Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sarah Palin Doesn't Get Jokes

Normally I don't like going for fruit that hangs this low, but I love Sarah Palin. I've pre-ordered every porn film she's been in; I still say "MAAAAVRICK" pretty much whenever applicable, and when people offer me things, I officiously say, "Thanks, but no thanks," then take whatever it is anyway. So you can imagine how I felt when I saw this article in Politico.

It goes on way too long for the subject, so let me break it down for you. People who host late-night talk shows usually have to make topical jokes. They usually aren't funny, because they aim at the lowest common denominator and at offending as few as possible while still skewering topics and people the audience is already sick of hearing about. So usually they're terrible, and they get by only with the eyerolling "heeeeyyyyyy" comments, spastic mugging or sudden character ad-libs. The process of excusing the gags is better than the gags themselves, but there's no way to transcribe it. What you're left with are the arch groaners.

Like the following, below. Everyone gets that these are supposed to be bad and really mean nothing. Everyone, apparently, except for Sarah Palin. It'd be funnier if her completely not getting it weren't pretty much par for the course. As it is, it's kind of familiar and, well, folksy — once you get past the fact that millions of Americans wanted to give her and her running mate C. Montgomery Burns access to the nuclear codes.
Letterman Joke #1
Talking about her recent trip to New York (and riffing on her previous problems folksily buying high-end luxury clothes on the Republican Party ticket to the tune of $135,000 above expected cost): "[Palin] bought makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her 'slutty flight attendant look.'"

Palin Response #1
"What a commentary there," Palin said told conservative radio host John Ziegler. "That’s pretty pathetic, good ole David Letterman."

Letterman Joke #2
Also on her trip to New York: "The toughest part of her visit was keeping [former New York Gov.] Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter."

Palin Response #2
"Laughter incited by sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/N.Y. entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands — that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others." Husband Todd Palin added, "Any 'jokes' about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it, and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too."
Again, it would be flabbergasting and hilarious if Sarah Palin didn't give the impression that, in the course of attending five colleges and getting only one bachelor's degree, she somehow managed to pick up an AA in Not Getting It from all of them.

Obviously, the joke isn't about Willow Palin; it's about how Eliot Spitzer can't stop trying to sleep around. Jokes about Willow Palin having sex aren't funny, because she's a child. There's no gag there that isn't surrounded by pitfalls, and no comedian, no matter how gifted, is going to try to thread that needle for a gag with such dubious returns. In short, nobody would make a joke of Willow Palin fucking — unless you include her mother's concept of sex education, the punchline of which has to wait until we find out whether Willow got pregnant from practicing rhythm method, Crystal Method, Method Man or cramming a Red Man pessary up there and hoping Jesus blessed it with +10 blocking.

How the fuck did Sarah Palin's Dada-esque smeared Elmer's Glue-and-construction-paper word picture make it into the public? Doesn't she still have handlers? She's managed not to be found starved to death and caught in a raccoon trap with her hand clutched tightly around a rhinestone-studded Marshall's handbag, so presumably these people are still out there, somewhere, keeping her from herself. Who, behind the scenes, saw some value in this campaign?

Letterman's potshots were immature and not all that great, but at least he's been consistently offering this content for 30 years. It's not like he's suddenly loomed out of the water like an eyeblacked Captain Willard or the mile-high death's head of Vladimir Putin: Letterman's been out in public doing this shit forever, to both sides of the aisle.

And "Hollywood/N.Y. entertainers"? Really? You're backing this winner again? This is like mortgaging your house to lay all your money on a horse to win the Preakness after they stopped the race to shoot it halfway around the track at the Kentucky Derby. By all means, Sarah, good luck with that, but I hope whoever's in charge of keeping you from playing ToasterCatch in the bathtub discreetly mentions to you that Letterman's schtick has always been his fish-out-of-water goofiness as a New York-transplanted Hoosier Boy, still proud of Indiana.

Then again, who cares? Even with its highest per-capita KKK membership in the nation, you couldn't fucking carry that state either.