Episode 0098 – Comedy: Offensive Comedy and Its Virtues

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0098   |   November 18, 2019

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Comedy:
Offensive Comedy and Its Virtues

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There’s laughing at yourself, and then there’s laughing at others. While the former is virtuous the latter is indispensable to group cohesion. In this episode the hosts talk about Jim Jefferies and Louis C.K. What are the limits of comedy?

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C.T. WEBB: 00:19 [music] Good afternoon, good morning, or good evening. And welcome to the American Age podcast if I can get that out. This C. Travis Webb, editor of the American Age. I am speaking to you from insanely hot Southern California. So it’s been in the 80s, mid to high 80s. It’s just nuts. I mean, it’s November. I mean, you guys all know the date. So anyway, that’s where I’m at.
S. FULLWOOD: 00:44 Oh, okay. So where am I? I guess who am I? I’m Steven G. Fullwood. And I’m the co-founder [laughter] of the Nomadic Archivists Project. And I am in Harlem at the moment. But I feel loose right now. So I’ve been traveling to both Ohio and to Florida within the last two to three weeks, and it’s just been. I’m somewhat present, but I’m still floating [laughter].
S. RODNEY: 01:11 I hear that. I am Seph Rodney. I am a senior editor at the Hyperallergic blog. I am pretty present today. I have a cold, and the cold has a way of kind of– well, I’m getting over one. But it has a way of putting you back in your body because you get all sniffly and coughy and achy. And you’re reminded very much– I was reminded very much of being a creature who is subject to all kinds of human frailties. And I’m glad to be here, and I’m coming to you from the South Bronx.
C.T. WEBB: 01:49 This is to remind our listeners that we practice a form of what we like to call intellectual intimacy, which is giving ourself the space and time to think and talk out loud together. And wow, yeah. But apparently, I am not present today [laughter]. I’m flying the way Steven is. So figure out things out loud and together. So we are talking– so it’s comedy. We pivoted to comedy. I should remark, though, that in two episodes is our 100th episode. And so we’ll probably be doing something out of sequence for the 100th episode and then coming back to talking about comedy.
S. RODNEY: 02:28 Cool.
C.T. WEBB: 02:28 And in our round-robin of episodes that we’re going to talk about, I’m up first. Seph volunteered me to go first [laughter], so I said, “Sure. Okay.” And I picked two– so here’s the thing with mine. I realized something not very funny about myself in coming up with these clips, in that a lot of times, I get frustrated by overly faithful political positions that inhibit our ability to enjoy things. And so why don’t you just– oh, why don’t you just enjoy yourself? So I was searching through all these different comedians that I like and listening to stuff. And some [of them?] on Jim Jefferies. And one of the things I had figured out when doing this was that I don’t know that bits always age that well. So in my mind, when I was younger, I really liked Sam Kinison. I mentioned that before. And I went back, and [crosstalk]– yeah, yeah [laughter]. And it’s not that I didn’t think they were– it’s not that I didn’t think they were somewhat funny still. A lot of jokes didn’t age that well or just wasn’t that funny, and not because I was offended by it or I think that it’s offensive now or something.
C.T. WEBB: 03:47 So anyway, I landed on Jim Jefferies. But then I thought, “Damn, this is so obviously–” the bit that I picked is so obviously in line with my politics and sort of my space in the social strata that I rejected that a little bit. So I wanted to include it. So then I was like, “Okay. Well, fuck it [laughter]. I’m going to put up Louis CK as well,” because I think the way that he has been ostracized, in spite of his deplorable behavior and the ways that we have taken offense at him and at his person and reacted to that, I have a problem with. So I picked CK because I think he is very funny. But my politics came into it because I wanted to– it was sort of a response, like, “Okay. If I’m going to have Jim Jefferies up, and he’s going to make fun of all these things that I think are absolutely nuts on the other side–” I wanted to pick someone for Louis CK that isn’t going to trigger the conservatives, right? It’ll trigger the liberals, whereas, Jefferies will trigger the people that [inaudible] conservatives. So anyway, it’s a very long [laughter], not very funny, as I said, intro to Jim Jefferies. And so we’re going to play the whole excerpt here. It’s from a comedy routine, a number of specials that came out on Netflix. And I don’t think I need to preface it because I think it’ll be obvious to everyone what it is. So I’m going to play that for everyone now.
JIM JEFFERIES: 05:19 And then they always say this, and this fucking spins me out. Well, I don’t expect an Australian to understand freedom [laughter]. What are you talking about? You constantly say freedom all the time, like, “Oh, we’re so free. We fight for freedom, freedom, freedom. Come to the freedom lounge at the airport.” Fucking what? You know when you’re singing the national anthem at the baseball, and the person holds the note three for a little bit longer than they should until all you Americans fucking cum in your pants [laughter]? For the land of the free [laughter]. Oh, we’re so free. Freedom this, freedom that, free, free, free. Now, I hate to break it to you because I don’t think many of you know this. There are 92 free countries on the planet, democratic, free countries. You are one of them. Every single English-speaking country on Earth is free. And most of the– countries are also free [laughter]. Now, you’re very free. Don’t get upset. And I love America, I truly do. I live here, and I love it. I have nothing against it. And none of the things that I’m about to mention affect you and affect me in any way, right? You may not be the freest place on Earth [laughter]. Just a quick example, out of the 92 free countries on the planet, you have the highest rate of incarceration. 1% of your adult population is in prison. That’s double that of the country that comes in second, which is South Africa. If you’ve ever been to South Africa, South Africa’s fucked [laughter]. So you’re double that of South Africa. So statistically, in the land of the free, you have the least amount of free people [laughter]. [applause] Now, this is a super simple one, super simple argument.
JIM JEFFERIES: 08:01 In Holland, you can smoke weed whilst fucking a hooker in front of a cop [laughter]. How dare Holland not be called the land of the free [laughter]? Do you honestly think you’re competing with Holland? In Canada, just last year, they legalized assisted suicide for the sick, which I believe is the biggest freedom of them all. It’s your life. No government, no religious group should ever tell you when you get to check out. [applause] If you’re a pro-life person, good. Do it with your life, not mine, right? [applause] Yeah. And also, I don’t think they thought about it. I don’t think there’s even the most evangelical Christian who’s a burn victim just hanging on to life support in a hospital just, “I feel so free [laughter].” And I’m so glad they’re doing it in Canada because if I ever had an assisted suicide, I want it to be a Canadian doctor. I want some guy walking up to my house like, “Okay. All righty then. So I hear that someone’s giving up on life, eh [laughter]. All right. Let me just set up my little death machine here. And I’m going to put this in your vein, and you’re going to be so sleepy so soon. I’d tell you what there [laughter].” In Australia maybe 20 years ago, maybe 20, they legalized prostitution. And they thought it would be the downfall of our society but it really wasn’t. It was a great thing. In Sydney where I grew up, the streets always had hookers walking around everywhere. There was needles, and it was a very seedy city in some parts.
JIM JEFFERIES: 10:00 And then what they did was they legalized prostitution, and they moved all the hookers into brothels. And because they moved into brothels, all the girls had to be tested for STDs. And then the guys, they could see the tests as they go in. So it was safer for the men. But it was also safer for the women because what they did was they put security in these brothels. So if you showed up like a drunk idiot, they wouldn’t let you in. Or if you got a bit agro, they’d kick you the fuck out. So the girls were safer. The men were safer. Human trafficking was all but eliminated, and the tax revenue went up. And the divorce rate dropped by 8% [laughter]. There is no downside to legalized prostitution. Now, in America, prostitution is illegal unless you film it. How is that possible? How the fuck is that possible? How do you have the biggest porn industry in the world and you still have illegal prostitution? Because it is legal to pay a woman for sex, but your friend, Dave, has to be in the corner with a camera [laughter]. And Dave has to film it, and Dave has to promise to put it on the internet because if Dave doesn’t put it on the internet, then a crime is being committed. And that girl can be 18 years old, and then she can be surrounded by 10 men that she barely knows. And they can all jack off onto her face until she’s glazed with cum [laughter], and no crime has been committed. But in America, and only in America, she’s too young to have a beer [laughter]. If anyone deserves a beer in the land of the free, the [inaudible] is the girl with 10 loads of cum in her face. [applause] In fact, if you had 10 loads of cum in your face, you should get free drinks wherever you go [laughter]. You seem like a fun girl or a heavy sleeper [laughter].
C.T. WEBB: 12:14 I hope everyone enjoyed that. So do you guys want to talk about it? Let’s get into [crosstalk].
S. RODNEY: 12:21 Yeah. So I want to say two things. And one of these things is really just kind of laying out the ground– laying the ground for how we’re going to talk about things throughout this series that has to deal with comedy. First thing is, I want to plug Jim Jefferies, though, because I’m actually on his show. And by the time listeners hear this, it will have been broadcast. But it’s coming up on Tuesday at 10:30. 10:30 PM on Comedy Central, I have a little bit with him where I play the straight man, and he’s talking with me about– or needling me about cultural appropriation. So we’ll see have that turns out.
