Friday, October 3, 2008

Ruth and Sarah

After a show in Sag Harbor a couple of years ago, an audience member asked my wife Ruth Katz if I "allowed her to be funny". I have told our friends many times how funny I think she is, but tonight I'd like to announce to the world, or at least the people reading this column, how funny I think she is. But don't take my word for it. Here are three short sketches Ruth wrote today. She told me my column yesterday inspired her to write this. Tonight, Ruth asked me where I thought her comedy sketches could appear. Ruthie, here's my answer. I'm glad I inspired you to write this. You inspire me every day.

(Scott in 1930's reporter/anchor voice):

"This just in. Vice President Palin, in one of her first acts in power, has taken over the Senate and forced the passage of a bill to eliminate, in certain cases, the letter G. The letter G is now outlawed when appearing after the letters - i - n - as in such words as:

flag wavin'
invadin' and

The letter G continues to be allowed at the beginning of certain words such as gosh darn and God.

When asked by reporters if this new law was not an infringement on individual privacy and the right to free expression, Vice President Palin said that that would be up to the States to decide. When reporters pointed out that G-banishment had already become federal law, she responded -- How important it was, therefore, to not succumb to those who would socialize our health care system.

This broadcast was previously brought to you by the letter G. It is now brought to you by another sponsor, as the G spot has been dropped.

Vice President Palin, in another decree yesterday addressed climate change. She noted that since climate change is natural, cyclical and there's nothin' we can do about it, we must all exercise individual responsibility. Using President McCain's latest bout with melanoma as a precautionary tale, the Vice President has pushed Congress to outlaw sunnin' and now allow only palin'.

This broadcast is brought to you by Coppertone Fake Tannin' gel.

Vice President Palin, in her work with Congress to slash budgets, has urged no further financial aid to foreign countries. We would, however, continue to extract their resources, incluing oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, bananas and coffee, among other products.

When asked if such a policy would not harm our relations abroad and further threaten our own boarders with huge waves of desperate new immigrants, Vice President Palin declared "The time has come for change. When budgetary problems, insofar as they are related to international problems, rear their ugly head, we must do somethin' about 'em. It's time now: no more Putin; only Takin'."

This broadcast brought to you by Bush, Palin and Todd Petroleum Enterprises and Exxon Valdez Cruise Lines.... Cruisin' with us is a gas!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palin Forgets Everything She Memorized Five Minutes After Debate

Tonight's debate proved beyond a doubt, that Sarah Palin is qualified.

Qualified to be a right wing evangelical preacher, a PR flack, a local news anchor, and a motivational speaker.

But not Vice-President of the United States. And certainly not an English teacher. Why is it that politicians think it endears them to the average working American when they drop the final G's from their words. That's not endearin', that's insultin'. It assumes that if you're really a hardworking middle class American, you're too busy to finish pronouncing your words. Palin dropped so many G's that maybe her last name is really Paling.

In contrast to her previous interviews, Palin gave confident, crisp responses. Without actually answering any questions. A one on one interview can reveal a person's thought processes-or lack thereof. A structured debate is almost like a speech. You can "answer" the question with memorized talking points that you can repeat over and over again.

Her supporters applaud her feistiness. But being feisty is one of the least unique traits a human being can have. We all know feisty people who are sure of what they're saying. Many of them can be found leaning unsteadily against the bar at 3:30 in the morning.

Yes, she connected well with the camera. And so does every host on the QVC shopping channel. And every spokesperson on late night infomercials.

The things Sarah Palin did well tonight are things that millions of Americans are capable of doing equally well, if not better. Except that few of those millions of Americans think they're qualified to be Vice President. Maybe they just need a little confidence boostin' by Ms. Palin.

Ya betcha ya can be VP. I'm tellin' ya all ya need is a smile, and a couple of pieces of info that don't have to be true. Gettin' to be in the 2nd highest office in the U.S. is a lot like bein' Mayor of a city of 7,000, and Governor of a state where Putin rears his head.

Before tonight, Sarah Palin was entertaining, fun to watch, bumbling and horrifically unqualified to be Vice-President. Tonight, she became a folksy Karl Rove, a smilingly mean-spirited bore who is like so many right wing pundits on television.

In other words, more of the same.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bill Clinton Sort Of Thinks That Maybe You Should Vote For Obama

Bill Clinton campaigned today in Florida. For Al Gore.

You could have substituted the name of any Democrat for Obama in Clinton's tepid rallying cry: "Obama's got better answers". Instead of Change We Need, Clinton's version would be:
Change That On A Whole Would Be More Beneficial If That's The Kind of Change You're Looking For

Clinton needs to do a more enthusiastic job of endorsing Obama if he wants to repair the damage to his reputation from the primary campaign. In fact, Clinton and Nader should travel the country together in the "We Ruined Our Legacy Tour".

Sarah's a Regular Joe
Sarah Palin said today that "It's time that normal Joe Six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency." Wasn't Joe well represented by eight years of Bush? It's nice to know Palin seeks to emulate "normal Joe Six-Pack American". So I guess she's in favor of heavy drinking and obesity. But in a normal way of course.

