Pardon our rant, but in an otherwise interesting piece about how British comedians are making a killing in America by eviscerating our idiot nation, The Daily Beast’s Sean Macaulay takes things just a little too far:
“Just as white liberals went to see Richard Pryor in the ’70s to expiate the sins of racism in a safe environment, so a certain kind of educated American goes to obnoxious British comedians to feel better about having bullied and tortured and killed the rest of the world.”
Richard Pryor was black man pouring his heart out about his struggles with racism and the anger he felt because of them. His act was intimate and personal. Much of his white audience had probably never had a real conversation with a black person, let alone have him open up his soul. It was a chance for suburban white folks to see a story they’d never heard before, told in person.
Ricky Gervais, John Oliver and the rest are funny, but the U.K. was our partner in crime for most of America’s most recent disastrous foreign adventures. Getting geo-political absolution from the British is like seeking the confessional of a known child molester priest.
And while “Bruno” and Showtime’s new series “La La Land” get mileage out of mocking America’s vacuous celebrity culture and our sleazy showbusiness elite, it’s not like the entertainment business in the U.K. is any less shallow or mercenary. That’s what Gervais’ show “Extras” was about.
America’s educated elite likes Gervais because he reinforces their preexisting notions of superiority. In their minds, the America Gervais is talking about is occupied by big dumb Texans, not Harvard grads with degrees in Latino gender politics.