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A Comic Shall Lead Them

Dave Randall

Posted on May 6, 2018 18:02

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Comedians' pointed punchlines continue to be our defense against apathy in the face of political obfuscation. There are some voices, though, that are missed.

During the third-party presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot in 1992, I had a usually clear-minded friend tell me he was rooting for Perot to win. "The better to make sport of!" was his rationale. Comic minds have always risen to an easy task when eccentrics or incompetents have assumed power. Today, comedians shout hosannas of thanksgiving to whatever deity controls this country's political destiny. Not only are they supplied fodder on what seems like an hourly basis, they revel in offering clear voices that dissipate the fog of B.S.

Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Jimmy Kimmel, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Trevor Noah and the recently (and undeservedly) admonished Michelle Wolf are doing what comedians have done going back to Till Eulenspiegel: shooting holes into the pompous penumbra of political charades, and more specifically, the surreal machinations of President Trump and the revolving door of hacks and sycophants that make up his administration. 

There are voices missing from the daily fray — the entertainers who stepped away from their posts at the ramparts and who still find a way to get their digs in. David Letterman has his interview series on Netflx. Jon Stewart emerges on Colbert's Late Show when the audacity of what's transpiring proves too sumptuous a target for him to ignore. Jay Leno, who'd perform standing at a urinal if it meant a laugh, is invited by ol' speak-no-evil Jimmy Fallon back to The Tonight Show, from time to time, to do a monologue. Dennis Miller and his thousand-dollar words used to be objective in his take-downs, but he now occupies a position as avatar of, and apologist for, the right. He'd be a lot funnier he used his brilliant words as a machete against this current political buffoonery. Instead, he snarky.

There are comedians who have passed on, comics I wish would have had a chance to step up and take a swing at these current fat pitches and shake those in danger of being fooled back to reality. You might recognize the names:

Johnny Carson

Between 1962 and 1992, a zinger from Johnny during his monologue could cause any politician to sweat til his favorite day pads took on the consistency of potato chips; they knew they weren't getting away with anything. I knew a friend of the stylist who cut Johnny's hair late in his life. Watching a convention in 2000 while getting a trim, Carson aimed a barb at the nominee as he gave his acceptance speech: "That's all fine … but what the $#%# are you gonna do for the country?" Retired, but still engaged.

Robin Williams

Brilliant, his mind whirring like the blades of a helicopter, he could pop a pompous bubble with one fast-moving, well-aimed dart.

George Carlin

In latter years, his writing was like algebraic problems where X equaled a shot to dilettantes and politicians.

Though their heirs get the job done, what fun they would have had with The Donald.

Dave Randall

Posted on May 6, 2018 18:02

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Source: Television

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