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Episode 65 — Computer Strength

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He didn't really make fun of anything specific. All of those tweets could've been changed from Japan to New Orleans and they would've been the same... Whether the jokes were funny or not based on being jokes, that's up to you and your sense of humor.

 

Regardless of being funny or not, that was blown way out of proportion and not was not worth being fired over. I mean, Aflac fires him, gets headlines, and then went out and hired an impersonator to be the duck. They must've really cared about their character since they hired a cheap imitation! Aflac couldn't give a fuck about the Tsunami, they just wanted to be seen as righteous, grab headlines, and save money by paying a fraction of Gottfried's salary to some other guy.

 

 

 

 

He said "Japan" in practically all the jokes, and all the punchlines to the jokes had to do with the fact that there was a tsunami in Japan, a tsunami that ruined and ended lives. How isn't that specific enough? Sure he could've changed them to be about New Orleans, but what does that prove other than that he could've mocked a similar tragedy? Whether or not they're funny based on being jokes? I don't understand what you mean. It's not like there was another level to the jokes to evaluate, a flooded Japan was the butt of every single one of the jokes. If I was the big boss at Aflac I would've fired him too honestly.

 

But my whole point was that being offensive or not to me has nothing to do with the subject matter or timing, and everything to do with what you're trying to say about the subject matter. Matt Besser makes very salient points that need to be considered with his comedy. Gottfried was just exploiting other peoples suffering for some one liners, and I believe he has every right to do that, but it doesn't make him not an asshole.

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I don't understand Matt's point when he said "If I was a writer for SNL, I might say 'too soon' [to the sketch]." If "too soon bugs the crap out of [Matt]" and "is dangerous," how can that be said? That doesn't jive with me. Does that mean that, for wider audiences, "too soon" makes sense? I honestly don't understand that. I would like to hear Matt clarify that point.

Thanks Matt and Andy for the reply. So, I guess it's just a matter of making it super clear what you're saying and that may not be possible on a show with a huge audience and five minute segments? That makes sense. So, it's not so much that it would be too soon for SNL, but it would be near impossible for the format to support what needs to be said in order to be reasonably sensitive.

I would just like to add, and not pile on necessarily, that if you had listened carefully to Matt's 'too soon for SNL' comment, and taken it in, in full, the answer to your question was already in there.

 

Matt: "And there are things that I find are too soon. And you know what? If this show was Saturday Night Live, and I was the head writer, and someone had pitched that same scene on that same day, I might go, 'You know what? A bunch of dummies out in America might take this the wrong way. Let's not do it this week. It's too soon.'"

 

Matt's 'too soon' was not about things being too soon to be funny, or moral, or tasteful. He said it himself:

"When you open it up to a national audience the more abstract the sketch the more likely you are too offend."

 

I would like to ammend his comment and marry it to what he said on the show:

'When you open it up to a national audience the more abstract the sketch the more likely you are to offend dummies (i.e. people who do not understand what is happening).'

 

Matt's 'too soon' example was specific to accomodating dummies when expressing an idea to the masses thru a tv. The wider the net, the more dummies you catch, and the bigger the shit show the dummies will potentially produce. TV is a HUGE net, if not the hugest. There is money and advertisers and more money at stake. Matt's SNL sketch could provoke a swarm of 'righteously indignant' (re: jealosy with a halo) screaming assholes who didn't get the point, and the pressure could force higher ups to bring the axe down on SNL because the dummies have money, there are a LOT of them, and Matt's sketch just jeopardized a profit margin by alienating a target demographic. FUCKING depressing.

 

Like everyone already pointed out, i4h is not SNL, so by and large it's not on dummy-radar (dumdar?), which frees us all up to enjoy the best thing about podcasts: the freedom of expression and potential for intelligent discourse inherent in the medium (any medium, really, but the wider the net, dot dot dot).

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It seemed like once Dave started talking with Matt he slowly realized he hadn't completely thought out where he was coming from but was too stubborn to admit it and just kept repeating the same illogical things over and over again. I might do the same thing in that situation, it's probably intimidating.

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He said "Japan" in practically all the jokes, and all the punchlines to the jokes had to do with the fact that there was a tsunami in Japan, a tsunami that ruined and ended lives. How isn't that specific enough? Sure he could've changed them to be about New Orleans, but what does that prove other than that he could've mocked a similar tragedy? Whether or not they're funny based on being jokes? I don't understand what you mean. It's not like there was another level to the jokes to evaluate, a flooded Japan was the butt of every single one of the jokes. If I was the big boss at Aflac I would've fired him too honestly.

