I was actually going to write about this the other day when I noticed The Daily Kos had pointed out Lewis Black’s comments about Rick Santorum back in 2006, and I wanted to bitch about Santorum much more recently. Before I could post it, I got bored with kicking a dumb politician when he’s down, and scrapped the blog post. However, I kept the link. By the way this post is a continuation of a kinda project I’m working on, which I described in detail yesterday so go back to yesterday’s post if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
Here’s the first of my funny jokes written by other people that I wish I had written myself. Lewis Black’s Gay Banditos is actually part of a much longer diatribe that sets Black up as one of the greatest humorists & critics of humanity since Roy Rogers and Mark Twain.
..maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a group of gay bandidos. They travel from village to dell. And as night falls, they travel to that cul-de-sac, where only one house stands. And in the window, you see a family, just setting down to their evening meal. And these queers… these queers… don their black hoods, and matching pumps, very tasteful. Sneak up to the house ever so slightly, open the door, and start… FUCKING EACH OTHER IN THE ASS! AND ANOTHER AMERICAN FAMILY… IS DESTROYED!
This makes my personal fave list cuz it’s the kinda joke that when I hear it delivered I realize irrationally that I’m mad I didn’t do it first. It’s a work of absurdity which is a personal carrot of mine. I’m always looking to find the absurdity in mankind so I can point and laugh at it. Also the visual is staggering. Black takes the silly concept that conservative republicans take as a given and he runs with it in a way that paints an entire short subject film into your mind’s eye. When he describes that little cul-de-sac where only one house stands it harkens back to horror films like Amityville Horror, Psycho, or The House On Haunted Hill.
This is actually several jokes built into one, as many of my favorite jokes are. The comedic punchlines are “gay banditos” which introduces the joke and sets the audience up for the premise, then you got “..these queers!” which is a purposeful repeat of what he just said to highlight with mock disgust the sheer absurdity of this entire concept. “Very tasteful” is arguably the best joke among this structure of jokes because it’s a backhanded delivery, built into the stereotypical acceptance of the moment. We’re talking about gay banditos naturally they’d be concerned about how they’d look. Now, this is in and of itself a form of prejudice assuming that all gay men are fashion conscious. They’re not, but the audience in general will accept that they do, and an important aspect of humor as a stand up comic is accepting not just what you find funny, but what your audience will find funny.
The final punchline is actually two in one. He ends it by allowing the conservative family fearmongers to have their way. The worst possible scenario, “and another american family is destroyed.” But is it? How? How is it destroyed?
Lewis Black has built up this need for a punchline of some sort. The joke itself is a kind of bastardized metaphor for sex. Perhaps all jokes are, and perhaps Gene Perret suggested people like me dissect jokes like this so we realize disturbing facets of our own psyche but I digress. There’s the premise in every joke, a mutually agreed upon situation introduced by the comedian that the audience either goes with or they leave the room. This is much like when two people are negotiating whether or not they’re gonna have sex. One person initiates the concept and the other person either accepts the advance or rejects him. That’s how a premise works in comedy. Then there’s the progression of the joke towards a climax or punchline. One can consider the earlier jokes within this joke as Lewis Black’s foreplay before his final thrust.
These Gay Banditos invade a conservative family’s home and what’s the worst they can do? What’s the worst possible thing that gay men have in common which the conservative fundamentalists fear will destroy mankind? They fuck each other in the ass. That’s the punchline. That’s the climax. Lewis Black’s delivery is as outrageous as he can make it, and his comparatively descriptive subdued delivery up until now contrasts the ludicrous picture that conservative america has painted for itself. This even allows me to laugh at myself because I was raised to think homosexuality is an abomination to a god. I no longer believe that but I still have this irrational aversion to the concept. What is the worst that can happen? Public displays of affection that might open up the children of conservative america to the possibility that it’s okay to show mutually agreed upon consensual affection to one another regardless of gender? It is kinda silly when you think about it. I still find the idea of ass fucking kinda gross, but is it really harmful to anyone? Practice safe sex, of course. Use a condom and lubricant, but aside from that.. what are we really afraid of, here?
The best of humor allows the listener to observe behavior in the universe from a detached vantage point, to question if that behavior is really valid or silly. So to sum up, Lewis Black’s Gay Banditos is a joke I wish I had written, is actually several jokes built in to one, it builds from its premise to its climax like two guys fucking each other up the ass, it allows the audience to laugh at their own opinions of homosexuality without taking it personally, and overall it’s a great visual, almost cinematic story that Black paints in the mind’s eye of every member of the audience. A great work from a great comedian. One of many, but this is a particularly impressive jewel of a joke.