S. FULLWOOD: 12:58 So I was looking out for you. I thought about that one.
S. RODNEY: 13:01 Yeah. I know you do. I know you do. I appreciate that [laughter]. The second thing is – and this is just sort of looking ahead to how the conversation would go – is how much of what we have listened to and are going to listen to do we want to use to talk about each other, because I see you very much in these clips, Travis. I mean, given the introduction that you made, I can see all of that. But I also see a real– I mean, in the Jim Jefferies clip, there’s a real emphasis on the failures of what we can call the American imagination, right, like the intellectual [crosstalk]. And that’s so you to talk about that, right? What’s the word? That is center of the target, ubermensch Travis, right?
C.T. WEBB: 13:57 Yeah. That’s a good observation. You know what’s so funny is I didn’t think about that. But of course, that is absolutely– you’re absolutely right, yeah. And I do think– I mean, I love just the– the thing that I found, sort of the [inaudible] is just that just reminding people of just sort of like baseline, ordinary facts about the world. And they’re, of course, hilarious because we don’t often– at least in cultural spaces, we don’t often operate from baseline facts about the world, at least. And this is probably true everywhere, but certainly true in America.
S. RODNEY: 14:36 Right. Yeah, and I love the bit– so I love the bit where Jefferies talks about how prostitution is illegal, but then he runs through the facts, right? So he says, “I grew up in Sydney,” blah, blah, blah, “Prostitution made the social web of my community pretty degraded.” And then he talks about how once they illegalized prostitution, the streets were cleaned up. The women were safer. The men were safer. [crosstalk]–
C.T. WEBB: 15:07 The divorce rates went down.
S. RODNEY: 15:08 Yeah. And the divorce rate went down. And then he says, “But in America, it’s illegal unless you’ve got your–” what did he say? Your friend, Dan, in the corner filming you.
C.T. WEBB: 15:19 Yeah. That’s right [laughter]. Right, right, right.
S. RODNEY: 15:20 And when you think about the absurdity of that, it is just– this is the thing about Jefferies is that I actually don’t laugh out loud very much listening to him, or at all, but I just nod a lot. I just feel like, “Oh, yeah, that’s so right.”
C.T. WEBB: 15:35 Yeah, yeah.
S. RODNEY: 15:38 Yeah. That’s all I have.
C.T. WEBB: 15:40 Steven, do you–?
S. FULLWOOD: 15:40 No, I was thinking about the quality of Jim Jefferies’s humor to me. I hope he’s not listening, but [laughter] he’s someone that I don’t turn to. But I appreciate when he’s on. That’s what it is with him. And so I appreciated the clip. I was like, “Yeah, yeah. That’s Jim Jefferies. Okay.” He’s good, to me, but he’s not my go-to in terms of something that kind of pulls– in a way, he speaks sort of obviously. But he makes it funny. But the way he sort of talks about it, I like that, so.
C.T. WEBB: 16:14 Yeah.
S. RODNEY: 16:14 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 16:16 So I mean, I agree with– well, this is what prompted the Louis CK additional clip that we’ll play for you in a little bit, is exactly what you just said. I mean, I do– all of the things that he’s making fun of, or all of the things that you would expect people to make fun of while they’re flying in first-class from JFK to LAX.
S. FULLWOOD: 16:37 Well said.
C.T. WEBB: 16:38 And so I get that, right? I get that that– and I am very sensitive about being read that way.
S. FULLWOOD: 16:47 Oh, oh, okay.
C.T. WEBB: 16:48 And so I want to make sure that– what I think is funny about him is the delivery and the crudity of it. I love sort of when he talks about the land of the free [laughter]. And he’s like, “While all of the Americans cum in their pants.” And that is what that feels like, right? I mean, when you see that display or whatever, it really is sort of– it’s the community’s collective orgasm. And so I appreciated that observation.
S. RODNEY: 17:23 And I really appreciated it because I’m old enough to remember when George Bush and Dick Cheney had all flogged that illegal war in Iraq. And France refused to join in on the party [laughter]. And these people who I have very little respect for started this – I don’t know – meme, I guess, about freedom fries as opposed to French fries. It was just this–
C.T. WEBB: 17:57 I remember.
S. RODNEY: 17:58 Right. It was weapons-grade stupidity. But it is very much that kind of jingoistic thing that Jefferies is referring to, right, like just flag on the front porch and freedom fries. And we need to go take care of things in Iraq because of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
C.T. WEBB: 18:21 Was it in this– you guys help me. Was it in this clip that he also talks– when he was talking about the gun control thing, and he was talking about how, “Well, people could still get them on the black market.”
