Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Conservative Hilarity  

I've been meaning to post on this article for a while, and now seems like the right time. Let's be honest... things are getting heated around here. A little too heated, and we could use a little light hearted humor. But if you're like me, you've noticed a problem... comedians are just a little too, you know, liberal. Well, as Fox News reports, we may have found a solution...
Growing Group of Comedians Veer Right
As soon as I saw this headline, I knew I'd be in for some chuckles. And God was I right. But first, Fox had to identify the problem...
Though a lot of comics and entertainers have lately been taking potshots at the president and the war he waged in Iraq, a number of right-leaning, conservative comedians have found their voices and started talking back.
I could not agree with this statement more, especially when I recall the free pass comedians gave to the Clinton administration. But just where are these Jackie Robinsons of the stand-up world? Who are these comics brave enough to stand up for conservative values? Enter, Brad Stine...
[One] of the new breed is Brad Stine, a politically conservative Christian who weaves both elements of his value system into his act.
Incidentally, based solely on this sentence, I came to the conclusion that Brad Stine is a closeted homosexual. I would not be more sure of this conclusion if you sent me a tape of gay porn starring Brad Stine.

But that is neither here nor there... let's get to Brad's material. I think you're going to like it.
"I'm a conservative comedian - one of two known to exist in the Western hemisphere," Stine deadpanned in a phone interview.
Oh dear God, that is funny. Do you think he came up with this on the spur of the moment? Was this planned? Because the Western hemisphere is pretty big. God damn you Stine, you're a rascal.
"I'm very pro-America, very patriotic. I use my time on stage to say how great the country is as opposed to saying how bad it is."
I don't know about you, but nothing says HI-LARIOUS to me like talking about great America is. But enough of my gibbering... let's hear what Stine can do beyond his hilarious dead pans.
Stine, for his part, did the struggling Hollywood comedian routine before moving to Nashville (the "Christian Hollywood," as he calls it) and booking shows for the Promise Keepers and other primarily Christian audiences.

The targets of his jokes are the cast of characters you might expect: atheists, animal rights activists, the politically correct, "fanatical left-leaners," gun control advocates, divorcees and, yes, France - but Stine means no personal harm, he says.
When I was going through this list, the whole time I was thinking is he going to do it? Can he make fun of them? And then, yes, I read the word France. And I knew that I had not happened upon a comic gold mine like this since that time I heard a joke about a fanatical left-leaning divorcee who didn't believe in God and liked animals. And then when I read about the Stine-man's patented style of delivery, I was basically hooked.
His act is part mock-angry rant, part sermon and part exaggerated mugging, Jim Carrey-style. And he keeps it clean, without the usual barrage of four-letter words. The closest he gets is liberal use of the word "stinkin'."

"There are a lot of people in this country with no religious affiliation that would rather hear clean comedy than dirty comedy," Stine said. "I believe creativity is funnier than crude."
I'm sure they also enjoy having their beliefs mocked by the Stininator, in a clean way of course. And Stine isn't the only one bringing conservative hilarity to the masses...
Right Stuff creator and producer Eric Peterkofsky didn't start his group to espouse Christian values, but he and the comedians in the show share Stine's conservative bent and patriotism.

"I was sick of all these Bush-bashing comics," Peterkofsky said. "We've added more to the buffet so that [our audiences] can finally come out. A lot of these people never go to comedy shows because they're offended."

The butts of the jokes in the Right Stuff gigs, according to Peterkofsky, are "the war, John Kerry, John Kerry's wife, France, animal rights, the over-labeling of Americans, the education system and gun control."
If there's one thing funnier than divorcees, it's the war. And if there's one thing funnier than the war, it's John Kerry's wife.
One of the comedians poked fun at Teresa Heinz Kerry's remarks at the Democratic National Convention last month.

"I enjoyed her speech so much. It was actually like Heinz Ketchup: It was slow, full of vinegar and when she was finished, you wanted to smack her bottom," the comic, Jeff Wayne, told FOX & Friends recently.

But back to Stine. Let's just say he's not afraid to make a joke or two about some controversial issues...
When Stine flirts with the topic of gay marriage in his "A Conservative Unleashed" DVD, for instance, he wonders why men would want to marry other men since men are "cowards."
I have a series of reactions to this sentence:

(1) In the name of the seven mad Gods who rule the sea, how can I get my hands on a copy of "A Conservative Unleashed"?

(2) Is this a joke? Is saying that "all men are cowards" a joke? Is this a conservative joke? Does this make any sense? What does this have to do with gay marriage?

(3) Could I have possibly been more right in my initial assessment of Mr. Stine?

And Stine doesn't stop there! What happens next in Stine's act is in all likelihood the funniest thing that has ever happened in the entire history of comedy.
[Stine] laments the fact that his religion doesn't let him hate anyone, even though sometimes he wishes he could.

"One of the great downsides of being a Christian is that my religion forbids me to hate people," he says, groaning. "I want to hate people. ... Not that anybody comes to mind right off the bat (FRANCE!)."

That follows with a stereotypical impersonation of a snobbish Frenchman.


But why exactly is this so funny? Fox found an expert to tell us...
"It's 'in' right now to be pro-U.S.," said psychologist Steven M. Sultanoff, the former president of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. "There's been a resurgence of a lot of basic family values. That's become the politically 'in' thing - a return to conservatism...."

"...Humor is a great way of communicating," Sultanoff said. "In a very simple cartoon, joke or statement, you can say a lot about your position." ...

Humor is so effective, said Sultanoff, because of its power to unify.

"Humor tends to bind people together," he said. "If you're trying to solidify a group that may be pro-Democrat or pro-Republican, [humor] enhances your influence on the group."
Of course, there's an audience for this sort of side-splitting humor.
The right-wing comics are coming at the right time, since some are sick of anti-government shticks.

"I like comedy, but I don't like what I've been seeing lately," said Jim Smith, 42, a military dad in Indianapolis. "I don't like it when they start hammering on people. Right now we're in a state in this world where we need to be one."

Smith said he doesn't care who is in the White House - he thinks mocking a sitting president shouldn't be allowed, period.

"That's wrong," he said. "It shouldn't be a shooting match."
That's right - there are actually Americans who believe that mocking a sitting president isn't just distasteful, it shouldn't be allowed. Now that's funny. Not as funny as a stereotypical impersonation of a snobbish Frenchman, mind you, but funny.

(FYI, I didn't quote the article in full, so go read it if you want to see what jokes Stine reserves for his own kind. That's right, even Christians don't get off without a good Stining.)
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