Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No Rimshot

Glenn Beck has a lot to learn about how to tell a joke.

Basically there are two types of jokes. There’s the long, elaborate set-up, famous among some comedians like Bill Cosby who, especially in his early career, would go to great lengths to describe the scene and build you up for the punch line; i.e his Fat Albert stories. Then there’s the Henny Youngman one-liner: “Take my wife. Please.” Either way, though, the most important thing is that you have to somehow let your audience know that you are setting them up for a joke. If not, people will think you’re serious and then they will take you seriously. And if you have to come back with, “Hey, it was a joke!,” you failed miserably because…if you have to tell people it was a joke in the first place, then you’ve missed the point.

So I guess that’s what happened to Glenn Beck yesterday:

When I say on the air, and I’ve said it a lot lately, that we need to come together and we need to get back into the center, we’re being pushed on to the edges — I want you to understand, that is not on policies. I don’t mean that we come in the center on policies. We come to the center on principles. We come back to the center of the melting pot, that we’re all one America, that just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean you hate America, and I love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function, what we should do, big government, small government. It doesn’t mean you hate America. I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.

The problem was that there was no one there to cue the rimshot from the drummer (“Ba-dum-bum”) that often accompanies the punchline because no one knew that he was trying to be funny.

Or he’s just an asshole. [Rimshot]