For those of you with better things to do–and that’s virtually all of you–Keith Olbermann has this segment on his show called “Tea Time.” The intent, as far as I can understand it, is to mock and ridicule Tea Party members–definitely the road less taken at MSNBC and yet another reason why Olbermann has become a household name, at least in his own household.
The segment opens with sound of a whistling tea-kettle, presumably lifted from a Spike Jones album, that should properly alert you to the rib-tickling, cutting-edge humor you are about to experience. In the unlikely event the comedic subtlety eludes you, the various smirks and self-congratulatory chuckles that punctuate the segment will quickly provide clues as to when to laugh.
Last night’s intended victim was Dan Finnelly (who according to Olbermann isn’t the Tea Party candidate, but I guess you can’t let a good sound effect go to waste) who is trying for the Republican nomination for Florida’s 8th district–the one currently represented by that paragon of rational discourse Alan Grayson.
Olbermann’s essential beef seems to be that Finnelly advocates some kind of rational screening policy at airports. This leads Olbermann to to apply both the “R” word and the “P” word, then respond to Finnely’s clearly self-effacing joke with a zinger of his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Finnelly: Does this look like a terrorist or this? It‘s time to stop this political correctness and the invasion of our privacy. Let‘s face it. If the good-looking ripped guy without much hair was flying airplanes into the Twin Towers, I‘d have no problem being pulled out of line at the airport.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So … clearly the less-than-ripped, balding Finnelly is poking a little fun at himself while making a larger point. Olbermann however sees another rich vein of humor to be mined.
OLBERMANN: Wait. Who‘s the good-looking ripped guy? Oh, ripped as if, you know, he sounds completely ripped, get him away from open flames?
You know, as lightening quick as that riposte was, I am betting it was extemporaneous. For sheer Churchillian brilliance you have to go all the way back to Dug the Dog in “UP” to find its equal.
To be fair, Olbermann is frequently funny, but it’s almost always unintentional. In this very segment he refers, straight-faced, to the idea we should stop wasting time and resources frisking Norwegian grandmothers as “racist madness.” It doesn’t get much funnier than that.