The problem in America is that we don’t seem to recognize humor when it stares us in the face. We have become too serious and earnest at things that should make us howl with laughter.
This thought occurred to me when I began binge-watching Schitt’s Creek.
If you haven’t seen it, do. If you have seen it, try to imagine having a serious argument about which character is dopier, which character is funnier, and which character could be President of the United States based on the intelligence of the American voter.
In real life, they all are thespians who pretend to be nincompoops, who pretend to be serious.
And that is exactly what we have in Washington, DC, — actors who perform like nincompoops, who pretend to be serious — and that also is what seems to merit SERIOUS DISCUSSION.
Consider the plot of a recently canceled TV show:
It begins with the lead role, a hapless guy named “Tramp.” He is the ne’er-do-well son of a rich crook, recovering from 3 marriages, multiple liasons with hookers, and six bankruptcies.
This boob has tried everything to make money, including a phony university, a crooked charity, and multiple useless products all named after him — water, steaks, airlines, hats, candy, alcohol.
To aid his efforts, he has surrounded himself with an assemblage of the most comical nutballs ever to flunk out of elementary school.
There’s a rumpled guy named “Bannon,” who lives in a chicken coop.
There is someone named “Carson,” a token person of color, who sleeps 23 hours a day.
“Price” is a blowhard who preaches against “fiscal irresponsibility run amok” while stealing millions from the government.
“Manafort” the bumbling tax cheat who keeps getting caught, is joined in the low-life ensemble by an enormous company of jesters and crooks, among whom are: “Stone,” “Cohen,” “Flynn,” “Gates,” “Testa,” “Collins,” “Papadopoulos,” “Hunter.” “Sater,” “Stormy,” and the loathsome “Epstein,” who was dropped from the troupe on sex charges.
Each brings their own brand of humor to the party:
All Tramp’s businesses fail of course, but in failing, all are riotously hilarious. He even manages to screw up gambling casinos, which in the real world, is almost impossible to do.
Tramp has male children whom he loathes, plus two female children, one whom he lusts after, in the most obvious ways — a bit of offbeat humor.
By accident, Tramp becomes the star of an insipid show called, “The Apprentice Sucks Up.” It’s a show in which Tramp, despite all his business failures, now pretends to be a rich, brilliant businessman. He even publishes books about his great business acumen, though he himself barely can read, much less write a book.
The idea of the show is for woeful losers to compete to become the incompetent businessman’s “apprentice” (whatever that means), based on the winner’s ability to “win” (whatever that means) the most cockamamie, ridiculous competitions one can imagine.
The contestants are charged with supposedly business-related responsibilities like cupcake decorating, getting lost guiding tourists around London, or selling a poisonous cleaning solvent to pedestrians.
You might ask what these activities have to do with being a businessman’s “apprentice,” but that is the whole point. NOTHING makes any sense at all.
During the final five minutes of each episode, the plump and pompous Tramp strides in grimly, carrying a golf club (Tramp never smiles in this comedy show), plops himself down, growls some playground insults at the contestants, then dramatically points his tiny finger at one, and gravely announces, “You’re fired.”
It’s a show within a show because the kicker is that Tramp somehow falls into becoming President of the United States. You’ll recognize the plot. It is a ripoff of the comedic Peter Sellers movie, “Being There“ — an incompetent rising far, far above his abilities.
The sole difference: The Sellers character was a nice, honest person. The Tramp character is pure rotten.
And that all is just the foundation.
Then we get to the truly hilarious stuff.
One of the Senators in Tramp’s party, a great suck-up admirer of the President, announces that California wildfires are caused by lasers from space operated by a Jewish billionaire. Why Jewish? Why space lasers? In this show, you do not ask”Why?” You just sit back and laugh.
At one point, Tramps’ favorite daughter, who has her plastic face and figure touched up before each episode, starts a business that — you guessed it — fails.
