Free Markets, Free People

Republican Humor

It seems to be an oxymoron, like “military intelligence”.  Unfortunately, it’s not just an oxymoron with Republicans.  Democrats are similarly humorless, they just respond badly when different oxen are gored.  It seems to be a disease that patricularly affects the politically active, of aither party.

Steven Crowder makes the argument that conservatives should lighten up wqhen people like Letterman say something tasteless.

One of my goals in life is to watch political correctness shrivel up and die (as it should be for any true Conservative). I can’t do that however, if Republicans insist on resuscitating it back to life every time they want to act “offended.” Do we really want to be the person at the party around which everyone has to tiptoe around for fear of offending our sensibilities? Come on… We’re not supposed to be “that guy.” Leave that kind of crap to the Sean Penn pansies of the world.

It’s not an argument that some people want to hear, like. say Patterico:

I didn’t get outraged by Barack Obama’s Special Olympics joke (a position that, curiously, itself outraged some of the very people who today claim to back up Letterman’s right to tell an “edgy” joke). I just mocked Obama as someone less articulate than advertised — and then mocked him again. But there were those with ties to Special Olympians who were genuinely outraged. Their outrage wasn’t manufactured, and they weren’t being humorless — because, Crowder my pal, it wasn’t a funny joke.

My reaction to Sykes and to Letterman is similar. They showed a lack of class, and their jokes weren’t funny.

Yeah.  Because whenever you really want to get clued in the ultimate source of humor, who better than a prosecutor to track that down for you?  I think we all know that those guys are just a barrel of laughs.

First of all those jokes were funny.  When the people in question told them, they got laughs.  So clearly, they had an audience.  Moreover, in the case of Sykes and Letterman, you have two people who are genuinely funny.  They make extremely comfortable livings at being funny professionally.  So, either the free market is failing horrifically, or something else is going on besides their jokes not being funny.

And, frankly Patterico knows exactly what’s going on.

Proof that the way you react to a controversial joke is heavily influenced by your particular station in life…there were those with ties to Special Olympians who were genuinely outraged.

Sure they were.  It hit too close to home.  It’s always funny until someone loses an eye, or comes up with an extra chromosome.  Then it’s tasteless and insensitive.  And the Republican response to the Letterman/Palin thing is no different.  Patterico even says so:

While I disagree with some of the more violent reactions to Letterman’s joke, I can understand them, and will not be quick to judge the sincerity of my fellow Republicans — who, remember, still have a deep wellspring of genuine outrage to draw on, stemming from the way Palin and her family were treated during the campaign.

Shorter Patterico: Life’s not fair!

Cry me a river.

First of all, anyone who knows anything about David Letterman knows that he doesn’t, and never has, countenanced anything even remotely related to pedophilia in his show’s comedy.  And he has guys on like Louis CK and Jim Norton, who touch on subjects like that in their regular routines, who are told quite clearly that this is the case.

And, lest we forget, Sarah Palin does, in fact, have a daughter that got knocked up by an athlete, and ended up with an out-of-wedlock child.  That’s clearly the reference Letterman was shooting for, and all this talk of “jokes about raping a child” are intentionally obtuse.

And please: don’t tell me I’m humorless if the joke I’m laughing at isn’t funny. Sometimes it’s really the other guy who lacks the sense of humor.

Well, sorry, but the problem is you.  If the studio audience is laughing, then that’s a pretty good clue that the joke was funny.  You just didn’t like it because it hit too close to home.  But that’s about you, not the joke or the comedian.

And what, exactly is the principle you’re fighting for here?  Not to be offended?  Well, then you might as well sign on to the university speech codes, and all the other PC bullsh*t the Left pushes, because you want PC enforced just like they do.  You just want your version of PC to cover different things.  I say, emerods on both your houses.

The best statement I can think of is the one Sean Hannity made when DOn Imus was going through the “nappy-headed hos” fiasco.  “If you don’t like it, turn the dial.”

39 Responses to Republican Humor

  • I hope Dale Franks’s kidneys fail.  Hahahaha!

  • So the joke is that Bristol Palin drops her drawers for any old athlete? Very amusing. Just what did she do to deserve becoming the butt of Letterman’s oh-so-sophisticated humor?

    Pauly Shore gets laughs, too. He ain’t funny, either.

    I’ve heard a few jokes about blacks and Jews that got some laughs, too.

    “If the studio audience is laughing…”

    The studio audience will laugh at anything, funny or not. I have seen audiences giving standing ovations to mediocre performances. Jerry Springer’s audiences……, need I finish?

  • McCain’s Chelsea Clinton joke was funnier than Lettermans. Not acceptable to the Dems, though. Thus the rule must apply both ways, sorry Dale.
    Maybe the Dems could lighten up and we could all have more fun?
    I’m sure Trent Lott would agree.

  • Just for clarification, the way the joke was cast, it was the 14 year old 2nd daughter that was the one who was ‘knocked up by Alex Rodriguez’.
    I don’t particularly fancy the media punishing politicians by making their children’s lives miserable.  Its a hell of a lot of undue leverage you grant the media over people with children.

  • So, lemme see: some c*cksucker tells a raunchy, nasty joke about my wife, but because somebody else laughed (“proving” that it was funny no matter what I might think), I’m supposed to chuckle along with them and NOT put my foot in his a*s?

    The converse of liberty is responsibility. If one wants the liberty to tell jokes, then it seems to me that one must also accept the responsibility to own up when he crosses “the line.” Letterman had to be pressured to finally apologize for doing so; he didn’t own up. Had he come out the next day and made a decent apology like (dare I say?) a gentleman, this would have blown over right away, and in fact his stature would have been increased a bit.

    Let me also say that nobody I’m aware of wanted him prosecuted (publicly thrashed, perhaps, but not prosecuted). Prosecuting people for “hate speech” is pretty much the sole province of the left.

    This sorry episode has merely demonstrated once again the double standard and deepening divide in American society.

  • So, the joke is funny, provided:

    1. I ignore the fact that he muffed the setup so badly that he told it about the 14 yr. old daughter rather than the 18 yr. old daughter and then had to come on TV days later to explain the joke;

    2. I have followed Letterman’s career so closely or know him so personally that I know he would never tell a joke that hinted at paedophilia, not even about one of them toothless, promiscuous, cousin-humping snowbillys; and

    3. I accept that an audience of mostly liberal New Yorkers would never laugh at a sadistic dig at two hated figures (Palin and Rodriguez), despite the survival of Bill Maher’s career?

    Sure, you convinced me.

    For obligatory internet accusation of rank hypocrisy, weren’t you the guy telling us that Opie and Anthony are funny, but Ann Coulter’s comments about John Edwards at CPAC definately were not? I only ask because I seem to remember that some folks in the audience laughed.

  • The problem with Dale Frank’s analysis is that it leaves out the other political side.  The left has defined a great deal of political correctness in our society.   The way they have done that is outrage whenever their sense of propriety is insulted.   But, if one side reacts and the other does not, we end up with some who are are not protected by this political correctness and some that are not.   Guess which way that inevitably falls.  If one side becomes a constant source of political jokes, then that side does become a laughing stock.
    Ann Coulter took a shot at Barbara Boxer.  Here is the Boxer camp’s response:
    In her latest column, written after President Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame, Ann Coulter called Barbara Boxer an “abortion-happy nutcake.”
    That’s outrageous — even for Ann Coulter. We knew the right-wing attacks would be coming — and Ann Coulter’s over-the-top attack shows how low they will go. So we need your help now to prepare for the
    attacks to come.
    In other words, there was no room allowing for the comment being a joke or a jab.  There was no laughing it off  There was only outrage.  The left uses political humor as an attack weapon.  It must be countered or everybody outside of the left will become a laughing stock, not to be taken seriously.  BTW, how many Obama jokes are out there right now?  Not so many.

    • This is a very true concept. Never mind the D’s being unable to accept being the object of humor from the opposition, they cannot even take it from one of their own! There was a Daily Show clip from during the primaries in which Jon Stewart made some snarky, sarcastic observations about the Obama campaign that were met with tepid laughter from the audience. Jon then stared into the camera with an appalled look on his face and said “You know, it’s OKAY to laugh!”

