Wanda Sykes told the WHCInsider Saturday night that she was told not to use the F or N words, but was her comedy routine too tough on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others?
“Lost in the frenzy is the more important matter of our thin-skinned intolerance and our reflexive lurch to take offense. We might remind ourselves that it’s always the fanatics who can’t take a joke”, from the last line of Kathleen Parker’s, Washington Post column today.
by Kathleen Parker (Washington Post)
Which is why we probably shouldn’t quarterback a comedian over coffee when she was performing for a crowd primed on cocktails.
That reasonable rule seems not to apply, however, when the venue is the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and one of the revelers happens to be the president of the United States. Whether he laughs, smiles or frowns carries political freight far beyond the moment.
Washington buzz lately has become a buzz saw.
In the days since the correspondents’ dinner, reaction to Barack Obama’s reaction to Wanda Sykes’s one-liners has resembled a confederacy of scolds. What dreary, sensitive wretches we’ve become.
Do I think Sykes was a monument to hilarity? No, but she was funny much of the time. Do I think her now-infamous Rush Limbaugh jokes were over the top? Yeah. That’s a comedian for you. Do I think her performance — and Obama’s apparent amusement — marks the decline of civilization? This is hardly a new development.
I do think we take ourselves far too seriously — and literally.
For those who’ve somehow managed to avoid the controversy, Sykes joked that Limbaugh, whom she compared to Osama bin Laden, might have been the 20th hijacker, but was “just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight.” She also suggested that Rush might be guilty of treason for hoping Obama’s policies fail.
In a final flourish, she said: “Rush Limbaugh, ‘I hope the country fails’ — I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs a waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”
Ho-ho-ho. The audience did not, in fact, roar with laughter, at least not compared to other jokes during the evening. From where I sat, most who laughed were reacting to the outrageousness of the “joke.” Even Sykes acknowledged that she’d gone too far, but noted that we’d be talking about it later. She got that part right. [Read more…]