 

Would jokes about a flood be okay if it was the Great Mississippi Flood? It 'ruined and ended lives' 80 years ago.

 

Judging his jokes 'based on being jokes' means take them out of context. If you didn't know about that tsunami, are they funny? I think one was chuckle worthy. They weren't well crafted jokes, just quick twitter jokes.

 

Unless he had some morality clause in his contract, he shouldn't have been fired for tweeting jokes. You can't be fired from an office job for comments you make on youtube. Most people wouldn't even put the name and voice together if the company didn't make a stink about it. I guarantee it was all about money, they were going to pay out a fuckload of insurance money for the tsunami and figured good press in the States would help them out. It's all business.

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P.S.

 

"You know, a cock's more than just a bookmark for a woman's pussy."

"Yeah. Well said, stranger."

 

MIND BLOWN

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Okay. My five favorite black guys are:

 

1. Andre Braugher from Homicide: Life on the Street

2. Yaphet Kotto from Homicide: Life on the Street

3. Clark Johnson from Homicide: Life on the Street

4. Giancarlo Espisoto from Homicide: Life on the Street

5. Richard Belzer from Homicide: Life on the Street

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I'd like to hear Jeff Ullrich on the next Case Closed. He can inform Matt that the calendar is now 7 bucks, not 10. :)

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There's alot to cover in this one. When Matt asks the caller how many days after Newtown would it be appropriate to do a scene or if the scene was about Columbine instead, I can see Matt's point. However, I also see the caller's point because this was a tragedy and it seems disrespectful to me too to make light of it so soon. I don't have an answer for how long the wait should be either, but I understand that feeling because I've had it before listening to other podcasts at times. When Matt presses the caller on how long they should wait and the caller has no answer, Matt does make a point, sort of. The problem is that emotions are by nature irrational; I feel this thing because I feel this thing, it's difficult to articulate that oftentimes and hard to put into words. Matt presses again on the issue of "poor taste" and the caller says it's all subjective, which it is. Sorry Matt, but personal taste is a legitimate gripe on the part of an audience member. On the other hand, I give credit to Matt for pushing the issue because when you press anyone hard on why they think something, you often come to the conclusion that people are just full of shit.

When Matt talks about the media reaction, I don't buy into that argument because it's a false equivalency. The media is supposed to be there to find and report facts, I4H is using this situation to mine out comedy and entertainment, those are apples and oranges.

At around 1:19 Matt and co. talk about "taste" again but I4H is still trying to make comedy out of a situation where 20 children and 6 adults were murdered the day after it happened. I4H is essentially making fun of a mass shooting. Is there no time in our culture anymore to be solemn and to grieve for a moment? Then, I think Matt mentions that the idea of waiting after an event to make comedy from it is "dangerous" but he doesn't say why, so I'm not buying into that idea. Trying to call the caller out because he only mentioned the Sklar bros. as not covering the shooting is ridiculous because I4H is assuming the caller listens to every podcast.

At ~1:22 Matt asks "why not just go hey I didn't like the scene why not keep it to yourself?" On this point, I have an axe to grind. I'm a fan Matt, but fuck you. Here's why: you chose to be an artist, you chose a job that requires an audience that you want approval from. If you are going to accept the positive feedback, such as applause or compliments or whatever, then you MUST accept the fact that nothing any artist is ever going to do is going to please everyone. If you want the approval you have to accept the disapproval too. Or get another job. The caller is entitled to his opinion even though it isn't flattering to you. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum, it's an interplay between artist and audience. If you don't want any criticism, turn the mics off.

At ~1:24 Matt unravels his own defense and proves the caller's point for him. Matt says that no one from Newtown was listening to the podcast so they wouldn't be offended but that is EXACTLY the point of the scene being in poor taste. If Matt had a kid in Sandy Hook who had been murdered, he wouldn't have done the scene. So why is it different when it's someone else's kid? That's a lack of empathy on Matt's part. Matt wants to mine comedy out of a tragedy and it's all fun and games because he isn't personally affected by it, so play ball. But if someone in the audience has empathy or sympathy for the victims and calls Matt out on it, they're just propping themselves up on their own soapbox because they get off on "feeling righteous indignation"? That's bullshit. If Matt can't do that scene for an audience in Newtown then I don't see how he has a leg to stand on to defend his art against an audience who thought it was in poor taste because Matt is admitting by inference that the caller is correct.

