Fighting Back In Comedy Land
Obviously, when a certain late night talk show host uses my material it’s always a rush. Of course, there are jokes that I’m more proud of than others.
There’s one where I didn’t feel anything at the time, but it’s since gone on to mean a lot to me, because it occurred after 9/11. Needless to say the comedy world shut down after that dreadful morning. I was writing jokes when the towers were hit, and everything in my business just stopped. The next week, Letterman returned on Monday with a heartbreaking speech. That was the show when Dan Rather came on and started crying. Dave skipped the comedy monologues for days and slowly worked back into it from the desk.
Jay had come back the Tuesday after 9/11 with his own speech, and on Wednesday – 8 days out – he tried what I believe was the first monologue on TV since it all happened. His first joke that night was mine: “This is a bad stretch for comedy, but we’ve had other bad stretches. Remember that time President Clinton stopped dating for 3 weeks?” It got a “hurts-to-laugh” kind of chuckle, and sitting at home - devastated like everyone else - I said out-loud, “Take that Osama.” I had written the first televised monologue joke since 9/11, something that I’m very proud of now.
These days I like to sound off on the Bush administration. I’d prefer it if I could just love and respect the President, but I believe this is a time when Americans should stand up for this country in as many different ways as we can. We’re under siege here by our own leaders. Someone didn’t study how America is supposed to work in social studies class, and we’re all paying a price. I’m freaked about the strong possibility of war in Iran, which could go nuclear and lead to oil at 200-a-barrel. These are heavy times.
This week we learned that the President leaked sections of intelligence documents to the press – intel that had already been discredited elsewhere. He might be in the clear legally as he says he declassified them first, but hearing him come out and condemn the leaks and vow to catch the leaker was deeply shabby as he knew he was talking about himself.
I wanted to weigh in. My joke last night was, “Why can’t he leak stuff
that can help us? Like warn us when Dick Cheney’s going hunting again?”
Perhaps Americans are becoming increasingly fed up – the joke got strong applause, maybe the best of the night.
This gave me that feeling again. I might be suffering through these times along with everyone else, but I’m not going to stand by silently. The greatest country on earth is in trouble - we can't just watch and wait.