routine that actually solidified your genius, life is "just a ride." And apparently, that ride's a lot more fun while beating the shit out of whoever's riding your dick.
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
It's easy to work the system and win these awards even if you don't deserve them.