All that being said, this episode was otherwise packed with funny and I applaud Matt for having the caller on for an interesting discussion.

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I'm glad this show can have an honest confrontation, and some attempt to be intellectually honest.

 

Not like that Comedy Bang Bang with Scott Aukerman. Everyone there is so passive-aggressive, and the impressions are terrible. Does anyone actually think its funny? The host just lets the guests intrude and totally take control of the show, and it interrupts the flow, and any chance of anything ever going smoothly. I hope I4H never stoops down to that level.

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I just finished listening to the Computer Strength sketch, and I was thinking that this is already looking to be one of the best I4H episodes ever... the amazing calendar ad, Computer Strength... and now a Case Closed that is so potentially contentious that the computer lady warns us not to listen? Woo wee. Listen up, Comedy Bang Bang, Improv4Humans is looking at that #1 spot...

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I'm a fan Matt, but fuck you.

 

Saying "fuck you" probably isn't the best way to engage in a reasonable debate. I know that's one small thing in a much larger post, but it makes your whole tone seem needlessly aggressive.

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What a wild response to this episode in general. The fact that so much discourse has been generated says a lot about the topic and the fans.

 

With sybarite we get another first-poster with a lot to say on the matter.

 

 

When Matt talks about the media reaction, I don't buy into that argument because it's a false equivalency. The media is supposed to be there to find and report facts, I4H is using this situation to mine out comedy and entertainment, those are apples and oranges.

You're right, the media is SUPPOSED to be there to find and report facts, but when they all jump on the wagon to get the best sound byte from a fucking child, I mean ALL news outlets made a show of interviewing kids in a crazy insensitive fashion, that it in and of itself made it a clown show. I'd say it was part "news-searching" and part pandering. If it WAS just about finding and reporting facts then why were reporters stationed ALL day and continuing to report when no new information was coming? They repeated themselves and thought of ways to keep their ratings up. News IS entertainment, at least these days anyway and it's a shame. So instead of apples and oranges it's more like oranges and clementines.

 

At around 1:19 Matt and co. talk about "taste" again but I4H is still trying to make comedy out of a situation where 20 children and 6 adults were murdered the day after it happened. I4H is essentially making fun of a mass shooting. Is there no time in our culture anymore to be solemn and to grieve for a moment? Then, I think Matt mentions that the idea of waiting after an event to make comedy from it is "dangerous" but he doesn't say why, so I'm not buying into that idea.

You missed the point and maybe you don't understand how comedy works for a lot of performers. It can be very different for a creator of comedy vs. a receiver of comedy. A good performer usually processes these things through the medium they know to achieve catharsis. The action of working through this in an act is a method of mourning for performers. I think it was brought up in the podcast that what if a painter did a piece based on Sandy Hook? Where do you draw the line? It's really all or nothing. and nothing is absolutely not a choice. They even said its not making fun OF the mass shooting, but all the wild and crazy bullshit, a lot of the variables, that surrounded it

 

 

Trying to call the caller out because he only mentioned the Sklar bros. as not covering the shooting is ridiculous because I4H is assuming the caller listens to every podcast.

But you DO realize how ridiculous the caller's original statement was, right? "Hey, thanks for not talking about that thing you mentioned that you said you wouldn't talk about. That takes guts." (paraphrased)

 

The caller is entitled to his opinion even though it isn't flattering to you. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum, it's an interplay between artist and audience. If you don't want any criticism, turn the mics off.

You contradict yourself here. Yes, it's an interplay between artist and audience. The caller IS entitled to his opinion, but you're arguing that Besser isn't entitled to challenge that opinion further. That's bullshit.

 

If Matt had a kid in Sandy Hook who had been murdered, he wouldn't have done the scene.

I don't know about that. I can't speak for Besser, but I think you're wrong.

 

 

Matt wants to mine comedy out of a tragedy and it's all fun and games because he isn't personally affected by it, so play ball.

Though you may be technically right in this case, you're wrong overall because obviously you haven't listened to i4h much at all. Otherwise you'd know that he does have a segment "Letters from Matt Besser's Dead Dad" where he mines comedy from the life of his father as a direct means of coping from something that personally affects him. I'm sure it's been cathartic for him, and it sure as hell has delivered some wonderful comedy.

