Friday, October 3, 2008

Not amused in Wichita

I'm trying to remember the last time I heard of someone doing a skit in blackface where it didn't provoke a certain amount of outrage. I think I have to go all the way back to 1993, when Ted Danson tried it. Oh, wait: People got mad about that too.

So really, Arkansas City Mayor Mell Kuhn should have seen this coming. Perhaps during early rehearsals for the skit featuring "Smellishis Poon and the Red Hot Poontangs," he might have reflected that comedy relying on racism ceased to be funny about 50 years ago. And that's the bigger crime here: Yeah, it's racially offensive, but what's worse is that there are still people out there who laugh uproariously at this kind of crap. It's a crime against comedy. This is where I need to point out that Mayor Kuhn's skit was named the winner at the fundraiser where it was performed.

The Wichita NAACP is predictably annoyed about this, and they've wrung an awkward apology out of Mayor Kuhn. The mayor, in his defense, cites movies like Norbit and The Nutty Professor as his inspiration. Fair enough. But Mr. Mayor: Eddie Murphy is black. And I shouldn't have to mention that those films weren't funny either.

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