Then there is the squirrely TV network, Fox Alternative News (FAN), whose slogan is, “We give you the alternative facts you want to hear.” It’s a take on the old TV sitcom, “WKRP In Cincinnati,” equally idiotic, except meaner.
FAN’s “opinionators” (“Our opinion is your opinion.”) run a segment known as “FANtasy” in which they defend everything the Tramp character does and says, no matter how deranged or crooked. You’ll crack up hearing the convoluted defenses they present, while his brain-dead followers stand in the audience, cheering in agreement.
(It turns out that the red dye in the hats Tramp’s followers wear, has seeped into their brains, causing them to believe Tramp is God. Silly, but somehow droll.)
One FAN guy’s name is Tucker, who claims to be “As honest as your mother,” so he’s known as Mother Tucker. And there’s the dippy, echoes-between-the-ears Laura, and funniest of all, Sean, he of perpetual snide sarcasm.
They form perhaps the most outrageously humorous trio on TV since the three stooges, except Moe, Curly, and Larry were brighter. The FAN people try to be SERIOUS, but they come off as pitiful and snarky.
As a side note, a Washington newspaper keeps a metronomic count of Tramp’s lies, an astounding 35,000 and rising rapidly — which comes to one lie every hour, every day, every night, and every holiday, for four years.
He does all this lying while munching deep-fat, fried chicken nuggets. The audience finds that so many lies coming from a greasy, crumb-covered face to be gut-busting. Literally.
At every lie, the camera pans to a group of toothless fools who nod dumbly while waving swastika-decorated Confederate flags and screaming “USA.” You’d have to see it to understand why it’s so funny.
And there is the “Q” group assuring its thousands of demented followers that, the opposing party is kidnapping babies and eating them. Thankfully, the eating scene never is shown, but Tramp’s followers intone, “MAGA, MAGA,” possibly imitating swallowing sounds.
You’ll love the repeated scenes of Tramp demanding loyalty from an incompetent acolyte,, then throwing the acolyte under a bus. I believe this is an inside joke because his followers understand it, though no one else does.
All of this is done in perfect deadpan, which of course adds to the gag.
You’ll enjoy the unforgettable scene of Tramp voting by mail while simultaneously claiming that mail voting is crooked. That one is a real knee slapper.
The main quibble about this comedy is that many of the situations are so ridiculous and unbelievable that the humor falls flat. Real humor requires some edge of truth; this has very few.
One cute scene that long will be remembered shows the President urging his followers to march on Congress, and telling them “I will lead you.” Then as they march off determinedly, he jumps into a car and goes the other way. Great comic timing on that one.
But immediately afterward, we see the group attack Congress, being led by a semi-naked guy wearing horns on his head. Too ridiculous and unrealistic to be funny. Obviously, it never could happen.
Meanwhile, we repeatedly cut to the VERY SERIOUS MEDIA having VERY SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS about whether Tramp’s conspiracy theorists should be expelled from Congress, have their Twitter accounts closed, or be assigned to leadership posts on key committees. The FAN opinionators opt for the latter.
Now, imagine the opinionators having SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS and learned debates about aliens, Illuminati, reptilian humanoid shape-shifters, human-initiated contact with extraterrestrials, UFOs, astrotheology, alien moon bases, soul farming, and other zaniness the GOP believes. It’s just part of the show.
The running joke through all the nuttiness: Tramp’s followers continue to take him VERY SERIOUSLY, and his political party continues to invent serious, weird excuses for all his crazy, bumbling behavior.
It’s all so hyper-crazy that though it is extraordinarily funny, in a slapstick way, it begins to wear thin after a while, so the show will not be picked up for a second season.
My suggestion: Just sit back and enjoy the performances. You never will see anything as funny, again.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.
The most important problems in economics involve:
- Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
- Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
- Eliminate FICA
- Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
- Social Security for all or a reverse income tax
- Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
- Salary for attending school
- Eliminate federal taxes on business
- Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
- Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
- Federal ownership of all banks
- Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.