Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Dec 10, 2013

Gene's next monthly chat is next Tuesday, January 7 at noon. You may submit questions here.

- Want to find out what you're missing? Check out Gene's November live chat to get an idea of how the monthly chat works.

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

Greetings, update readers.

I watched a good deal of The Redskins ghastly game on Sunday, and have an observation that I haven't seen elsewhere.   At the moment I turned on, the Redskins were down 31-0 in the second quarter, but had just scored.  The score was now 31-6, awaiting an extra point.  A lost game.  A disgraceful game.  And the camera panned to the stands in time to see a whole bunch of fans singing and dancing and chopping to "Hail to the Redskins."

THAT is why the Redskins suck.  The Redskins have a crappy, cold-blooded, egomaniacal, greedy owner, who looks at that little display of pathetic misplaced kick-me joy and thinks everything is just swell.  His fan base is confirming they'll take anything.  To him they are useful idiots, besotten with their team however mediocre they are. He knows he has them. 

Sure, they'll leave in droves in bad weather in an unwinnable game, but that doesn't strike fear in him.  What would strike fear in him would be if this was New York.  Fans there would not do a dance to victory on the bad end of a blowout.

In the 1970s, when the Giants team had hit rock bottom, a group of fans got together to hire a crop duster to drag a banner over the stadium at game time, during another loss.  It said "Fifteen years of bad football... we've had enough."   Fans in the stands --there were 24,000 no-shows" -- began chanting "We've had enough."  They hanged a dummy of the owner in effigy.  The Giants started getting good the next year. 

The Skins need some of that outrage.  It's the only language Dan Snyder will understand.  


The fans in D.C. need to break free of the Stockholm Syndrome.   You should hate your team when they suck, and injure you year after year.   If you have season tickets, you shouldn't go.   Things will right themselves if Snyder starts worrying about the bottom line.

At the very least, I suggest Skins fans change the chant that they make after a meager score in a blowout game against them:  

Hail to the Redskins !
I'll take this like a sap ! 
Hail to the Redskins !
(Fap fap-fap fap fap-fap-fap-fap fap.)

Now, I want to leave this update with a bit of internet-inspired lunacy.   The Web has enabled a new form of time-wasting, the chain-of-consciousness search.  Where you start with one thing, and wind up, entertained, in a completely different place.

Not long ago I stumbled on the fact that Marlon Brando had been a very close friend of Wally Cox, a man who specialized in playing the four-eyed geek, and who would be the last person you'd associate with Brando.

That took me to examining the life of Cox, who, it turned out, was an expert yodeler, and who made his fame with a bizarre novelty recording of "There is a Tavern in the Town,"  which I link to here, set as the sound track to a scene in a dreadful drama starring Wally.

This led to my listening to the lyrics of "There Is a Tavern," in which I discovered it is actually about a lover's suicide, and conceivably about gay love.

And finally, just noodling away the time, I came upon one of the more remarkable recordings ever.  It was Rudy Vallee, in 1938, singing "Tavern," which is also called "The Drunkard Song."   What happened here is unintentional.  Vallee became overcome with the cheesy corniness of the song, and, teased on by the backup singers, totally loses it.  But he gamely pressed on to the end!   And they were going to throw out the recording -- he recorded a second a few minutes later, mostly soberly -- but some marketing genius said, let's send out the first one, too.  It became a runaway hit.  Here it is.

Is this funny? I read it in a tweet and I must admit, I laughed., Mostly in shock, but I still laughed. "Are you an angel that fell from heaven? Because you were unconscious when I was raping you" The message is horrible and the joke is at the expense of the victim, but the contrast between the two lines got me. What do you think?

And before I go -- we're retiring for the holidays, next chat on January 7 -- I will answer this question.

I think this fails the first test of edgy humor, so nothing else matters and we needn't even engage the issue of taste.  It's not objectively funny enough, because it's internally weak.  I get the colossal clash of opposite tones, but that doesn't really make up for odd logic: Why would a fallen angel be unconscious, or, rather, why would an unconscious person be likely to be a fallen angel?   It is missing a step.   Yes, I am being very literal, but humor is a harsh taskmaster.  

Having failed question one, all else is moot. 

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

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