January 06, 2017
January 06, 2017
Dear Reader (and all the ships at sea),
As Bill Clinton said, as he rapidly flipped through the dog-eared pages of the October 1987 issue of Juggs, “I think I need some new material.”
For starters, I think I need to start picking on someone other than Bill Clinton for my cheap letch jokes (he’s still good for some of my more upscale letch jokes, of course). More broadly, I think I need some new old gags, if I’m going to keep pecking out this “news”letter.
I’ve run into this problem before. For years, when I was speaking to a particularly friendly crowd, I would begin my talk, “I’m happier than Helen Thomas at a Hamas rally to be here tonight.”
First off, it was funny because it was true.
Second, like telling Michael Moore there’s a free Happy Meal in the middle of a frozen Lake Michigan, it was a good way to break the ice.
But Thomas went off to collect her 72 virgins, and the joke not only got stale, but it also became clear that some folks couldn’t immediately remember who Helen Thomas was. Was she one of the Golden Girls? Danny Thomas’s Mother? (“Was that the lawyer who helped those terrorists?” one lady asked me after a speech. I replied, “No, but that’s a good guess.”)
And if the audience can’t catch the reference right away, the joke doesn’t work as well. That’s one of the reasons I’ve had to shelve all those jokes about Milton Berle and Forest Tucker walking into a bar in Nantucket.
So, I’m still searching for a “Happier than . . .” line that works. So far none really sing. Happier than . . . Elizabeth Warren at a sweat lodge, than Harry Reid watching an orphanage fire, than Donald Trump when Arnold Schwarzenegger gets bad ratings on The Apprentice?
Oh, then there’s that problem. There’s a kind of détente between me and a big swath of my “news”letter readership these days. They’ll tolerate my wait-and-see attitude toward Trump, they’ll applaud my attacks on the Left, and — oh yes — they’ll keep coming back for the dog pics. But if I make fun of Trump, suddenly a rightwing form of P.C. humorlessness kicks in. Like the old joke,
Q: “How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”
A: “THAT’S NOT FUNNY!!!”
Making light of the notorious DJT is now somehow beyond the pale for many on the right. That’s gonna get old in a hurry. Sad!
Anyway, as Bill Clinton said to the Vietnamese masseuse when she ended her personal phone call, let’s get back to the issue at hand. I think this “news”letter could use some new gags, maybe some new personalities (“What the Holy Hell, does that mean?” — The Couch), and some new obsessions in 2017.
But that day isn’t today.
FROM THE FREE ZONE