Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Little Feat

I have no idea what Rich Little's politics are, nor do I particularly care. I'm not even sure that his apparent lack of current hipness is even relevant, given the gig. Stephen Colbert's truth-to-power moment proved to be so much bigger than even he probably anticipated. Not only did he ably vocalize the frustration so many people feel at this administration's profound contempt for the clear majority of this country and the world, he exposed the soft underbelly of the cocktail-weenie journamalism schmoozefest. Their defensiveness about what is nothing more than a useless pro forma circle-jerk event told the tale. They do not afflict the comfortable, they go to black-tie affairs with them, and swap trophy wives. Colbert told them exactly how useless they really are, and more importantly, how that very uselessness has translated into tangible harm for, say, the 290 million Americans living outside the Beltway.

Rich Little will not do any of those things, which makes him perfect for the gig. That's not a slam on Little; he does what he does, and this is the ideal event for it. The attendees like to tell themselves and each other what a wonderful sense of humor each of them possesses (see Cohen, Richard Dice for further edification), but in fact they cannot stand being told the truth about themselves, and their cheaply-auctioned souls. There are exceptions, but in the aggregate the "professionals" have failed miserably, and are being shown up with great regularity by the pajamahadeen. It's gotta be downright embarrassing after several years of consistently being behind the analytical curve, and failing to realize that it's because their vaunted objectivity has been irretrievably co-opted.

And I think there's yet another reason they went with Little:

Scully acknowledged that Little is "not hip. But the other thing you have to keep in mind is that we don't have a half-million dollars to get Will Ferrell."

Scully said even President Bush asked a few years ago, but Ferrell declined. And what Billy Crystal wanted was "exorbitant." The organization has only in the low five figures to spend.

David Letterman? "We asked. He will not do it," Scully said. He even sent a Top Ten list of why David Letterman should perform.

Chris Rock? "We asked him the last three years, and he said he's doing movies."

Jon Stewart? Didn't want two Comedy Central guys in a row. Jay Leno has worked this room before a lot, too. "Jerry Seinfeld would have been a great guy to do it," Scully said, "but he doesn't do political humor and doesn't like doing political events."

No one else wanted to touch the gig. Can you blame them? Who would want to emcee two groups of crybabies as they pretend to stroke each other?

Rich Little is funny, and he's a gifted mimic. He'll do fine. I look forward to hearing his Paul Lynde impersonation. It will be finely crafted Pepto-Bismol for all the upset tummies in the audience. I never turned to the stupid WHCD for anything edgy anyway; it's an event which, like its participants, keeps lurching toward the reliquary.

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