Monday, April 23, 2007

Rich Little Bombs

"Budger of history Brake of time You Bomb" -- Gregory Corso, Bomb.

What good is an Empire if it does not have a commensurate Satirist to provide Imperial Burlesque? Athens had Aristophanes; Rome had Juvenal; and we, inheritors of the Ermine Cloak, have ... Rich Fuckin' Little (Said with an air suggesting restrained laughter). Even for C-Span's abysmal weekend programming (Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee Hearings on Manganese modules anyone?), Rich Little's stand-up performance was freakishly suckish on what can only be properly construed, dear reader, as a Cosmic scale. Brobdinangian was his sucky, true believers -- we kid you not. Back in the 1970s, when we -- as a people -- were still rather vague on what "The Funny" actually entailed, Rich Little (And something known as "The Unknown Comic," as well as Freddy Prinze) was a staple of late nights even though he had no goddam business making a living off Comedy. Perhaps everyone was so busy Fucking-on-DiscoDanceFloors (tm), and inquiring "What's your sign," and offering up the rather saucy, "Keep on Truckin'" to notice with the jeweler's eye that the standards of "The Funny" were being defined down.

Even then, when our parents were out at a United Nations function and the babysitter would let us see the Late Show, we wondered, silently, already showing clear signs of a highly evolved sense of Taste: "Why is everyone laughing?" And, "That doesn't even sound like Jimmy Carter (The Corsair casts a look of savage chagrin)."

It was only later, in the rambling woods of our melancholy adolescence (From which, we cannot fail to note, our Savage Good Looks smoulderingly metastasized), that we discovered Holden Caulfield that we realized, with profound sadness, that what passes for the acceptable in bourgois society is quite often mediocre. People will generally laugh at anything if the person next to them is also laughing. It took Rich Little's unmistakably postmodernist piece ("Comedian, Dying") to acutely sharpen our exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment at the arid staleness of Washington society proper. Oh, to see again the theatrical laughter and tears of manufactured mirth as the C-Span camera prowled and panned the stuffed shirts in the audience with camerawork worthy of a perverse Fellini flic. Afterwards, no doubt, a veritable Trimalchio's Feast was enjoyed by the enablers of The Emprie. Says Wonkette, "Mr. Little, the scheduled entertainment for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, made a last-minute decision to forgo being even vaguely funny. So, wisely and tragically, he died."

We almost would have preferred the dulcet, buttery tones of Sanjaya's "Bessame". Almost.



No comments: