I know you haven’t exactly been waiting with bated breath to learn what I did on New Year’s Eve but since you have read my title, now you know! I really love comedy specials. I’m a giggler. When something really strikes me funny in a comedy routine, I giggle uncontrollably and very often, will have to watch the show over because I couldn’t catch the whole act while having a monster giggle fit. I definitely recommend comedy shows that give me giggle fits, and even ones that just tickle my funny bones (I have more than one funny bone) and make me laugh out loud. Without further ado, let me share my reactions to the comedy specials of Wanda Sykes, George Lopez and Lisa Lampanelli.
I can’t tell you much about the Wanda Sykes’s special, Ima Be Me, because I tuned in toward the end of it, but what I did see had me laughing out loud. Her bikini wax shtick was hilarious and I loved the way she delivered her jokes. Next time I see this coming on, I will watch the whole show, and I looked up Wanda and found out she just began a new Bill Maher-style talk show in early November 2009, on Saturday nights on Fox, in MadTV’s former time slot. I’ll check that out too. Wanda’s got a new fan so far.
Next came George Lopez’s Tall Dark and Chicano. There should be a warning on comedy specials like this. Not the one about objectionable language. It should say ‘contains material about parents beating their kids’ butts back in the day.” A good segment of the special was devoted to the tougher upbringing bit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I find it offensive. It’s just old and overdone and really has nothing to do with being Mexican or white or black. I had my own tough upbringing back in the day when they made you eat whatever was on the plate and knocked your lamps out if you didn’t listen. I wonder what comedians will find to replace it with or if they will still be going on with this 50 years from now. It’s really an economic thing and not a cultural phenomenon so what does that tell you? Yes, they will. It’s high time to institute the tougher upbringing warning.
If they had a warning that said ‘contains negative racial stereotypes and he appears to really mean it,’ it wouldn’t send me away as fast as the tougher upbringing warning. Still, I found the overly-broad racial characteristics that George Lopez assigned to Latinos and Caucasians slightly insulting. Maybe it’s an ‘if the shoe fits’ type of thing, but depicting all whites as “clueless nerds” is really getting to be quite a drag, in my opinion. He goes on to explain how whites will be treated when Hispanics take over the country in a few years, and this segment struck me as pretty mean-spirited and out of place. This show was taped in the AT&T Center in San Antonio with a sold-out audience of 14,000 (a fact which Lopez brags about repeatedly “I sold this mf out in a down economy!”). San Antonio does, as I’m sure you know, have a large Hispanic community, but I still think there had to be people in the audience who felt uncomfortable with this stuff. At least a few whites had to be thinking “they don’t let white comedians get away with this crap.” Oh, but as the next HBO special amply demonstrated, they do indeed!
Lisa Lampanelli, whom I had never heard of before, is billed as the “Queen of Mean.” Her special, Long Live the Queen, opens with a cartoon Lisa consulting a magic mirror as to who the meanest of them all is. She tells the mirror that compared to her, Don Rickles was a punk and is “HB-old”. Shock-jock Howard Stern, we are also informed, is no match for Lisa either. Now, before you think I was just tired by now, let me say that it is easier to make me laugh the more tired I am. Some really stupid stuff can set me off. I am also far from easily offended at profanity and, actually, the placement of a foul word here or there in otherwise ordinary material can sometimes make all the difference. But I did not laugh even once at this non-stop raunchy low-class insult fest, and can’t imagine why the audience did either. Lisa engages members of the audience to participate and laugh with her as she mocks gays, blacks, Hispanics and just about everyone, even deaf people, with everything imaginable from a long list of epithets for gays to the (otherwise) verboten ‘N’ word. Lisa’s ability to make fun of herself for being fat and unattractive is supposed to mitigate the offensiveness of what might otherwise be categorized as ‘how to start a fight in a bar or anywhere else.” I can’t imagine anyone buying a ticket to see her and can honestly say I wouldn’t go to a comedy club to see her if they gave me a free ticket. If anyone can enlighten me as to why this is funny, I will listen politely, but I’ll never watch the “Queen of Mean” again.