Patterico's Pontifications


Steven Crowder: Barack Obama Mocking Special Olympians, Wanda Sykes, and David Letterman Are All Hilarious

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:24 pm

OK, that’s not exactly what he says — but surely Crowder can excuse a repulsive headline if it’s more entertaining? At least if you accept his logic, that is . . .

Proof that the way you react to a controversial joke is heavily influenced by your particular station in life — even though you know you’re motivated by pure principle and nothing else. Crowder, a comedian who engages in pretty edgy comedy, wants the freedom to say controversial things. So Crowder manages to excuse jokes that many sensible people find tasteless, at a minimum.

Barack Obama’s Special Olympics joke on Leno? That was a “surprisingly funny, off-handed moment,” according to Crowder. Wanda Sykes hoping Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys fail? Not her funniest line, Crowder admits — but still part of an “overall funny routine” that Republicans were wrong to object to. Letterman’s crack about Palin’s daughter getting knocked up? That was “worth a chuckle” — not the “phony outrage” displayed by humorless Republicans.

Crowder is a great guy and one of the funniest conservative talents on the Internet. And I agree with him that some of the outrage over some of these jokes is exaggerated and in some cases even manufactured. But much of it is genuine — and again, it depends on your station in life.

For example, I didn’t get outraged by Barack Obama’s Special Olympics joke (a position that, curiously, itself outraged some of the very people who today claim to back up Letterman’s right to tell an “edgy” joke). I just mocked Obama as someone less articulate than advertised — and then mocked him again. But there were those with ties to Special Olympians who were genuinely outraged. Their outrage wasn’t manufactured, and they weren’t being humorless — because, Crowder my pal, it wasn’t a funny joke.

My reaction to Sykes and to Letterman is similar. They showed a lack of class, and their jokes weren’t funny. While I disagree with some of the more violent reactions to Letterman’s joke, I can understand them, and will not be quick to judge the sincerity of my fellow Republicans — who, remember, still have a deep wellspring of genuine outrage to draw on, stemming from the way Palin and her family were treated during the campaign.

So I say to Crowder: keep being funny. But I happen to disagree with you fairly strongly on this one.

And please: don’t tell me I’m humorless if the joke I’m laughing at isn’t funny. Sometimes it’s really the other guy who lacks the sense of humor.

68 Responses to “Steven Crowder: Barack Obama Mocking Special Olympians, Wanda Sykes, and David Letterman Are All Hilarious”

  1. He forgot to mention that he himself does standup sometimes or at least used to. The whole thing has a smarmy ingratiating feel to it.

    Also if you’re going to write in the same voice what you do your video in then you should just stick with doing video.

    But he’s an amiable person and I think his hair is very brave.

    happyfeet (2d133f)

  2. Why should conservatives unilaterally disarm on this issue?
    There are political points to be scored with outrage, whether legitimate or not. It isn’t pretty, but that’s the way it is.

    zmdavid (4bd5bb)

  3. Yeah, what is it with Steven Crowder and the valley girl voice? Does he need to act gay to get work where he is?

    nk (5f6aff)

  4. . . . and I think his hair is very brave.

    Nicely said.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  5. I do not know who this guy is.

    I do know this. Were a Republican to have made the jokes in this article about a Dem, or the child of a Dem, there would be worlds of differences to the reaction.

    JD (b186eb)

  6. It seems like there could be a generation gap as much as a political gap on this topic. I’m more likely to object to the things Stewart, Colbert, Letterman, etc., say than the younger people I know — even the conservative ones. They claim they don’t take the comics’ rants seriously. I think more sinks in than they realize.

    DRJ (180b67)

  7. Wow DRJ,

    Did you just delete my link to a comment on this very site?

    How come?

    [Not intentionally, but I sometimes double-click by mistake and end up deleting things I didn’t intend to delete. Do you mind linking it again? — DRJ]

    poon (bc36de)

  8. “I do not know who this guy is.”

    A 21 year old kid who thinks he gets to tell Republicans what they should laugh at or be offended by, judging by his article.

    IOW, a silly little twit.

    Dave Surls (f2234b)

  9. @ DRJ

    It is a generational thing. My generation was raised on shock jocks and 4chan and gross out comedies. The outrage meter is calibrated differently. Crude sex jokes are perfectly acceptable, while racist humor leads to awkward silences and condemnation, pretty much the reverse of say, the 50s. Innuendo and sly implications are out, explicit shocking statements are in.

    Crowder is missing the point here. It’s not about whether these jokes are appropriate, or if they are funny, it’s about the blatant double standard. Somehow, all of Bush’s guests at the WHCD managed to refrain from joking about the death of Keith Olbermann. Somehow, Letterman never made a joke about Chelsea Clinton. Somehow, Bush managed to refrain from mocking the disabled.

    If it’s ok for this President to tell off color jokes, then it’s ok for all Presidents to do so. But of course it isn’t. John Kerry said he wanted the guys with Confederate flags on their trucks, and that was “embracing a big tent for the Democratic Party”. If Bush had done the same, the media would spend about a week on it, non stop.

    If we’re ever going to get people to stop trusting the MSM, we have to point out his bias at all times. The event is not the issue, the coverage is.

    Britt (c8f8a3)

  10. Should be “this bias”, not “his bias”

    Britt (c8f8a3)

  11. Actually, I think we need to accept that there is much of the bully in every comedian. It’s verbal bullying, but it is still bullying. So I don’t much care for comics.

    As for the whole “you don’t have a sense of humor” business, I find that most people get much more involved when it is their ox that is gored. So, for example, would Letterman have enjoyed gross jokes about his son, or his wife?

    He would simply say that his wife and son have nothing to do with him; go after him if you have a problem. But that was not the standard that he set in his comedy routines.

    Oh, Palin paraded her children around? Letterman has talked about his wife and son on his show.

    But it is different when the comedian is in the crosshairs.

    Much comedy today is mean-spirited, and hypocritical—because those comics can’t take it in the same way that they dish it out.

    Crowder is just trying to show he can be as “tough” and “edgy” as the other guys. He needs to be better, not just as small minded.

    Eric Blair (5a226d)

  12. […] not an argument that some people want to hear, like. say Patterico: I didn’t get outraged by Barack Obama’s Special Olympics joke (a position that, curiously, […]

    Republican Humor | QandO (4844f0)

  13. DRJ, I teach freshmen every year. And they are complete hypocrites: they want other people to be sensitive to their needs, but still retain the freedom to “do their own thing.”

    I’m always amazed at how sensitive to criticism the students are, yet how those same sensitive students are brutal toward their professors or other students. I think that much of it is narcissism. But then, we reward that trait.

    Most students are decent people, of course. As usual, we all tend to remember the outliers!

    Eric Blair (5a226d)

  14. Realizing that there is a bit of subjectivity involved in what’s funny to people, I’m going with the political gap. Letterman is 62, the others, late 40’s. They’re far from their typical 20-30 somethings who find them hilarious. At the end of the day, I think it’s still primarily about the D and R.

    Crowder can be funny but he’s less funny as a scold who attempts to justify himself and tells us we need to loosen up, and in a roundabout way, find him funny.

    Dana (aedf1d)

  15. Britt, with respect I, I have to disagree:

    “…Crude sex jokes are perfectly acceptable…”

    Only when applied to people that the students don’t like. And they are never funny when they are the butt of the joke.

    But you are spot on about racial humor.

    Eric Blair (5a226d)

  16. I’ve never heard of crowder either. The point is if a republican, or conservative had said the same thing or something similar. All hell would have broke lose. This claims to be a “republican”, then goes on to say “they are humorless”. He must not be good at his job, by his own standards. He obviously never heard bush at his “roasts”. He’s got great comedic presence and timing.

    Chris falcone (d34e84)

  17. poon,

    I left a message for you in your last comment.

    DRJ (180b67)

  18. I still maintain that when Letterman’s funny haha is cut from the exact same ideological cloth as what permeates that dippy Mel Karmazin’s maximally pedestrian dirty socialist pseudocorporate collective of losers then what you have is more a geriatric Jon Stewart wannabe trying to curry favor with his paymasters than a comedian whose art misfired really quite unintentionally.

    Letterman needs to reflect that brighter minds than his have already determined that core his audience is largely comprised of the lardassed and insensate sort of losers what get all aflutter when presented with a never-ending pasta bowl at some filthy cheesy Olive Garden in Duluth.

    happyfeet (2d133f)

  19. Britt,

    I think you make some good points, and it fits with the differences I’ve seen between acceptable humor for college kids and older folks.

    DRJ (180b67)

  20. hrmm. *his core audience* I mean.

    happyfeet (2d133f)

  21. I see Dale Franks — the guy who started a flame war with Ace and then lied and claimed it was all a big bloggy sort of experiment — has weighed in, calling me a humorless whiner because I disapprove of jokes calling for people’s kidneys to fail and the like.

    Shorter Patterico: Life’s not fair!

    Cry me a river.

    He says a joke is funny if the audience laughs.

    Let me try one out on the audience here: I hope Dale Franks’s kidneys fail. Hahahaha!

    Good one, no?

    Hey, if this comment doesn’t work out, I can always lie and say I was starting a flame war as an experiment. Page from the Dale Franks playbook.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  22. I do not know who Dale Franks is, but what little I do know suggests he/she/it is a f*cking douchenozzle.

    JD (b186eb)

  23. DRJ – here it is:

    While I disagree with some of the more violent reactions to Letterman’s joke, I can understand them, and will not be quick to judge the sincerity of my fellow Republicans —

    Do you understand this reaction?

    I still want blood.

    Letterman – f him with a shotgun.

    Comment by papertiger — 6/16/2009 @ 10:40 am

    poon (bc36de)

  24. JD,

    You got him pegged pretty well. Maybe a bit too kind to him, but close enough.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  25. Outrage is fake if you don’t share it.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  26. Franks also says:

    The best statement I can think of is the one Sean Hannity made when DOn Imus was going through the “nappy-headed hos” fiasco. “If you don’t like it, turn the dial.”

    Well, with that attitude, I suggest to Franks: if he doesn’t like my post, he is welcome to STFU and move on to the next blog.

    Until his kidneys fail, of course. Hahahahah!

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  27. Outrage is fake if you don’t share it.


    Patterico (cc3b34)

  28. As I wrote before, Patterico, most comedians have quite a bit of the passive-aggressive bully about them. They feel safe saying things they would never want said about themselves.

    Clown nose on/clown nose off.

    Eric Blair (5a226d)

  29. Shorter Dale Franks: Who?

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  30. The idea that conservatives or liberals either – A) don’t have a sense of humor, or B) have cornered the market on humor is … laughable. Everyone has a different sense of humor. Hedberg slays me. 2 1/2 Men and The Office make me laugh out loud. Cosby could tell a story, damn could he tell a story. The next person to comment might think all of what I listed are not the least bit funny, in which case I would fart in your general direction.

    JD (b186eb)

  31. ‘Barack Obama’s Special Olympics joke on Leno? That was a “surprisingly funny, off-handed moment.”’

    About as funny as if I’d flunked an intelligence test, went on television and then said “Gee, guess I’m as dumb as those black people in the ghetto”.

    Not funny. Not hip. Not cool.

    Just mean.

    And, what’s more it’s not even true. The best Special Olympian bowlers could bowl Barack Obama under the table any day of the week.

    Like this guy, for example…

    ‘Tim Maloney, a 38-year-old with Down Syndrome who has been bowling for 30 years, said the president needs to practice more if he wants to bring his recent score of 129 anywhere close to Maloney’s average of 165.’

    ‘”Focus, take his time, and relax” were the simple-but-effective tips Maloney offered the president in a phone interview Friday with from his home in suburban Milwaukee. “Keep your eyes on the alley.”‘–Fox News

    To his credit, the president immediately apologized for his remarks, but it would have been better if he’d never said it.

    Dave Surls (f2234b)

  32. I see the word franks, and it makes me think of Dinty Moore franks and beans, which gives me heartburn and makes me gassy. Franks also makes me think of hot dogs, which makes me think of weiners, which makes me thinks Dale is a c*ck.

    JD (b186eb)

  33. My comment at Franks’s place,

    I hope Dale Franks’s kidneys fail. Hahahaha!

    has not been approved. Another commenter’s comment has.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  34. What? Not funny enough for ya, Dale?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  35. re: Comment by poon — 6/18/2009 @ 10:05 pm

    Bad joke if you have to explain it, right?

    That being said, my comment is in reference to a rape joke made by David Letterman.
    Rape being widely acknowledged to be a crime of violence more then sex, I thought my disdain for David’s joke should match.

    papertiger (8627e9)

  36. #6- Good! It’s supposed to! Comedians speak truth to power and punctuate their barbs with a rimshot. The court jester was edgy, entertaining and enjoyed but seldom sent to the tower for telling the one about a queen, the other queen, the other other queen and the leg of mutton. And, of course, the satire in what Stewart and Colbert present is essentially meaningless unless the viewer already has a good grasp of the news, issues and current events. They’re no less funny or topical today than the Smothers Brothers, Laugh-In… or TW3 was 45 years ago. Play some Tom Lehrer from 1960 and you’ll still laugh.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  37. I think everyone missed the sarcasm. Crowder isn’t serious, he uses sarcasm quite a bit in his videos.

