Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why Can't Black Folks Take A (Slightly Racist) Joke?!?

Okay, so now our boy's wrapped up the election and the U-Haul trucks are already en route to The Chi. I've already said in the past that Black folks might need to grow some thicker skin should Barry gain The Number One Spot, but that was mostly about the sort of ignorant, blatantly racist crap seen during the runup to the election. Now that he's got the gig, part of me wonders if that skin is gonna need to get even thicker, because, let's face it, dude is in a profession that more or less ensures he'll be the butt of jokes for the next 4 years.

It comes with the territory. Carter was belittled as an uncultured peanut farmer. Regan's doddering speech inflections made many wonder if he was prematurely senile. Bush Sr. was a stiff, out of touch geek, and his sidekick Dan Quayle was the village idiot. Bill Clinton was a womanizing fat boy, Al Gore was the smart alec everyone wanted to give a wedgie to in middle school. Dick Cheney has been an evil mastermind whose next angioplasty is on the house. Bush Jr. has just been a walking punchline.

So, where does Obama fall in this continuum of Presidential typecasts? It's hard to say. Calling him a terrorist or elitist is no longer valid. Blatantly racist crap like monkey puppets is off limits and hardly PC. And let's face it, dude just doesn't fill the various stereotypes associated with Black men. Sure, there's the "cool" thing, and he apparently plays a good game of hoops for an old man (so did my Dad), but that's hardly Leno/Letterman fodder.

Some have theorized that the MSM was loathe to "make fun" of Obama during the election season because they didn't want to appear racist. This is comically stoopid: as if agonizing over a man's middle name and his church weren't racist enough. But I suspect the real reason Obama hasn't been picked at more is that he's not really the sorta guy that's easy to pick on. He doesn't really have a funny voice or mannerisms. He hasn't had any fantastic gaffes. He doesn't dress or act particularly funny. Really, except for eating arugula, what else is there for comedians to use?

SNL has struggled with how to use Obama for laughs. Their resident Fauxbama, Fred Armisen, has gotten better since his awful debut last Spring, but all he can really do with the character is emphasize the way he adds a flourish to the end of each sentence. Hardly the stuff laughs are made of. MadTV's Keegan Michael Key looks the part (except for that cheap wig), but doesn't sound like him. Late night and other political shows have been largely lax on Obama jokes, perhaps because they wanted him to win, but prolly more for the reasons I mentioned above. I even heard Jamie Foxx and crew on The FoxxHole the other day complaining that Barack has to "give them something to make jokes about" besides his ears. Basically Obama is so darned cool, there's not really any material. Yet.

One of the very few advantages of being Black is the ability to poke fun at white folks. Some comedians have made profitable careers on this whole "black folks do this, white folks do that" brand of humor.

White comedians? Uh, not so much. My cousin and I used to read those Truly Tasteless Jokes ethnic humor books back in highschool but they were equal opportunity offenders. And year, there's folks like the never-funny Sarah Silverman and the potty mouthed Lisa Lampanelli who tell blatantly racist jokes, but they're really only funny for the extreme shock value. And they're both women. A white guy with this kinda mouth would prolly get his a$$ kicked.

Heck, Obama can't even tell good racist jokes about himself.

Mutt? WTF?!? Not really sure if that's some biracial humor I just don't get or what. Someone break it down for me.

I guess this brings me to my point. Are all jokes about President Obama going to offend black people because they're "black jokes"?

Question: Can black folks take a joke without getting pissed off and calling the NAACP? Is there anything about Obama that makes for good comedic fodder or is dude too cool/plain vanilla?

Is an Obama presidency no laughing matter? [CTV]

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