Hey there ‘Redheads… Sorry about the blog drought. While I want to keep up the regular posting, I also want to make sure I actually have content for you. Well, I don’t say this often, but thank you to Will Ferrell for providing. It was announced yesterday that he’ll be the recipient of the 14th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. You read that right. Will Ferrell. I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of Will Ferrell. As a comic actor he is one-note, and that note is stupidly loud. So, rather than launch into a biased tirade about it, I’m going to hand things off to my comedy buddy, the reasoned and insightful Randolph Terrance, and allow him to retort…
On October 23, 2011 at 7 p.m The Kennedy Center will present the 14th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. This prestigious award “recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said, ‘Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.'” Last years recipient of the prize was Tina Fey. Most of you know how I felt about her getting it, if you don’t go back and read the note that I wrote about it. This years recipient is Will Ferrell. Will Ferrell. When I found this out the first thing I thought was “Here we go again.” Will Ferrell does not deserve this award. Not yet. Not by a long shot. This is not to say he is not funny, of course he is. Anything he is in is made better by his presence. Sketch. Movie. Stage. Interview. He is the goods, and he DOES NOT deserve this award anymore than Tina Fey did. Go back and read what this award is supposed to be about, “…recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain.” This is directly off the website by the way. Are we to HONESTLY believe that Will Ferrell has had that kind of impact yet? “Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly.” Again, right off the website. Is this what Will Ferrell was doing when he was running down the street naked in “Old School”? Playing the cowbell on SNL? Or that time he went on Conan in his underwear?
“A fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing” and yet Chris Rock doesn’t have one yet. Nor does Mel Brooks. Or Dick Gregory. Or Jerry Seinfeld. Or Larry David. Or Rosanne. Or Carol Burnett. All of these people changed comedy in ways both big and small. Dick Gregory was the first black comedian to talk directly to a white audience. It wasn’t allowed. He changed it, and by doing this he changed all of show business. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created one of the most successful and iconic sitcoms in history. Larry did it twice. Mel Brooks came up with ground breaking movies dealing with topics and themes like racism, WWII, and the persecution of Jews at a time when people were running away from any of these topics. Carol Burnett and Rosanne were ground breakers who paved the way for damn near any woman involved in comedy on television right now. This is just a small sampling of people who have changed comedy and society and haven’t received this “prestigious” award. I could name more but what good would it do? Some of you reading this do not agree with me. You would be wrong. For this man to receive this award at this time cheapens it. I said this last year when Tina Fey received it and many people said to me “But she is funny for my generation…” So what? Without the people whom I listed she wouldn’t even been here, and neither would Will Ferrell because those others, and many more, are the inspiration that make all of this possible. I say again, who gets it next? Tracy Morgan? Alec Baldwin? Sandler? Everyone is on the table.
See you Monday.