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- Doing puzzles
Now, these are just darn funny.
On the heels of his public apologies and visit to Nashville, Tenn.
He comically cautioned against dating women with "retarded kids" and joked about once romancing "a cripple" with a prosthetic arm. : Tracy Morgan apologizes in Nashville for anti-gay remarks. Those zingers would likely have gone unappreciated by anyone other than the crowd at Manhattan's Caroline's comedy club. But a New York Times article shared his performance with the civilized world. An advocacy group for the disabled swiftly blasted his remarks as "far too offensive to be excused as comedy" and called for his immediate apology.
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Are other social-advocacy groups already lying in wait, positioned to insert Morgan's next round of offending remarks in a statement demanding from him yet another display of contrition, should that group's chosen cause be next on his hit list?
And will special-interest groups begin monitoring his concerts, to make sure no insensitive remarks made in the confines of a comedy club before consenting adults go unheard, and uncondemned, by the outside world? Should a commission be formed, maybe on the model of the once-indomitable Motion Picture Production Code, to make sure comedians heed a proper standard of conduct and avoid the risk of hurting anybody's feelings?
The goal of comedians is tricky and elusive to achieve: to be funny, reliably funny, in a world where disagreement reigns not only about what's funny and what isn't, but about what should and shouldn't be off-limits to humorists.
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And comedians, by their very nature, offend. Morgan crossed the line - somebody's line, anyway - in Nashville when he joked that he would "pull out a knife and stab" his son if the kid confessed to being gay.
At least one of the willing ticketholders didn't like the joke and said so on his Facebook. Morgan's mockery of the disabled last weekend hasn't triggered nearly so loud an outcry. But beyond simply dismissing what he said as unfunny, why would anybody pay it any notice at all?
Adam Carolla is one observer who wonders what all the fuss is about.
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Tracy Morgan is a little bit nuts. And Tracy Morgan does a show for people who enjoy Tracy Morgan. Maybe it's not meant for everybody. Carolla is a radio and TV personality and comedian who currently hosts a popular talk-show podcast. And he's been embroiled in his own handful of past controversies for on-the-air remarks.
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I do think there should be a different set of standards for bosses, politicians and cops, versus comedians and talk show hosts. But are you saying people can be that easily swayed? For a comedian, the bottom line is being funny, and Carolla notes that a "normal" view of life doesn't always serve the cause of humor. Harry Shearer thinks almost anything, no matter how deviant, can generate laughs.
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That is, if it's properly finessed. That's your job: to go to that space and find the thing that is funny. And it's an adolescent reaction just to say, 'Look at this grisly act. I'm going to make fun of it.
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And then, as if by ritual, apology must follow. Shearer knows all about apologies.
An actor, humorist, Spinal Tap member and voice artist for "The Simpsons," he is also the creator-host of "Le Show," a public radio hour of satire and commentary that gathers "The Apologies of the Week" from public figures of all stripes and every week, there are plenty. I'll say something that will piss you off. You'll get upset and make a stink.
And then we go around again. For an entertainer, it can be a double blessing, Shearer says: First, you get attention for the act deemed offensive; then you get more publicity for saying you're sorry.
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So Shearer isn't shedding tears for Tracy Morgan or any comic whose pursuit of laughs lands him or her in a high-profile jam. Please enter address to continue. Please enter valid address to continue. Chrome Safari Continue.
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