  • I guess “your 18 year old daughter is a whore” is supposed to be funnier than “your 14 year old daughter got raped”?
    I think the point of the unfunny side is that when you make a joke about a person, your punchline shouldn’t point to the problems of someone else who has nothing to do with the joke (e.g. people’s children).
    Also, let me know when famous comedians start making slut jokes about Obama’s mother who was pregnant at the same age as Palin’s daughter and was also unwed at the time. Would the audience have laughed if Obama’s mother was the punchline?

    • Only if the 18 year-old has done something whorish, like having an out of wedlock child.

      I see no one is upset by the obvious lie perpetuated during the campaign that Bristol and her paramour were so deeply in love, and were going to get married just, you know, any minute now.

      • So, having a child out of wedlock is whorish? Do you really want to go down that road? Are you prepared to apply that to anyone having a child out of wedlock?

      • “whorish”?

        Didn’t you sing the praises of Opie and Anthony and Howard Stern a while back? Evidently ‘whorish’ is a compliment.

        I don’t know whether it was a lie or not, and neither do you.In either case, it is really none of our business, and I don’t seem to find it as fascinating as you and Letterman obviously do.

      • This leads to another question: is having a child out of wedlock any more whorish than having sex out of wedlock? If so, why?

        I’m with timactual: I really didn’t care about Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston. But some people seemed to take delight in using Sarah Palin’s daughter against her.

      • Yeah, I have a bit of a problem with that “whorish” line also. If you and your wife engaged in a bit of the premarital, guess what that makes her?

        When did you become a prude dude?

  • First of all, it wasn’t a joke. Perhaps that’s why it wasn’t funny. Even a bad joke approaches a je ne sais quoi region where it sets off the amusement center of the mind. Letterman long ago veered off that approach into the Rupert Pupkin lane (Cf. Robert DeNiro in The King of Comedy).

    So, a joke where Palin’s daughter puts out for Alex Rodriguez has all the subtlety of “everyone knows those Palin girls are whores and we know A-Rod, like any Puerto Rican man, loves a good white whore.”

    The audience did laugh at Pupkin for a while too, because it was expected to laugh, because he was supposedly telling jokes. Then the laughter dropped off.

    That’s all beyond the point of changing the station.

    As for Imus, the “nappy headed ho’s” thing wasn’t funny either, but it was a lot funnier than the politically correct sh!tstorm that swept Imus out of his career and down to Room 101 for re-education. I commented extensively on that event and defended Imus without defending his stupid comment. The disproportionate response to that became a mimetic contagion to make Imus a scapegoat. That’s hardly what has happened with Letterman.

  • While I agree with Patterico’s disagreement with Dale, Patterico sure proves he can’t take a little criticism with the comments he leaves in his own post at his blog. Patterico comes across as a tad hyper-sensitive for a prosecutor.
    I think it is also very hypocritical for Patterico to be a supporter of Ace when every other post from Ace contains some harsh reference using the phrase “retarded” to joke about other people. But Obama referencing the Special Olympics as a joke about himself is bad?
    Maybe Dale is right: It’s funny as long as your friend is making the joke?

  • Yea, that Tina Fey joke about seeing Russia was funny to, except there are way to many on the left that believe she actually said that.

    Just yesterday, some hard core Dem at work asked me if I saw Jimmy Kimmel the night before. He went on to describe a skit where Nancy Reagan was at the signing of a bill honoring her husband. He claimed that Nancy leaned over and said “Oh you really are black.” I told him that was a joke or else it would have been all over the news. He disagrees and believes she really said that. For the record she said “Oh, you’re a lefty.”

    There are to many on the left that just go with their sterotypes that fit the joke and accept the joke as fact.

  • Letterman has been a classless, pompous prick for years. Now Dale is making excuses for him that would behoove a ten year-old.
    Olive Garden Restaurants, a long time sponsor, pulled their ad’s immediately.
    Guess where the family is going for dinner tonight?

  • Patterico has left 5 comments in his own post so far attacking Dale. Does Patterico throw hissy-fits much? Does no one ever disagree with one of his posts?

  • Nope. Sorry.

    I mean, no I couldn’t give a flying fark about the jokes. But hey, Imus was fired for less, and Baracky himself called for the firing.

    It’s good in order to teach a lesson. Why should the left dominate the pressure-group field?