S. RODNEY: 18:32 No.
C.T. WEBB: 18:32 And he’s like, “Have you–” oh, okay. So there’s another clip where he talks about getting guns on the black market. And this is one of the objections to gun control. And he said, “Have you seen the last couple of people that have shot things up?” You can be retarded and walking out there [laughter] to the– it’s like, “I’d like to get an AR-15.” And he makes fun of– and he mimics this retarded kid. And so it’s those sort of out-of-bounds observations about what would otherwise just be snarky liberal positions that actually makes it funny.
S. FULLWOOD: 19:07 I think so too. I think the out-of-bounds stuff is necessary to kind of draw to the ludicrousness of something. That’s what I appreciate about him as well, and that he’s looking at Americans. And I don’t know if Americans look at themselves as Americans in that way because they’re so–
S. RODNEY: 19:22 Exactly.
S. FULLWOOD: 19:22 Not even really navel-gazing but just not aware of the world.
S. RODNEY: 19:26 Right, right.
C.T. WEBB: 19:27 Yeah. Seph’s observation about sort of what it hits with, as far as the things that I care about and the things that motivate me intellectually, and my commitment to my intellectual commitments, definitely, it does hit all those [inaudible]. And just the lack of America’s sense of place in the world, that it is, in fact, in a world with other countries that also have– and I don’t mean the cultural relativism stuff. I mean the things that we think we have a monopoly on, we, in fact, don’t have a monopoly on, right? We actually don’t own those things in the way that we think we do.
S. RODNEY: 20:10 Yeah, yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 20:12 Do you guys want to move to maybe– do you guys want to move to the Louis CK? And we could play that one for everyone and see where that conversation takes us.
S. RODNEY: 20:19 Sure. Sure. Yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 20:21 Okay.
LOUIS C.K.: 20:22 When you have your bad thoughts, hopefully, you do good things. Everybody has a competition in their brain of good thoughts and bad thoughts. Hopefully, the good thoughts win. For me, I always have both. I have the thing I believe, the good thing. That’s the thing I believe. And then there’s this thing. And I don’t believe it, but it is there [laughter]. It’s always this thing and then this thing. It’s become a category in my brain that I call of course but maybe [laughter]. I’ll give you an example. Okay, of course, of course, children who have nut allergies need to be protected. Of course, we have to segregate their food from nuts, have their medication available at all times. And anybody who manufactures or serves food needs to be aware of deadly nut allergies, of course. But maybe, maybe if touching a nut kills you, you’re supposed to die [laughter]. [applause] Of course not, of course not, of course not, Jesus. I have a nephew who has that. I’d be devastated if something happened to him. But maybe, maybe if we all just do this for one year, we’re done with nut allergies forever [laughter]. No, of course not. Of course, if you’re fighting for your country and you get shot or hurt, it’s a terrible tragedy, of course, of course. But maybe, maybe if you pick up a gun and go to another country and you get shot, it’s not that weird. Maybe if you get shot by the dude that you were just shooting at, it’s a tiny bit your fault [laughter]. [applause]
LOUIS C.K.: 22:46 Of course, of course, slavery is the worst thing that ever happened. Listen, listen, you all clapped for dead kids with the nuts, for kids dying from nuts. You applauded, so you’re in this with me now [laughter]. Do you understand? You don’t get to cherry-pick. Those kids did nothing to you. [applause] Of course, of course, slavery is the worst thing that ever happened, of course it is, every time it’s happened. Black people in America, Jews in Egypt, every time a whole race of people has been enslaved, it’s a horrible thing, of course. But maybe, maybe every incredible human achievement in history was done with slaves, every single thing where you go, “How did they build those pyramids?” They just threw human death and suffering at them until they were finished [laughter]. How did we traverse the nation with a railroad so quickly? We just threw Chinese people in caves and blew them up and didn’t give a shit what happened to them. There is no end to what you can do when you don’t give a fuck about particular people [laughter]. You can do anything. That’s where human greatness comes from, is that we’re shitty people, that we fuck others over. Even today, how do we have this amazing microtechnology? Because the factory where they’re making these, they jump off the fucking roof because it’s a nightmare in there. You really have a choice. You could have candles and horses and be a little kinder to each other, or let someone suffer immeasurably far away just so you can leave a mean comment on YouTube while you’re taking a shit [laughter]. [applause]
C.T. WEBB: 24:42 All right. everyone, thanks for listening to the CK clip. What did you guys think about that one?
S. FULLWOOD: 24:47 So rather than making it– it’s probably not fair to– I think Louis CK is very funny. And I think even when he misses, he is clearly putting himself on the line in his comedy–
C.T. WEBB: 25:06 Yes. Oh yeah.
