Tuesday, September 11, 2007

CAN WE LAUGH AT OURSELVES?



Tonight on The David Letterman Show Dave asked the audience if anyone had bought the new Rosie O'Donnell book (Celebrity Detox). No one clapped (the book doesn't come out until October 9th).

He then went on to say that the book contained three chapters on Bush.... and one on the President.

I laughed out loud. I hope not to offend my lesbian readers but funny is funny! I like gay humor.

You know.. like the OLDIE But GOODIE:

How many gays does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two - One to screw it in and the other to say "Fabulous!"

I like humor that is pointed at a group and then exaggerates the hell out of the stereotypes associated with that group. Most humor is that way to some degree but in this age of political correctness we feel like we aren't evolved if we laugh at jokes that target a particular group, whether it be lesbians, gays, latins, blacks, jews, blondes, polish, etc, etc.

Growing up my mother's best friend was polish. She told the funniest "polack" jokes. We loved Chuchi (sp) Connie and her jokes and they didn't turn us into "polack bashers."

Over Labor Day weekend I was in a bar in Philadelphia. It was a very mixed bar. There were latins, blacks, gays, asians, you name it. On the television was a video of a comedian I had never seen - Lisa Lampanelli - and she is called "Comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean" because no one is safe from her jokes and there are few limits.

She claims to have a black boyfriend and loves black men, but lovingly trashes them along with everyone else. She picked out a asian man, a hispanic man, a black man, a jewish man and two guys she called fags throughout the night. No one was off limits, not even handicapped people, as she made comments to each of them playing to the typical age old stereotypes.

She was hilarious.

The next day I went to Amazon.com and purchased the video and had it shipped to my house. This past Friday we had guests over for drinks and I played the video for them. We all laughed our asses off, but it got me wondering.

Can we laugh at ourselves and the litany of stereotypes associated with each of us?

The group of friends I had over were slightly representative of the groups she tore into on the video. We had white, latin, gay and functionally handicapped (although everyone just thinks he is drunk). No one was offended by Lisa's routine.

I often hear black comedians making black jokes and hispanic comedians making fun of their latin families. God knows gay comics make gay jokes, but what about a white woman making black, latino, asian, gay, handicapped and geriatric jokes? Do we find it funny or do we look at this type of humor with disdain because it isn't politically correct. Have we lost our senses of humor? Or is it just not funny and hurts us?

A few nights before watching the Lisa Lampanelli video in Philadelphia my brother told me about seeing an Australian comedian in Scotland named Pam Ann. She dresses up in an flight attendant's uniform and makes airline and flight attendant jokes and she is beloved around the world by airline industry employees... okay, by the gays and flight attendants. I watched her myself and she was funny... funny making fun of people.

I challenge everyone to rent Lisa Lampanelli's "Take It Like A Man" video. Its irreverent and that's what we need these days - hell don't rent it, buy it (I think it was only $15) or are we so politically correct we Can't Laugh at Ourselves?

As a comedian, I'm hoping Rosie can laugh at herself and see the humor in David Letterman's joke.

10 comments:

arm jerker j said...

Lisa Lampanelli is crazy as hell, Chris. I feel guilty when I hear her standup because I'm usually laughing my ass off.
Well, it's a good quesiton you pose. I can take a good laugh of a stereotype of black woman but then when it gets to the point where people BELIEVE the stereotype, then we get in trouble. Ribbing ourselves is fun but no humiliating ourselves. Gee. Did that make sense?!

Hey, you need to move to WordPress.

Gpawilli said...

Of Course that made sense.... you always do!!

Lisa Lampanelli is crazy as hell and she makes my head hurt from laughing so much.

But you pose a great question - what is too much and where is the line crossed?

First off, you haveto know your audience.... well, and I think we know it (when the line has been crossed) when we hear it. Don't you?

We know it when we are in a group of people and someone makes an off color remark and the crowd goes quiet, people start squirming and commenting on the carpeting.

We've all been there and I love it when that person is called on it - "Hey man, my wive is a Native American," or "My grandchildren are half black," or "My son is gay."

Thanks for your comment J, as always, right on!

Kevin "your brother" Willi said...

laughing ones ass off is great exercise and alot cheaper than a gym membership!!

Bobby said...

I totally agree with laughing at anything; especially yourself! If you do not have the ability to understand that something is a joke, and take it personal. Move back 2 spaces please. Time for another lesson in life!

Gpawilli said...

AGREEEEEEEEEEEE

Gpawilli said...

Kevin -

You laugh a lot in life huh? Cuz you aint got NO ASS.

(NOT THAT I CAN TALK)

See ya on Friday!

Love ya BRO

Andrea said...

Chris I agree with your views on humour. I don't think I've seen Lisa Lampanelli, but she sounds like the type of commediene who would be very popular in the UK!

British comediens are known to be, for the most part, NON-politically correct as fits the British sense of humour. The British sense of humour is all based on laughing at themselves! Take Billy Connelly for instance, for years he has laughed at sterotypes, including himself and his background (Glasgow, Scotland) and people around the World love him for it!

Have you seen the program from the UK called 'Little Britain'? It's hilarious and full of humour aimed at sterotypes. It's certainly not for the faint of heart or people who are afraid to laugh at themselves!

Great blog!
Andrea

Anonymous said...

Chris, loved this.....ty Can I correct your spelling though???Us DP's(dumb pollacks)spell polak with 2 L's, and Chuchi is spelled Ciochie!!!LMAO

Luv ya bunches,

shortmama

Gpawilli said...

You CAN MOST CERTAINLY correct my spelling.

Its so funny because I looked up both of those words and was confident that I was spelling Polack (Pollack) correctly.

As for Chuchi (Ciochie) well... I looked and couldn't find anything.

Thanks for the EDIT.. and thanks for not using RED INK all over my paper.

Gpawilli said...

Andrea -

I have heard of "Little Britain" but have never seen it. I wonder if it is available on DVD. If so I can get it from netflix.

People really just need to loosen up and stop taking themselves so damn serious.

Have some fun, ya know?

If you can, you should try to rent (Isay buy) the Lisa Lampanelli DVD. Its called "Take it Like a Man."

I cant wait to show it to our next guests.