    Nah, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I believe it turning the tables on these people where possible

  • I would just like to add to this delightful discussion that the outrage over this incident has been led primarily by the Hillary PUMA’s, and not so much so by the Republicans. If it were not for Gray Matter, PUMA prowls and the HlllBuzz — Olive Garden, Hellman’s and Best Western may not have pulled their advertising.

  • Well, that was incoherant.

  • Sorry, I’m with the majority here. The operative phrase is “hoisted by ones own petard.” The blowback is far funnier than the “joke.”

  • Not to put too fine a point on it, but the ‘joke’ was about Willow, the 14 year old, not Bristol, the 18 year old. To believe otherwise is to say that a statement about the daughter at the game isn’t about the daughter at the game but about some other daughter. The ‘joke’ was that the Palin girls are tramps who sleep around. Knowing about Bristols out-of-wedlock child in no way makes the joke about Bristol. It is a starting point for the ‘joke’ about Willow putting out since she is also a tramp. Anyone who argues it is a joke about Bristol I immediately write off as either a flack for the left or Letterman.

    The other absolute proof to my mind for the fact that this is a joke about Willow and not Bristol is what Letterman did afterward. If he really had meant it to be about Bristol, he would have been horrified to discover the younger daughter had been at the game and would have apologized the next day saying clearly that it was intent to make the joke about Bristol but that he was misinformed about who attended the game and he was sorry. Instead he plays it for laughs, tells the same ‘jokes’ again and is utterly unfazed that he is dragging a 14 year old girl through the gutter. Until he starts losing sponsors that is.

  • 1) Half a brain indicates he and his writers didn’t care HOW old Palin’s daughter was – she was Palin’s daughter, in town, and got banged by A-rod (just like her sister! used here to excuse the ‘humor’…)  That was the joke, see?  Of the two options presented, THIS is the mostly likely intent of the joke, not the older sister getting banged AGAIN by an athlete, but that the YOUNGER one getting banged TOO!  ha ha ha ha.
    2) IF they were too dumb ass to know the kid was 14 that’s their ignorance showing, they can pretend they didn’t know that and pretend that isn’t what they meant (but they didn’t come up with THAT answer until afterwards because it WASN’T what they meant).
    3)OR  the writers did know and didn’t CARE, oh well, after all It IS, as someone said, the Snowbilly family, you know how they are, nudge nudge  & oh, it’s okay to talk about them that way too, they’re white, they’re conservative, they’re Republican, they’re from Alaska!  ha ha ha ha ha (don’t try this on the left kids!).
    4) If people didn’t get outraged, cool! joke successful, Palin family once more mocked and belittled, another shot at her potential candidacy for President successfully fired by the left (ain’t humor wonderful!)
    5)  If some people do get upset, well, it’ll only be the right wingers see #3 above, and add a dose of disdain for those uptight right wingers who complained (call this – episode 2, the psuedo apology).
    Whether or not someone has been genuinly funny in the past has nothing to do with the fact that they remain, at any given instant, capable of telling an unfunny joke.  Those weren’t jokes, they were (continuations of) calculated slanders dressed up as humor and ONLY accepted because they came out of the mouth of a person who allegedly is funny and makes a living as a comedian.
    Freedom of speech does not equal freedom of consequences, right?  Freedom of speech means people who want to diss Letterman, and protest Letterman, and bitch about Letterman, have as  equala  right to do that as Letterman had to imply that Palin’s 14 year old had sex with A-Rod during the 7th inning stretch as a ‘joke’.
    Why on earth should the ‘right’ lighten up about illustrating the double standard in play?

  • The mechanics behind the joke are pretty interesting stuff though – you’ve got a segment of people laughing it off as a joke that a girl engaging in premarital sex is basically a whore or a slut, but these same people basically support policies and a mindset that encourages and celebrates kids having premarital sex!

    Or maybe it’s just that she didn’t have the abortion that rankles? That seems to bother a lot of people.

    But again, I’m not outraged over this (or that silly Playboy “Hate F**K” thing) but if it’s a useful club to bash the left with, and can teach a bit of a lesson to the professionals in the field, lets roll with it.

