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February 23, 2007

Collegiality And Patience (And A Few Laughs)

Posted in: BushCo,CIA Leak Case,Media,Random Wingnuttery,Valerie Plame

daumier_3lawyers.jpg

(This is one of my favorite prints of Honore Daumier, this one of three lawyers talking.)

Waiting for the jury to come back is incredibly difficult.  It is even more so when it is for a case that you have just finished trying.  So, in the interest of maintaining a level of collegiality and patience among all of us — the folks writing on the site, the folks commenting on the site, the folks reading but not commenting but hitting refresh along with the rest of us…for all of our sakes, frankly…I offer the following bits of humor from around the blogs.

Kung Fu Monkey's deconstruction of the "comedy" show on Fox is laugh out loud funny in parts — but it is also straight to the point on what is, and is not, humorous.  And what is or is not quality comedy writing.  (Hint:  the rip-off of The Daily Show that Fox is peddling?  It falls into the "not" category.)

More revealing is the idea of using "talking points" in a comedy show. This is obviously someone who's never worked a real comedy writer's room. For topical runs, you start with "okay, what happened today," and you look at everything. Everything. This is because comedy has maybe a 10% success rate on the pitch, and that's just for joke-like objects, never mind actual functioning funny jokes. To fill a show with a couple dozen funny jokes, you don't have the time or luxury to stick to talking points. You need to find the funny. Unless you're not worrying about funny — in which case, you get the 1/2 Hour News Hour.

On a deeper level, this is about how you cannot make humor, you find humor. And you find humor in truth. As Tyrone pointed out to me later in the conversation, often Stewart does nothing but play the tape of a politician's actual words, and then do a reaction. A joke only works — although every comic has a theory on this — if there's some underlying bit of truth to it. Either truth unrecognized before now, eliciting surprised laughter in response, or recognized and appreciated, the so-called "sympathy laugh." (see Simpson, Homer: "It's funny because it's true!" which in context is damn near a three-level meta-joke.) This is why jokes about Bush not being bright work — because we've all heard him speak, and he does not come across as a bright man. This is why jokes about Bill Clinton being a horndog work — because Billy-boy's a horndog. You could not do a joke about Bush being, say, an adulterer, even if that were your "talking point." It just wouldn't work, because it doesn't ring true.

And no matter what anyone says, there is absolutely no way at all whatsoever to make the thought of Rush Limbaugh as President remotely funny. In any context. Period.

Wolcott eviscerates Brit Hume and the Pod in one fell swoop.  (Some day, if I am a very, very good girl, I will have a Wolcott-esque sentence in a post.  And I will die happy.)

Digby sends birthday greetings from a President named George.  (Oooh!  Snap!)

TBogg.  The man is a god of snark.  That's all I'm saying.

Watertiger is too funny.  (And don't miss this one either.)

– And Patrick has some hilarious thoughts on the people who bring you the rewriting of history for their own political purposes. 

So, what is catching your eye today as we all sit around and wait for the jury to come back with a verdict?  Anything amusing?  If so, please link it up in the comments.  I could use a good laugh today. 


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