When Comedians Aren’t Funny

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


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Last  week, the supposedly-funny comedian Russell Brand, a bizarre mash-up of Twiggy and Marilyn Manson, leveled his rhetorical pop gun at Sarah Palin. Why was Palin popular? “People want to f*** her,” he answered his own question. “That’s why they tolerate the other stuff.”

This sort of politically biased humor has become commonplace amongst the would-be laugh-makers. In fact, this isn’t the first time Brand has publicly bashed Palin. During the 2008 MTV Music Awards, the network actually cut one of his so-called jokes. “I wanted to say she was forcing her teenage daughter to have a baby because she is so anti-abortion,” recalled Brand. “But also, as a Republican she is pro-execution so she is going to give her the electric chair for being a little slut.”

Now, you may recall that when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut after Fluke suggested that American taxpayers cut her a check for her birth control so she could have sex at whim, the media went insane; President Obama personally delivered a consoling call to Fluke; the Democratic Party ran fundraising campaigns for a month about the “war on women.” When Brand calls Bristol Palin a slut, nothing. When David Letterman suggested that 14-year-old Willow Palin would be knocked up by Alex Rodriguez, there was virtually no serious blowback. When Louis C.K. tweeted, “I want to rub my father’s c**k all over Sarah Palin’s fat t***,” then followed that up with “@SarahPalin kudos to your dirty hole, you f***ing jackoff c**t-face jazzy wondergirl,” and laughed at Palin’s “f*** retard-making c**t,” he got invited to the White House to hang out with Obama speechwriter Jonathan Favreau.

And yet Hollywood now cries about the level of violence in American film. The Dark Knight supposedly causes shootings because isolated insane people watch it, pick up AK-47s and head to the theater. But when comedians spew hate – not comedy, hate – at those of opposing political viewpoints, that’s totally innocuous. We get lectured when Sarah Palin uses crosshairs to target hot-button political districts, and a non-political nutjob like Jared Loughner shoots a Congressperson. But when comics blast away at Sarah Palin’s genitals, no harm no foul.

Free speech rules, of course, but it needs to be pointed out that these comedians simply aren’t funny. They’ve fallen prey to the Jon Stewart Syndrome, where a once-hilarious funnyman gives way to long stretches of political screed punctuated by notes of wistful comedy. These comedians are now more interested in bashing Palin and lifting Obama than they are in saying funny things. That’s why Saturday Night Live has shifted from throwing out punchlines to becoming one: they haven’t done a funny political sketch in years because the best they can do with a perpetually narcissistic and incompetent president is to have Fred Armisen play him whining about Republicans – and the joke’s supposed to be on Republicans. Or they could always trot out psychotic weirdo Sarah Silverman to hump a dog in order to push Sheldon Adelson to give money to her favorite black president.

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  • Kufar Dawg

    There's not much to laugh about on US television these days and most comedians aren't even worth a smile much less a laugh — unless you're on drugs or drunk.

  • truebearing

    The people on the Left would disagree with Shapiro. They find vile, sexist comments to be quite amusing. They love depravity, or any manifestation of serious mental illness. The sick "humor" of people like Brand, Griffin, Maher, et al is basically devoid of wit, but so is their audience. They really only want to hear vile attacks, so these losers give them what they want.

    The Left is made up of two basic categories of people: wicked and evil. It should come as no surprise that these moral reprobates enjoy such filth. Their entire world view is nihilistic. They even want their "humor" to destroy people.

    • http://twitter.com/davekoffer @davekoffer

      Agreed! Right! Yes!

    • Kufar Dawg

      A lot of people admire Maher for his bland, infrequent, softball criticism of the RoP. It's really hypocrisy though because Maher's attacks on Christianity are much more obscene, trenchant and numerous. But maybe he'll get discover for himself that muslo-nazis don't forgive and/or forget any criticism of their death cult.

  • Disgusted

    President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama is a walking, talking, real live dirty joke himself, in person, giving the finger in a political speech, cupping his balls during the national anthem, and inviting the filthiest, sickest, creepiest entertainers to perform for him at parties in the White House. We need him like a hole in the head.

    • amused

      You've already got a hole in your head , and just look what someones poured into it ! There may be a spot for you in Brand's entourage .

  • DogWithoutSlippers

    Disgusted – yes! It is like these things are being done to undermine and dirty the Presidency – on purpose! Russell Brand is a no talent POS. The so-called comics get their laughs out of sick and crude comments they dare call material. Bathroom humor is sleazy and sick.

    • wsk

      Bathroom humor is easy… True witty satire takes a lot of effort.

  • logdon

    Here's a little background on Russell Brand.

