Sometimes Humor is Just Humor (Malkin and NPR Edition)
This weekend, on the NPR comedy news quiz show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! there was a bit that poked a little fun at Michelle Malkin. Malkin is not amused: Hey, NPR: Fund your own lame liberal humor — and leave my family alone.
I get the feeling, however, that Malkin is utterly unfamiliar with the show. The segment in question is a weekly one in which one news story is told alongside two fake news stories and the caller has to pick which one is true. The conceit of the gag is the all of the stories, including the real one, sound so ridiculous that they can’t possibly be true (and yet, one is). All three stories are presented in a somewhat over-the-top fashion. The only commonality is that there is a shared theme. This week’s theme was “stories about people uncovering a secret about their identity” and in the fictional story about Malkin, the alleged discovery was that her grandfather was a closet Muslim. The real story ended up being about a guy finding out that Ted Nugent was his father. The transcript (and a link to the audio) can be found here.
The notion that it might be funny if Malkin’s grandpa might be as secret Muslim is, actually, fairly funny. Further, when taken in the context of three outrageous stories, it is, to my mind, less of a big deal because, again, the point of the gag is that all the stories are absurd. Although I will grant, humor is a very subjective thing.
I actually enjoyed the following, although it is hardly the stuff of high comedy (Jobrani was the one reading the story):
Mr. JOBRANI: Yes, Grandpa Malkin, who is from the Philippines but lives with Michelle’s parents, had not told the family about his religion for fear of being ostracized and thrown out. “Do you know how hard it is to pray five times a day when your family doesn’t know?”
Mr. JOBRANI: “I had to excuse myself to the bathroom every time I wanted to pray.”
Mr. JOBRANI: “And the ham dinners, don’t get me started on the ham dinners.”
Beyond whether it was funny or not, I would note that a) Malkin is a public figure who, b) does have strong opinions, and c) has made a big deal about the threat of Muslims (her concern about Rachael Ray’s scarf in a Dunkin’ Donuts ad comes to mind as a particularly silly example). As such, she is fair game and really, rather than complaining about a fairly innocuous riff (it hardly constitutes an attack on her family), it would probably have been better to take the high road and laugh it off.
Side note: I will confess, in the interest of full disclosure, that I was once the subject of a question on Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me on July 15, 2006, so perhaps I am predisposed to liking it. Getting mentioned was cool, although it would have been infinitely cooler had I been a regular listener to the show at the time. They quoted this post from PoliBlog as part of the news quiz (i.e, who said…?). You can hear it at about the 3:40 march: