The Al Franken Millennium
Robert M. Price
Once a few years ago my daughters asked me what they ought to tell kids at school who asked them what religion we belong to. I told them, Saturday Night Live. Just kidding, but I said it because we were such devotees for many years and constantly punctuated every conversation with gems from Beldar Conehead, Matt Foley, Nat X, or the Church Lady. My favorites were Dan Ackroyd, Phil Hartman, and Chris Farley. Jeannine Garofalo wasnít on the show for long, but I found her rather chucklesome. Alex Baldwin, though usually considered a dramatic actor (I love him in The Shadow), was often on the show, and he was always hilarious. And Al Franken, a staple of the show for decades, is great. You know, Stuart Smalley.
But in the last couple of years Baldwin, Garofalo, and Franken have begun to spout wild-eyed Leftism like a lawn sprinkler sprays water. I am a Republican and a George W. Bush fan, so I find what they say distasteful. I donít mean a Democrat could not find ample material with which to criticize the President, but these clowns havenít. Itís all vitriol. And yet it is so far-fetched, so full of absolutely crazy invective, that I cannot bring myself to take it seriously enough to get mad!
And thatís good! Because I donít like to let political issues cloud my enjoyment of their comic talents! When I see certain famous Democratic senators from New York or Massachusetts, I do not hesitate to fire a series of shocking invectives at the TV screen. My family will attest to that. But I donít want to feel that way when Iím watching reruns of my favorite comedy show! And I donít! You donít need to, either. Let me explain why.
Donít you feel it is kind of pathetic when these celebrities speak on political matters as if they knew what they were talking about and expected to be taken seriously by their fans? They are like the guy in the commercial who says, "Hi! Iím not really a doctor, though I play one on TV. But thatís not stopping me from trading on appearances to manipulate you into buying these headache pills!" Their screen expertise doesnít give them any justified clout in an unrelated area. And youíre a fool if you think it does.
But it works the other way around, too! Where they are showing their genuine expertise, for example, on Saturday Night Live, Iím not going to let their irrelevant political views make me think their jokes are not funny! That would be just as stupid! Itíd just be the negative version of the confusion they are trying to get you to fall for. Just because theyíre funny, theyíre not necessarily politically savvy. And just because politically theyíre wrong, doesnít mean theyíre not funny. Clear thinking means that the one aspect must be kept separate from the other. So keep laughing!
Youíd be crazy to come hear me sing. Iím no singer. And Iíd be crazy to take seriously the loony views of Franken and his pals. As far as Iím concerned, theyíre just indulging in political karaoke.
Robert M Price
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