  • I’m not upset, I’m with your number 2 – useful for bashing the left with.
    Tasteless – but I don’t watch Letterman because I rarely find him to be funny.
    As Hannity desires, I long ago ‘turned the dial’.
    That doesn’t mean I can’t use it as proof when I say Letterman is a biased hack, and why shouldn’t I protest the double standard?  How does it possibly get fixed if no one complains?

  • A word about your sense of humor Dale.  You have feces for taste.  If those jokes would have been about my most disliked left wingers I still would not have laughed.
    And of course you and Crowder miss the point of the outrage entirely. It is not about having a thin skin, or political correctness. It is about pulling the covers off of the myth of liberal compassion, tolerance, and their championing of women.

  • That doesn’t mean I can’t use it as proof when I say Letterman is a biased hack, and why shouldn’t I protest the double standard?  How does it possibly get fixed if no one complains?
    I can tell you how the Right can fix it.
    They can form a show to compete for an audience where they can then crack jokes about Sasha and Malia or whatever.
    Or they can just piss and moan and bitch like a bunch of bratty children.
    Awww… media just isn’t fair to you?  Awww, poor baby.  Let me get you a rattle.

  • You mean like the Left’s perpetual mad-on for Fox?


  • Well, Ace isn’t exactly the President of the United States.  He’s not on live television.  As for the flack that Obama got; yup, it was way out of line.  I tend to think that it was in response to being force fed the line that he was a brilliant extemporaneous speaker, except for those who felt genuinely hurt.

  • Yeah, I have a bit of a problem with that “whorish” line also. If you and your wife engaged in a bit of the premarital, guess what that makes her?

    Exactly what I wanted.

    When did you become a prude dude?


    I’m not.  I’ve been living with a woman in unwedded bliss for a decade, and making the sexy-time with her since 1993.

    But I’m not from the wing of the party that spouts off that family values crap.  The wing that does do that tends to take the position that pre-marital sex is immoral.  They puch abstinence education, and all that sort of stuff.  So, by their lights, births out of wedlock are whorish.

    They just don’t want that criticism leveled at Palin’s family, because it’s inconvenient at the present time.

    Funny how Bristol is not a little whore for having a baby out of wedlock, but rather a shining example of dedication to pro-life belief, and the victim of a tragic mistake for which we should all show understanding and compassion.

    And, of course, she’s not, you know, “ethnic”, so she can’t be served up as an example of the cultural pathology of “the underclass”.

  • criticism leveled at Palin’s family


    Funny how Bristol is

    Why are Palin’s children considered the legitimate subject of Letterman jokes? That is the main point, it seems to me. Why should we find any humor in mainstream jokes about family members of famous people?
    The answer is that most people find “humor” that attacks a person’s family to be out of line.

  • You confuse the words “immoral” and “whorish”  as if they’re interchangeable in this case.  Not quite.

    Funny how Bristol is not a little whore for having a baby out of wedlock, but rather a shining example of dedication to pro-life belief, and the victim of a tragic mistake for which we should all show understanding and compassion.

    Well, I’m not a christian myself, but it’s been my experience that the true christians would in fact not judge her to be “whore”  and would indeed have compassion for her.  Hate the Sin not the sinner and all that.

    But again, my POV on this is the hypocracy of the left. I’ll let you stick to the analysis of the Right. I find it hysterical that the crowd that wants “feminism”, condoms in schools, kids able to get abortions on demand  w/o any parental involvement or notification, etc etc. suddenly found a “slut” joke to be so funny!

    If it’s a useful club to slap the pressure-group class around with a drop, I say lets all start swinging!

  • <blockquote>But I’m not from the wing of the party that spouts off that family values crap.  The wing that does do that tends to take the position that pre-marital sex is immoral.  They puch abstinence education, and all that sort of stuff.  So, by their lights, births out of wedlock are whorish.</blockquote>

    So you purport to speak for a wing that you do not, by admission, belong to.  How do you know what they “puch” or what their lights are?  Oh, by watching Letterman.  He’ll inform your decisions.

    You are aware that Palin has not “puched” for abstinence only education, right?  Some of her supporters may have, but some of Obama’s supporters are Troofers.  I’ll cut you a deal on these big-@$$ brushes and barrels of tar that recently fell off a truck, what was in my neighborhood.  Cash in front.