Monday, April 30, 2018

Comedians in the Post-Lenny Bruce Era

The shade of Lenny Bruce may be enjoying a sardonic grin, now that stand-up comics can get away with routines on network TV far beyond the schtick that got Bruce booted out of tiny clubs. George Carlin used to riff on "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV." Now there are no words you can't say on TV. In fact, there are writers especially hired to add more of those words.

Most recent--and most entertaining--example: Michelle Wolf's 19-minute monologue at the White House correspondents dinner. True, some of those attending might have had a more comfortable Saturday evening by staying home and watching old "Honeymooners" re-runs. And indeed, while Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders were sent in to bite the bullet, not all White House stalwarts were present. Mike Pence said, "I didn't feel it would be appropriate viewing for Mother and I."

Some of the event's organizers, and some journalists, felt compelled to apologize for Ms. Wolf's performance, mainly for things they didn't hear. Jimmy Kimmel's retort: "Next time, hire a juggler."

Meanwhile, there's a burst of activity at Democratic headquarters, preparing for 2020: "Jimmy Kimmel for President! Michelle Wolf, VP!" Or vice versa.

Think how much better the debates would be.

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