By staff writer Et Nola
November 12, 2006
Last Sunday I awoke to hear news of Saddam Hussein’s conviction and sentencing for “Crimes Against Humanity” as opposed to his charity work that we hear about so often. Whenever the week starts off with a hanging, I find it important to Google whether the Emancipation Proclamation was rescinded during my sleep. You can never be too safe. For the record, Saddam hasn’t been executed yet, but I agree with Stephen Colbert that the Iraqi courts are saving the hanging for something festive like Ramadan or “December sweeps.”
Speaking of Colbert, this week marked a crowning achievement as the Colbert Report solidified itself as the perfect follow-up to The Daily Show. I’m sure there are many out there who prefer the Report to The Daily Show, but rest assured, Jon Stewart could hardly care less (he executive produces both). Of course, the triumph of Colbert brings to mind all of the shows that failed to win that time slot. I’d list them all here, but that might give the impression someone actually watched them.
“Yes, like last year’s Wedding Crashers, Cohen’s film has ‘rape my dialogue until it is devoid of any humor' written all over it.”
I will, however, give credit to Colin Quinn for his briefly-lived show Tough Crowd. Unfortunately, the show suffered from bouts of hit-or-miss humor during almost every segment. Certainly a show can have segments that bomb, but laughing and jeering during Tough Crowd made me feel more like a like a manic-depressive than my therapist does. While Oprah is giving her audience cars, Quinn has to hand out prescriptions for lithium.
Of course, the week included its share of political news as the Democrats took the House and made a quick run to Home Depot while waiting for Sen. George Allen (R., VA) to finally concede. The Democrats victory was soon followed by the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, which led to the hypothetical highlight of my week. Now, I’m not so concerned about the resignation itself. What made it so memorable is the imaginary gunshot that when off in my head as he closed the tinted doors to his SUV following his press conference. I’m not the only person whose imagination is composed of several seasons of the Sopranos and a biblical study of The Godfather. Though what would have made the hypothetical scene better is if Cheney shot him in the face.
Wrapping up some of the big news of the week is the success of Sacha Baron Cohen’s film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. If you haven’t seen this film by now, chances are you’ve become annoyed by someone who can’t stop quoting it. Yes, like last year’s Wedding Crashers,Cohen’s film has “rape my dialogue until it is devoid of any humor” written all over it. Coincidentally, Cohen’s fiancée is Isla Fisher, the neurotic sister attracted to Vince Vaughn’s character Jeremy in Wedding Crashers.
The film follows the exploits of Cohen character “Borat Sagdiyev” from his HBO series Da Ali G Show. What makes the film such a success is the level of irreverence exhibited by Cohen through his extreme devotion to the naïveté of his characters. Just as Ali G presented grave ignorance in a manner that was humorous and surprising, Borat brings out many of the cultural problems that lie beneath the surface and puts them directly on the big screen.
Oddly, the comedian in Cohen isn’t so much genius as it is fearless. There’s nothing like anti-Semitic humor from a Jewish actor to make you think for a moment, to laugh, and to become more understanding yourself. It’s not the dawn of some “new age of understanding,” but who knows what the next week may bring. In the meantime, check out my humor blog over at “Is It True What They Say About a Black Man’s Blog Size?”