It's a great piece; he's a sharp guy and has a lot to say on a lot of subjects, all of it worthwhile.
My favorite bit:
Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.
So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
The bit I'd quibble with is his assertion that Jon Stewart is funnier than Dennis Miller or Bill Maher because he's closer to the American center politically. I think the reason Stewart is funnier than those guys is that he's closer to the American center TEMPERAMENTALLY. Those two guys are smug assholes; Stewart is a nice guy.
Now, I DO think politics play into it a bit, and Rich tried to lead Rock toward this point but Rock didn't really go for it.
In Miller’s case, do you think that identifying with those in power is an impediment to laughter?
I’ll say this. Poor people laugh harder than rich people. Especially black people, they laugh with their feet, too.
I think Rich has the right of it: conservative humor is inherently unfunny because it entails siding with the big guy and mocking the little guy. That's not funny, it's just cruel.
Comedy is, often, about seeing the little guy triumph over the big guy, at seeing the people in power laid low and ordinary slobs achieve victory. Or, at minimum, seeing people do socially unacceptable things without experiencing social consequences.
As Mark Evanier likes to say, conservative humor is like making a Marx Brothers movie and trying to make Margaret Dumont the funny one.
That's not to say conservatives are unfunny. Conservatives who I think are funny include Kelsey Grammer, Drew Carey, Mike Nelson, Jackie Mason, and Ben Stein, off the top of my head. It's not that conservatives aren't funny, it's that conservatism isn't.