Palin has lowered the bar so much for tomorrow's debate that if she can say "thank you" clearly and concisely, conservative pundits will declare her the winner by a landslide. Of course, with Biden's tendency to be verbose, "thank you" might be all the words she gets to say. Which could be her best strategy of all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Couric-Palin Interviews More Entertaining than CBS Primetime Lineup

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric received only a minimal boost to its anemic ratings from a week of interviews with Sarah Palin. Which is a shame.

Those who weren't watching missed out on a sublime mix of surreal absurdity and outright stupidity. Sarah Palin's disjointed answers sounded like edited snippets even when there was no editing. In fact her performance was so over the top, that it actually was funnier than Tina Fey's SNL impersonation.

Those who compare Palin to Bush because of their willful ignorance miss the crucial difference between the two. Whereas Bush's plodding, monosyllabic incoherence is annoying and infuriating to watch, Palin is a delight. Bush's fake Texas drawl is irritating, but Palin's Alaska/Fargo accent always adds the right comedic touch to whatever incredibly offbase thing she says. Her goal seems to be to regurgitate whatever information her handlers had her memorize, whether or not it pertains to the question being asked.

Palin could be considered a comedy idiot savant. In addition to having no ideas, she has no idea she's funny. They say there's a fine line between comedy and tragedy. Hopefully, our country won't cross that line on Election Day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Good News About Today's
Stock Market Crash

There's been plenty of doom and gloom because of how the stock market reacted to the defeat of the bailout bill. Its supporters call it a buyback, not a bailout. Those same people say we're not in a recession, we're in a reception.

But you don't have to be delusional to see the silver lining in today's seemingly bad economic news. First, if Wall Street stops becoming a place of unbridled excess, it could have a positive domino effect. Young brokers wouldn't be able to afford the seemingly endless supply of ridiculously overpriced condos in Manhattan, so those prices will come down.

In today's New York Times, David Carr writes about a guy who worked in mortgage sales, who told his story on "This American Life".

We ordered three, four bottles of Cristal at $1,000 per bottle,” he said on the broadcast, recalling a night when he had a table at Marquee, a nightclub in Manhattan. “They bring it out, you know they’re walking through the crowd, they’re holding the bottles over their heads. There’re firecrackers, sparklers. You know, the little cocktail waitresses,” he said. “You know so you order three or four bottles of those and they’re walking through the crowd and everyone’s like: Whoa, who’re the cool guys? We were the cool guys.

It's a good thing that they won't be the cool guys anymore. Maybe teachers will be.
Or community organizers. Now that would piss off the Republicans.

They could do a remake of the film "Wall Street", the 80's hit that depicted Michael Douglas talking into a "cellphone" that was the size of Rhode Island. Rhode Island probably got better reception. They could call it "Main Street", and instead of a stock broker, the star would be a sociology professor from Brooklyn College. In "Main Street", instead of everyone getting MBA's so they can make a fortune on Wall Street, college graduates aspire to teach at a city university. Instead of selling sub-prime mortgages to unsuspecting homeowners, the stars of "Main Street" fight unbridled development and push for affordable housing. And since greed has been replaced by serving people's needs, those teachers and community organizers will actually be able to find a home that they can afford.

As this day draws to a close, here's hoping that good things will indeed come out of this. At least, our cellphones are already a lot smaller than the one Michael Douglas had.

Tonight marks the beginning of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Whether you observe the holiday or not, I wish you a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The End Of The DAY As We Know It

We live in challenging times. So I have decided to make things more challenging for myself by changing this blog from a weekly to a daily from now until November 5.

Don't Give Credit Where No Credit is Due
So let me get this straight. The $700 billion bailout is supposed to open up the credit market so banks and other financial institutions can borrow money more easily. Isn't that one of the things that caused this mess to begin with? And John McCain does deserve credit- for nearly sabotaging the negotiations when he came to Washington on Friday. But he certainly doesn't deserve credit for bringing about a solution. Apparently McCain was against direct negotiations with the Democrats, and preferred a military solution to the problem.

Socialized Medicine is Bad. Socialized Condos For Annoying Wall Street Guys is Good. It would cost $100 billion to provide universal health care for a year, to all those who don't have it. But that would be (gulp) SOCIALIZED MEDICINE! And Republicans would rather be dead than red. But somehow when the government gives $700 billion to Wall Street so those $2 million condos will keep getting sold, that's capitalism, not socialism.

Don't Let Sarah Palin Drop Out
. Calling for Sarah Palin to drop out of the race is a callous insult to all hardworking comedians like myself. How would another running mate like Tim Pawlenty advance the cause of political comedy? I'd be open to Tina Fey filling in for Sarah at the debate, but Sarah's name must remain on the ballot. And it's not just comedians who want her to stay on the ticket. It's also those Americans who fear that ignorance,incompetence and the inability to speak the English language won't have a place in politics after Bush leaves office. McCain may say Country First but Palin is Comedy First.