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Yeah this is issue is case closed for me.

Skakesbeard, want to skype into the show and tell you best story?

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I don't agree with the caller that the episode was in poor taste, but I do think he came across as even-handed and calm in the face of four comedians.

 

I personally chose to skip the gun control episode when I saw it pop up. I purposefully didn't read the news or seek out info in any other way about it either. Maybe that makes me overly sensitive, but I can see where the caller was coming from. It's a personal thing, and I don't think it has anything to do with "righteous indignation." And, to speak to Colton Dunn's point, yes, I would be offended if I saw a painting of some kids being murdered going up the next day. It's just not something I want to look at.

 

I'll go back and listen to the podcast at some point, because I love all the people on it. I just didn't need it right then, but I can see why they did it.

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And, to speak to Colton Dunn's point, yes, I would be offended if I saw a painting of some kids being murdered going up the next day. It's just not something I want to look at.

I think that point was more about people who say things can't be a topic for comedy, but they could be a topic for other art forms. Which is something that bothers me a lot.

 

For instance, a dramatic reconstruction of a school shooting could be far more offensive than a comedy sketch, because the dramatic reconstruction is exploiting and manipulating peoples emotions for the purposes of entertainment whilst pretending to be sensitive and informative.

 

Obviously it would depend on what the comedy sketch involves, but just because you can laugh about a topic, doesn't mean you can't have compassion for the people who've been affected by it.

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like i can say anything that hasnt been commented on already haha i love this podcast dearly it gets me through the week along with others but this one especially thanks besser and friends!

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Okay. My five favorite black guys are:

 

1. Andre Braugher from Homicide: Life on the Street

2. Yaphet Kotto from Homicide: Life on the Street

3. Clark Johnson from Homicide: Life on the Street

4. Giancarlo Espisoto from Homicide: Life on the Street

5. Richard Belzer from Homicide: Life on the Street

 

Greatest post in forum history!

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Yeah this is issue is case closed for me.

Skakesbeard, want to skype into the show and tell you best story?

 

Yes. I most certainly would. When/Where and what's the best way to exchange or give you my information?

 

Edit: Never mind. I got the e-mail from Julia. Thank you.

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What sports bar in LA should Eric the Paid Intern go to to interview people during Super Bowl? Is there one that has a patio or is kinda outside (might be better for interviewing)?

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The forum posts in question went down while I was gone so I just wanted to give a thank you and shout out to Pongo for keeping things on topic, and telling people to post in the appropriate threads. It warms my moderator heart.

Thanks I just saw Matt and I4H being unfairly attacked outside of this form and waned to defend him because he couldn't. Not to mention I insanely love this podcast and Matt. So I guess this is perfect for me having a hand in this case closed segment because I don't see myself disagree with Matt on anything, except maybe Avengers, but that has been done already and wouldn't be interesting. Anyway great episode and thanks for the shout out.

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I didn't consider the gun-control episode to be in bad taste but I wonder if it's just because I agree with the viewpoints expressed.

 

Supporting creative endeavors inspired by tragedy gets a little trickier when you disagree with the viewpoint or message of the artist. There's a terrible, terrible poem making the rounds on the Internet that I previously would've classified as in bad taste but I am now reconsidering that as I think it could be argued that it comes from more or less the same place as the gun-control episode (i.e. a heartfelt exploration of feelings and related thoughts reflecting a particular viewpoint)

 

Here's the poem, and I just think it'd be interesting to get some feedback on whether or not it is "bad taste" or not...and if so, what are the implications for Besser's argument?

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Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38,

When 20 beautiful childr

en stormed through heaven's gate.

 

Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.

They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.

They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.

"This is heaven." declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at God's house."

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,

But Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.

Then He opened His arms and He called them by name,

And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.

Those children all flew into the arms of their King,

And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,

One small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.

And as if He could read all the questions she had,

He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of Mom and Dad."

Then He looked down on earth, the world far below,

He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.

Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,

"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"

"May this country be delivered from the hands of fools."

"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"

Then He and the children stood up without a sound.

"Come now my children, let me show you around."

Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.

All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,

"In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

 

Written by Cameo Smith

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Personally, I found Colton Dunn pronouncing "Sklars" with two syllables to be in bad taste. ;)

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