I give WaPo “humorist” Gene Weingarten a lot of crap about his weekly column and not to worry, that continues today. I’m first to admit that Weingarten is capable of amazing writing that touches readers on many emotional levels that range from reeling in disgust from his poop humor to laughing at his candor. These days, however, his weekly column rarely reaches such great heights unless he’s writing about or imitating FishbowlDC. It’s recycled jokes, stale bits and observations that only elderly curmudgeons can relate to.
This week is no different as Gene tackles the RED-HOT controversy surrounding The Onion tweeting the dreaded “C-Word” with regards to Quvenzhané Wallis. Yes, THAT controversy from over a month ago. Gene uses it as a launchpad to discuss which jokes are appropriate and inappropriate to make. He writes, “Are there subjects so controversial that you just can’t joke about them? I believe the answer is no. You just have to do it right.” Fundamentally, I agree with Weingarten. You can read my original take on The Onion‘s joke here. So, this week should be easy! Gene and I will agree and we’ll all move on and be besties, right?
Well, not exactly.
To illustrate his point that you can make jokes about anything, Gene lists several “taboo” topics such as The Holocaust, Slavery and 9-11. I’ve heard genuinely funny jokes about all of those topics, so I’m hoping Gene delivers some new material. Here’s his take on The Holocaust:
Q: What is the difference between the Holocaust and that little lip of flab you sometimes see near a lady’s armpit when she’s wearing a sleeveless dress?
A: If you really, really had to, you could probably get away with telling a joke about the Holocaust.
OK, not great. Surely he has better material on slavery, right? Gene writes:
Q: What’s the difference between slavery and higher taxes?
A: If a rock-ribbed conservative congressman said something positive about slavery, he could probably still be reelected.
OK, so it’s basically the same joke. Gene doesn’t even try to offend anyone with his examples, he just pretends that he might. Even when he has a chance to really slay us with a punchline at the end, he takes a tame out:
Q: How is calling a 9-year-old girl a vulgar term referencing female genitalia like a two-hand dunk in a 15-foot-high basketball hoop in Warsaw?
A: Nope. Not even with a 10-foot Pole .
Again, Gene starts off with a good point: NOTHING should be off-limits. But, if you’re a humorist who is going to bat for comedy, try and write something funny.