Category Archives: Is Comedy Dying?

Is Comedy Dying? Reed College Students Protest Steve Martin’s King Tut Sketch as Racist

Hey 3.5 readers.

I’m late to the game on this as apparently it happened last Fall.

In a humanities course at Reed College in Oregon, a professor showed a class the infamous and hilarious “King Tut” sketch performed by Steve Martin in 1978 on Saturday Night Live.

I mean, if I’m a student I might protest that I’m being expected to borrow a shit ton of cash for a loan that I’ll never be able to pay back so I can watch a sketch that I could have just watched on YouTube myself for free, but that’s neither here nor there.

The students called this racist.  How dare Steve Martin appropriate Egyptian culture?  One student said that when a golden-faced King Tut pops out of his coffin to play a saxophone, this is the equivalent of “blackface.”  Read more in the NY Post.

Sigh.  When did kids become such squares?

Seriously.  Has everyone under 35 lost their cognitive functions?


That was what Martin was doing, through humor.  In the late 1970s, a famous King Tut exhibit toured museums throughout America.  Martin starts the sketch saying he thinks its ridiculous that King Tut’s life has been reduced to “toys and trinkets” and that money is being made off the pharaoh’s life.

Then he breaks out into a hilarious, over the top song and dance number.  Girls in Egyptian garb dance in the background.  Martin is using humor to make a point.  It’s as if the life of an ancient king has been turned into little more than a song and dance routine to entertain dopey tourists.

Goldenface?  No one had a gold face.  Tut was buried in a coffin made out of gold with a golden image of his face on it.

There’s just no critical thinking anymore.  How can anyone with a brain watch this sketch and realize anything other than Martin was making fun of the idea of taking an ancient culture and exploiting it for cash?  Ironically, if these kids would think for five minutes, they’d probably realize they and Martin agree on things.

Sad.  Everyone is dumb.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Is Comedy Dying? Dave Chapelle’s Angry Fan in His New Netflix Special

Hey 3.5 readers.

Dave Chapelle’s latest Netflix special just dropped and as usual, it’s funny as hell.  This man is one of my longtime favorites, and he’s actually getting better with age, bringing a lot of experience and wisdom to his comedy.

I’ve been keeping track of the death of comedy for awhile now.  It’s unfortunate, but the masses are losing their sense of humor, opting to adopt the outrage culture instead.

In his special, Dave talks about his own concerns that people are just getting too sensitive and that’s having a negative impact on comedy.  He talks about one show he did where an Asian woman and her Mexican husband attended.  The woman was pregnant, he said “the baby will be the hardest working baby ever” – ironically, a complimentary joke saying Asians and Mexicans work hard, yet the woman stormed off and later wrote stern letter to his promoter asking that he stop promoting Chapelle.

Sigh.  Even the great Dave Chapelle is worried about the future of comedy.  The next generation of comedians is going to have it tough.

Tagged , , , , ,

Is Comedy Dying? – Part 2

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.  Is comedy dying?  Maybe not, but I fear it might be on life support.

Let’s keep pondering the question, shall we?

In my last post on this topic, I mentioned “Airplane” as an example of a hilarious movie that wouldn’t get past the PC police today.

Here’s an example of a funny scene from that film:

So, in the 1970s (this film was made in 1980 when the 1970s were still fresh), there was a “jive” culture.  Hip, happening black dudes would dress up in fancy, stylish outfits, hang out at discos and talk in a cool style.

In this scene, Barbara Billingsley, the actress who played literally the first TV sitcom mother ever, June Cleaver on “Leave it to Beaver” overhears one of the jive dudes talking to the stewardess.  The stewardess can’t understand all of the hip lingo.

Babs, for some unexplained reason, does.  She starts speaking this super cool jive talk.  The jive dudes talk back and pretty soon they and the old gal are having a jive argument.

Why is this funny?  First, it pokes fun at that jive culture, but only tangentially.  If anything, it satirizes white people and old white women in particular.  This old white woman, essentially America’s first sitcom Mom, goes out of her element and speaks in this hip language typically reserved for the cool, happening black club scene.

The joke is basically an old white lady could never be that cool but here she is, being cool, out jiving the jive talkers.  Laughs often come when we are shown the absurd, the unlikely, the thing we’ve never seen before.

It’s a funny scene.  Would it fly today?  No.  Why?  Some Hollywood suit would see two black guys, assume they are being made fun of, assume that people are too stupid to get the joke as anything other than ridicule of black people (and sadly, many people are that stupid) and cut the joke.

Let me ask you this.  When you see these dudes talking jive, is your reaction to dislike them?  To think that something is wrong with them?  No.  Me, personally?  I kind of envy them.  They look like they led interesting lives, hanging out in busy city nightclubs, absorbing the music, the culture, learning a hip way to talk.

I regret that I’m more like the stewardess, too lame to understand what they are saying because I’ve never lived it up like they did.  Or worse, I’m like Babs, so old and uncool that people would laugh if I ever showed a hip bone in my body because it would be so surprising to people.

But there’s just no nuance anymore. No attempt to understand intent.  It’s just, “Oh no.  A black person is involved in this joke.  We must cut it.  If literally one person can infer that black people are being made fun of, it’s one too many.”

I dunno.  Am I right?  Am I wrong?  Hit me up on the flip side, 3.5 bloods.

Tagged , , , , , ,