Patterico's Pontifications


It’s Funnier When You Don’t Explain the Joke

Filed under: Humor,Movies — Patterico @ 9:54 pm

Sacha Cohen explains the joke.

Then again, some people apparently need it explained.

Like, for instance, the guy who punched him.

We see the movie tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to it.

14 Responses to “It’s Funnier When You Don’t Explain the Joke”

  1. Here’s the Rolling Stone interview that the Independent story is based on.

    David Edelstein said he felt like he “was watching a bearbaiting or pigsticking” during the Borat screening. Cohen can be hysterically funny, but I feel the same way about some of his stuff.

    Hitchens has an interesting take, too.

    Serenity Now (b08c67)

  2. More,sadly typical, self-loathing from the Jewish community. If you come to understand Cohen and his comedy, you come to understand why my fellow Jews stupidly continue to vote Liberal Democrat.
    I feel it’s all the same mindset. What a waste even talking about this idiot. The guy should have knocked Cohens teeth down throat.

    Paul from fl (967602)

  3. More,sadly typical, self-loathing from the Jewish community.

    yay, more supposedly helpful anti-semitic stereotypes.

    actus (10527e)

  4. actus

    Try reading Hitchen’s take, eh?

    Darleen (03346c)

  5. Try reading Hitchen’s take, eh?

    got a link?

    actus (10527e)

  6. I like Cohen, but I don’t have any problem with the guy who punched him. Occupational hazard.

    Jim Treacher (c4006e)

  7. i’ve heard about this movie, may go see it, supposed to be hysterical. but there’s one little problem pointed up in patterico’s links:
    what, exactly, is the joke, and how are you supposed to react to it?
    a review i read in the sf chronicle explained it from the standpoint of revealing latent anti-semitism in what appears to be many of us. mr. cohen/borat himself discusses indifference to anti-semitism. so, when a central asian with funny hair shows up in my field of perception and invites me to sing along to “throw the jew down the well”, what can i do to uphold the twin values of philo-semitism and personal dignity?
    obviously, i’m not going to sing along. i don’t doubt that america is full of frat boys who would be happy to take my place, at least until they’re painted as buffoons in america’s top-grossing movie the last two weeks.
    if i refuse to be sucked in, and maintain my default attitude of olympian aloofness, then i get accused of indifference to anti-semitism.
    if i protest this overture peacefully, then i get mocked by another ten million americans for not getting the joke, for never having heard of this guy, for being culturally retarded and easy to play.
    the only other option i can see is violence, and i acknowledge that this is sometimes the most appropriate option, but i don’t want to punch out a jewish comedian pretending to be a kazakh bigot. maybe if i just slap him hard a couple of times? what is the happy medium, the correct course here? patterico, tell us what **you** would do.
    this kind of humor is potentially hazardous because it plays to tolerance fatigue. at the same time borat tests the fatigue of tolerance toward jews, he’s also testing it toward obnoxious, funny-looking people who come on to me aggressively and offensively (and for a profit motive).
    i’m a pretty tolerant guy, but i am not infinitely tolerant. testing the limit entails a measure of physical risk. maybe borat should confine this schtick to liberals only, who are frequently alleged to possess infinite tolerance. it would be interesting to find out.

    assistant devil's advocate (cec1b7)

  8. Patterico, the first two links just go to the same webpage.

    Is this intentional?

    EFG (4335e6)

  9. actus

    Geez, do you treat the comment section like a cafeteria?

    Look at comment #1 for the link.

    Darleen (03346c)

  10. Look at comment #1 for the link.

    Oh. I thought you were telling me to look up his take on jewish self-loathing and anti-semitic stereotypes.

    actus (10527e)

  11. On the one hand, we can all recognise that Carroll O’Connor and Norman Lear were not bigots, even though Archie Bunker was.

    On the other hand, suppose a Kazakh (or Palestinian) comic pretended to be an Israeli Jew, and came and told of how much fun he and other Israelis had killing Palestinians and throwing them down the well. Would that be fair play, and not really an attack on Israel, as Sacha Cohen says he is not really promoting bigotry against Kazakhstan? Or would we all recognise the comedy itself as beyond the pale, as supporting a blood libel? Isn’t Sacha Cohen, at the least, “indifferent” to his own comedic bigotry, and to a number of moral problems with his work?

    FWIW, I saw some outtakes of Borat on the web (Google “Borat outtakes” e.g., “Borat Investigates Cheese”) and found them painful to watch because they were overlong and not all that funny even before they ran long.

    DWPittelli (87ad39)

  12. DW, Might I suggest that may be why they were “outtakes” and not included in the movie.

    ThreeSheets (e41487)

  13. Yeah, all those people Cohen use as foils got what was coming to them. How stupid did they have to be to sign a release form without having a lawyer check it out first? That’ll teach ’em.

    Way to go Cohen for his successful shtick of duping people to sign away their rights, all so he can make a buck while at the same time claim the moral high ground! Who knew that ambush comedy could be as much a raging success as ambush journalism?

    Brad (69ca98)

  14. threeshots,

    Yes, I realized that, that as outtakes they may be inferior to what remained in the movie. But:
    1) They were REALLY bad, IMHO (de gustibus non disputandum).
    2) Sacha Cohen or his people presumably considered the outtakes funny enough that releasing them was in their interest. Judging from previous comedies, the movie is rarely funnier than those jokes used in marketing for the movie (which jokes are often not in the movie; perhaps they didn’t work when a particular plot element was removed).

    DWPittelli (87ad39)

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