    A third rater who somehow, via his manufactured self promotion has been elevated to seer, pundit, all wise and the go to whenever controversy raises its head.

    He epitomises the very worst Britain has to offer in scammy faddishness, combining cockney wide boy drug dabbler with sixties pop excess in a plagiaristic soup which fools only the gullible.

    This talentless trollop affects a cool 'what me worry'? whilst hurling the most insensitive insults at prey he assumes either can't or won't strike back.

    He epitomises the reason I despise the so called hip zeitgeist in it's shallowness and holier than thou selectivity. They are the new fascists who target the elderly, religion (apart from Islam), the right – anyone, in fact who doesn't conform to their half baked political idiocy.

    Here's the grim history of this pygmy poseur…..

    Russell Edward Brand (born 4 June 1975)[4] is an English comedian, actor, radio and television presenter, singer, columnist, and author.

    In 2004, Brand achieved mainstream fame in the UK as the host of Big Brother's Big Mouth, a Big Brother spin-off. In 2007, he had his first major film role in St Trinian's. He became known in the United States in 2008, after his major role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall; the film led to a starring role in Get Him to the Greek in 2010. He also worked as a voice actor for animated films Despicable Me in 2010 and Hop in 2011. He starred in the 2011 remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore film Arthur.

    Brand is noted in the British media for his eccentricity and for controversies such as his dismissal from MTV after he dressed as Osama bin Laden, his behaviour as presenter of various award ceremonies and his former drug use. In 2008, he resigned from the BBC following prank calls he made to actor Andrew Sachs on The Russell Brand Show, which led to major changes to the BBC's policy. His drug use, alcoholism and promiscuity have influenced his comedic material and public image. He married American pop singer Katy Perry in October 2010 and filed for divorce in December 2011.

  • amused

    "holier than thou " ….indeed .

  • Asher

    You know this stuff isn't funny at all, it is really disgusting..The left has become fools, and they are totally turning people off by trashing good people. (Are their minds barren of good, clean productive Ideas?) You want to say to them… Get a life…is this all they live for is destructiveness?????

    • Kufar Dawg

      When you're amoral and apathetic everything's funny, until it's not.

  • Juan Motie

    Just more proof of the fascist left's hate and intolerance – plus their lack of compassion.

  • Lucia

    Ughh, he's not a comedian, he's just a walking, talking mummy. Brrrrrrr….

  • Schlomotion

    All of this pop cultural commentary aside, the very unfunny Russell Brand was correct in his analysis of the Sarah Palin phenomenon.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      No, he wasn't. He wasn't smart enough to understand why conservatives and constitutionalists like anyone.
      Her looks are secondary to her abilities and history tied to her positions on upcoming issues.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Not really, he was merely projecting the sickness and moral vacuity of his audience, which is why they find it funny.

    • Maxie

      The vile insults, er 'jokes', that these Lefty creep$, er, comedians vomit are right out of Psych 101. The insulting, filthy, sexually oriented, anger-laced riffs are obvious payback these creep$ dish-out to all the beautiful girls who shunned them in high school and beyond. Palin is a convenient pinata for these lo$ers because she epitomizes all such women forever 'unavailable' to them. Like all anger, it's fear in disguise. The real fear is that they realize that they have no real talent and are perpetually on the edge of failure. Their vile 'comedy' is an act of desperation.

  • patriotwork

    Schlomotion, they're only sllimming Sara Palin, typical progressive-leftist tripe. Now, think how fitting it would have been if they'd said it about you and Barack Obama.

  • PA48

    This is so true. This past weekend I went out to not one but two comedy clubs, and discovered that if it was not for jokes about Republicans, jokes about drugs, jokes (and very vulgar, offensive ones) about sex and jokes about booze, the so-called "comedians" of today would have no material. Whatever happened to just being funny? Bill Cosby made us laugh to the point of tears without any of the above topics…..just talking about everyday things we all relate to. Jerry Seinfeld too. That's all over now, apparently. No one can even spend 3 minutes onstage in a comedy club without the crutches of obnoxious, offensive language and distasteful insulting comments.

  • tagalog

    The crazed Aurora movie theater killer didn't pick up an AK-47 (or the semi-automatic replica that is made for civilian sales), he picked up an AR-15 or some clone of it, together with a 12-gauge shotgun and a pistol or two. The difference for those who somehow don't know is that the AR-15 is a semi-automatic replica of the select-fire standard issue U.S. armed forces rifle, while the AK-47 replica is a replica of the standard Red Chinese select-fire rifle (the former Soviets now use the AK-74, not the AK-47) issued to their armed forces. I think the PRC designates it the Type 56 rifle, a weapon also widely used by terrorists and militia forces worldwide.