    Scott (197569)

  38. Maybe my sense of humor is defective. I found none of the “jokes” funny. Edgy humor tends to be shock humor and sheer nastiness or bathroom humor lost their appeal when I got out of high school. I’ll leave it for the liberals to bray, like the jackasses they are, at “jokes” mentioned. I have no trouble finding things to laugh at, but Obama has no sense of humor ( and his attempts at it are pathetic ) and Letterman is just boring while Sykes is just nasty. Life is too short to try to pretend any of them has been funny in years.

    Ken Hahn (15021d)

  39. “Comedians speak truth to power”

    Yeah, right. Slamming on pregnant 18 year old girls or Special Olympians (who can’t even slam back) is speaking truth to power.

    Only in the addled brains of leftoids.

    Dave Surls (f2234b)

  40. Interesting. I took Crowder’s commentary as a pretty lame attempt to point how how the left defends the indefensible. Normally, he is so over the top, you just know he’s being sarcastic. This time it did not come across as such. Maybe, next week, he’ll “apologize”.

    As he said, not every joke works.

    Dr. K (0fdffa)

  41. Anytime I see someone say the phrase “speaking truth to power” it makes me want to laugh in their face. True comedy.

    JD (b6cfbe)

  42. I weep for this country if Conservatives ever “find their sense of humor” about a creepy old man uttering rape jokes about A FOURTEEN YEAR-OLD GIRL and calling her a whore in front of a national TV audience.

    Give Creepy Old Dave some credit, at least he didn’t call the girl’s mother a c*nt, as Obama supporters posting to the Unicorn Rider’s website have.

    furious (71af32)

  43. Conceptually, I consider that Letterman was essentially telling racial jokes to an audience of Klansmen on KKKBC.

    Many he knew had profited from being insulting to his intended targets. He was comfortable his material, the audience laughed, and so he was surprised that some later claimed to be offended. His initial snarky “apology”, made in front of another “Klansmen” audience extends the metaphor, as that audience also reacted as he wanted. Then, away from the Klan Hall, he found that he had indeed been judged to be offensive by many in the wider world, and had to retreat.

    The difference is that Letterman chose his targets due not to the color of their skin (black instead of the audience and network white), but by the stylistic color of their party (Red instead of the audience and network Blue).

    jim2 (6482d8)

  44. I still remember Sam Kinison pretty much breaking all the barriers that were left, and that was way back in the 80’s. But the difference to me was that I usually found him hilarious, and when I went to see his shows live I saw quite a few middle – aged folks there, along with more than a few women (he was quite misogynistic at times). Of course, all humor is subjective, but this still cracks me up (this is actually safe for work, since he cleaned it up for his appearance on Carson):

    Dmac (f7884d)

  45. And, of course, the satire in what Stewart and Colbert present is essentially meaningless unless the viewer already has a good grasp of the news, issues and current events.

    I’ve seen idiocy and ignorance from you before, but this one tops ’em all. Most of their audience use them as their primary news source. Dolt.

    FYI, Patterico, if that was your first comment there in the past few months, they changed their blogging software (or something like that) and all first comments have to be approved. Yours has been, incidentally, and you can go post now and it will show up instantly.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  46. And, of course, the satire in what Stewart and Colbert present is essentially meaningless unless the viewer already has a good grasp of the news, issues and current events. DCSCA

    Most of their audience use them as their primary news source. Phil Smith

    I don’t see how the two statements are mutually inconsistent.

    nk (35ba30)

  47. Oh, I don’t know, ‘feet. I’m kind of envious to Crowder’s hair. The years take their toll. Follicles are wasted on the young, and all that.

    More seriously, much humor arises from outrageous statements that devolve into nastiness. The blase cool thing during the past fifteen years or so is essentially dishonest since most of the comedians using that approach (1) think they are themselves swell people, and (2) don’t like it when people insult them personally.

    Letterman, for example, isn’t a swell guy, when he makes jokes the way he does. So he is pulling the “clown nose on/clown nose off” approach, championed by Jon Stewart directly. Of course, Stewart is Letterman’s grandson, comedically, but you know what I mean.

    My favorite bit from comedians, when confronted with all this? They actually say “don’t take it personally,” when they certainly did mean it personally.

    I also like it when comics say “comedy is a contact sport.” Right. Real tough guys and gals. It would be a contact sport if, for example, Letterman went personally to Todd Palin’s house to tell the jokes, one on one. That would be a contact sport.

    Eric Blair (5a226d)

  48. Really, nk? Seems obvious to me.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  49. Phil, I disagree with DCSCA 99% of the time, but I took him to mean the same thing you said, that those assholes’ audiences are clueless and ignorant and they take whatever may or may not be intended as humor or satire at face value.

    nk (d111a3)

  50. I see your point now. I think you’re being charitable. DCSCA is those assholes’ audience.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  51. Phil – Be nice to DSCSA 😉

    JD (0ecdbf)

  52. Palin paraded her children around?

    If Palin does not keep her children close, she is a bad mother. If She keeps them close, they are fair game.

    Heads I win, tails you loose.

    Would it be worth 6 months in the pokie to send Letterperson to the oral surgeon for repairs?

    quasimodo (4af144)

  53. Oh, I agree, quasimodo. I think that the Left and the MSM were outstandingly sexist toward the Palins.

    Disagree with her politics, fine. Go after her person? Truly bad form, and most revealing.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  54. #39- Hmmm, nobody said Letterman didn’t cross the line. But since you’re into policing comedy, you might want to review Kathy Griffin’s comments on the Palins as well. But then, D-listers need the attention.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  55. #50- My. No doubt you found Laugh-In, the Smothers Brothers unfunny, too. TW3, as well. And Tom Lehrer totally offensive. Not to worry. Conservatives aren’t the only ones who laugh at Limbaugh.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  56. Bzzzzzzzzttttt. Wrong, DSCSA. Many Leftists, even here, argued that Palin made her daughters fair game. I would guess that your skills at being a fabulist came in handy at CBS.

    JD (0ecdbf)

  57. BOSS LIMBAUGH !!!!!!!!

    JD (0ecdbf)

  58. #50 I see your point now. I think you’re being charitable. DCSCA is those assholes’ audience.

    I see. Last week Stephen Colbert spent a week in Iraq before a live audience of military personnel at Camp Victory entertaining the troops. I’m sure they appreciate you labelling them a–holes as well.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  59. How many times has ASPCA pointed out that Colbert was in Iraq? 500?

    JD (0ecdbf)

  60. #56- I disagree. Kids really should be off limits unless they’re directly involved in campaigning, as Chelsea Clinton, the Cheney kids and such were in the last cycle. The kids really have no choice. Until they go proactive and inject themselves into the debate.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  61. “…But since you’re into policing comedy..”

    It’s a ferrous kind of morning here at Patterico’s Pontifications!

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  62. OT…

    In a new Los Angeles Times Poll, 39% of voters said city worker unions have “too much influence” over the city government. But 31% said unions had “about the right amount” of influence and 15% said they had “too little.”*

    The headline?

    L.A. voters skeptical that city unions have too much power, Times Poll finds

    The Los Angeles Times, it is not a truthful publication I don’t think.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  63. DSCSA – Good on you. However, you said nobody said he didn’t cross the line, which was demonstrably false.

    JD (0ecdbf)

  64. I see. Last week Stephen Colbert spent a week in Iraq before a live audience of military personnel at Camp Victory entertaining the troops

    Yeah, and it’s funny how Colbert (and earlier, Al Franken) never stopped mentioning those excursions, while other entertainers like Drew Carey and Jeffrey Ross went to Iraq when it was infinitely more dangerous, and never discussed it at the time.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  65. Dmac – it also does not understand the nuanced and subtle difference between free entertainment in a combat zone and choosing to watch a show from your own home.

    JD (0ecdbf)

  66. How many of Woody Allen’s movie had jokes about pedophilia in them? (IIRC: “I recommend blonde, twelve-year old girls, two of them.”) Letterman lives in NY. Allen lives in NY. Pedophilia and jokes about it fit with NY mores. Pedophilia only offends people in flyover country and their intellectual allies.


    tehag (7ab8f6)

  67. I just wanted to go back to something that DSCSA said in comment #60 that kids should be off limits. This stands in direct contrast to the positions you staked out on the NOW Hall of Shame thread, where you claimed that the Palin’s injected their children into the public debate, making them fair game. It would help if you paid attention to the positions you have offered and defended, so you do not get caught in overt lies shortly thereafter.

    JD (cb96c4)

  68. I run into people referring me to Crowder’s YouTube from time to time… I’ve tried to be nice to the people who refer me there… but… is this guy ever funny? Perhaps only in his own mind.

    Then I happened across the Big Hollywood thing… Gee… now we have him preaching saying we all have no humor? uhhmm… yeah…

    Of the YouTubers left… I think RestrainedNoMore, or MachoSauce – have whit and humor down… I’ll stick with them for my “Conservative Humor”.

    Michael (437664)

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