    There's no point, other than repeating those repugnant jokes, in regurgitating them. They're unfunny and disgusting. What kind of a guy actually talks -to other people- about rubbing his father's unit in the face of a woman? Is that a form of homosexual humor, an Oedipal kind of thing, or is it just a variant on the "I wouldn't **** her with HIS ****" joke?

    I thought this article was going to be about Sarah Palin losing some of her impact as her jokes lose their punch. Not so, I guess.

  • Kathleen3

    These court jesters (aka entertainers) do not have the wherewithal to come up with material that is not handed to them by Soros, Brock, Jarrett, Axelrod, or Obama. As an independent thinker I can come up with at least a year's worth of comedy by looking and listening to: Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Zoe Lofgren, and so many other Democratic females.

  • Bdouglas

    When are people such as yourself going to realize liberals actually are evil. Their entire agenda is even. Evil people do not have high moral standards. You can’t expect them to act like they give a damn. They don’t. They can’t have a higher standard as we do because they have no standards. How do you defeat evil when you can’t actually recognize it?

  • Chiggles

    There used to be this song by Slade, "Run run away"
    It had a line, "see chameleon/ lying there in the sun"
    It always sounded to me like. "see the comedian/ lying dead in the sun"
    I like that better
    All comedians should lie in the sun, dead.

  • PistolPierre

    Most comedians are just mentally ill.

  • Ghostwriter

    When I was a kid,I wanted to be a comedian when I grew up. Thankfully,not the Russell Brand type of comic who thinks that swearing throughout your routine indicates humor. What people like Brand seem to forget that foul language ALONE does not a comedian make. You actually have to BE FUNNY!!!! People like George Carlin,Richard Pryor,and those like them used ACTUAL humor or came at things with a humorous point of view. Their philosophy seemed to be the use of profanity to make a point. With those like Russel Brand,swearing IS the point,that foul language ALONE is funny. It isn't.
    Right now,Carlin and Pryor must be spinning in their graves because of people like Russel Brand. Both of them had points to make and they were funny. Brand,on the whole,can't even go through a single sentence without swearing. He's not funny,just desperate. He thinks just because he attacks those he disagrees with or swears throughout his routine,that makes him funny. Unlike those like Carlin,Pryor,Dangerfield and other comedy legends,Russell Brand won't be remembered as a great comic. He'll be remembered as an unfunny hack,unworthy to stand with the greats. He's not funny,just silly. He's no George Carlin or Richard Pryor. He's a pathetic fool,masquerading as a comic.

    • jemaasjr

      George Carlin started out with social commentary and eventually drifted into over the top vulgar material, apparently for the shock effect. I suppose he ran out of original material and had to fill in with something if he wanted to keep his career going.

  • Eva

    The left love to insult all those whose view of the world is in conflict with their own. And above all, they love to dish it out. But they hate to take it. Reading what this psychopat Russel guy said about Sarah Palin can only mean one thing: his toxic hatred has destroyed his brain (possibly along with drugs). Just look at him: an utter degenerate loser with an undentified gender. I hope he is reading this, assuming he is literate.

  • Serafino

    F""" the left. Plain and simple. They can hide behind the 1st Amendment when spewing tasteless and hateful filth. I choose the 2nd Amendment to deal with this degenerate trash. And I urge all my decent fellow Americans to think about doing the same.

  • mlcblog

    I refer you to your own Tapson's article today on FPM. Hilarious! the left are providing the humor.

    Some twits tried to list 90 reasons why vote for O and only got to three….so far!!

  • Jon_Babtist

    You know what is really funny? A person who is running for president has phony ID that wouldn't get him a job cleaning cages at the Washington Zoo, and it is unacceptable in America to discuss this. Isn't it funny that the US government has ordered 1.4 billion rounds of 40 caliber hollow point bullets. Hollow points are outlawed in international war, so they are being purchased to be used against American citizens. Isn't that hilarious. The same government is building a million square foot NSA center in Utah with its own power plant to house enough
    computers to keep a file on every single email, web search, website, credit card purchase, bank transaction, phone call, GPS monitoring of your travel, tax returns etc etc of every single American. Isn't it hysterical that there is about 55% unemployment among black youth and Obama will still get almost all the black vote.
    What is really funny is that thousands of high powered weapons and hand grenades were given to Mexican
    drug gangs and no one ever asks "What did the president know and when did he know it?"

    • wsk

      BTW, The 40 cal hollowpoints; that was me.

  • Phineas

    This is how comics have been, ever since Lenny Bruce opened the floodgates on this mix of political and foul-mouthed humor ,more than 50 years ago.And Republicans – especially,Rep. Presidents – have always been on the receiving end of the nastier jokes,far more than Democrats.