S. FULLWOOD: 25:07 –in a way that– even though I think Jim Jefferies is funny, I really do – I thought that clip was great – I don’t know that he’s risking the same things that Louis CK is risking when he’s up on the stage.
S. RODNEY: 25:19 Agreed. Agreed.
S. FULLWOOD: 25:21 Yeah, different format. And also, Louis CK’s, it’s almost the embedded– I remember when the controversy came down, I was like, “Oh, this man will survive this,” because his comedy has a space in it that’s self-confessional, that’s edgy, and that moves into like, “Yeah. I did it. And I’m very sorry about it.” And I’m surprised that he hasn’t more space since he came back or tried to enter back. But Louis’s comedy, it’s always been very bare, a little bit– definitely cringey, but cringey in a way, I think, that people can appreciate because they feel those ways too, so.
S. RODNEY: 25:58 And that has a lot to do with his delivery because he does this thing where he says, “Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. Yes, I believe this, I do. Everybody in the room knows I believe this. Okay. But maybe–” so he doesn’t say– so his delivery gives you that kind of almost childlike, “I’m sorry I’m about to say this, but this is what I really feel.” And there is something really vulnerable about that. And here’s the thing. I think, for all of us, we’ve been there. And we are there regularly, where we have these very – what’s the way to say it? – ready-for-prime-time ideas and feelings. And we are very articulate about these, right? They are the sort of feelings and ideas that play well to the public. But I remember when we had the conversation around pornography, and you guys asked me what I liked. And I remember being really tongue-tied and not being sure how to say what that is. That’s because, for me, that was a real moment of vulnerability. And what I actually wanted to say was I really actually like things with a story. I actually really like story. But I couldn’t find it in myself in that moment [laughter]. But it feels like Louis CK actually goes there. He’s like, “Okay. So what’s this part of me that’s kind of icky, I’m not sure about, I don’t really have a handle on yet? But if I take it out to the light of day, other people might be able to find it and [nod along?].”
C.T. WEBB: 27:37 Yeah. So dissonance–
S. FULLWOOD: 27:41 Oh, okay.
C.T. WEBB: 27:41 –is what I thought of when you were describing it that way. And it’s helpful because what Jefferies is doing is the dissonance is us, right? The dissonance is the country, is America. And here is Jefferies pointing out our dissonance. What Louis CK does is says, “I am dissonant, right? I am messy and particular and contradictory. And you are all that with me as well.”
S. FULLWOOD: 28:10 Oh yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 28:10 And so there’s a more inclusive aspect to his comedy, I think. And I think that that kind of– that messy particularity that is Louis CK is what– for me, why I value that comedy is us, right? And it’s one of the things that, at least, in this historical moment in this country that we are– as in other historical moments in this country that we are losing touch with. Our puritanism has resurfaced, I think.
S. FULLWOOD: 28:44 Oh yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 28:44 And we have a very difficult time acknowledging our uglier parts–
S. RODNEY: 28:52 I think so.
C.T. WEBB: 28:53 –and our messier parts. And I think CK reminds us of that. I’m sorry. Go ahead. Seph, you were about to say something?
S. RODNEY: 28:58 No, no, no. Actually, I don’t mean to interrupt you at all. But it just occurred to me to talk about why it is that I think conservatives, or at least comedians who self-identify as being conservatives, are generally less funny to me [laughter]. And people–
C.T. WEBB: 29:18 Can you give some examples of–?
S. RODNEY: 29:20 Oh, there was some guy. He was on some cable show. I mean, this is not going to be helpful to anyone, some guy. But I remember him coming out and saying, “I’m a conservative. And I find liberals to be ridiculous.” And he was doing a bit, and he was just not landing. Okay, so the woman who was the spokesperson for the NRA, Dana Loesch, or something like that.
C.T. WEBB: 29:43 Yeah, something like that. Yeah, yeah.
S. RODNEY: 29:45 Yeah. She was on something trying to be funny. I think she was on Bill Maher or some show. And she was trying because she really wants that kind of cachet, right? More people look at you, pay attention to you, if you’re funny. And she was trying out whatever jokes she had. And of course, they were awful. And I think part of why they tend to be awful – and by they, I mean conservative comedians – is that they don’t have that, one, willingness to be vulnerable in the way that Louis CK is, right, to talk about their own dissonances.
C.T. WEBB: 30:22 Or they have none.
S. RODNEY: 30:23 And they don’t have– that’s right. That’s what they think. That’s precisely right. So what that means is that there’s a dearth of self-awareness. And it’s the lack of self-awareness, I think, that makes them unfunny.
S. FULLWOOD: 30:36 So I’m thinking of Ann Coulter on the Roast of Rob Lowe. And behind the scenes, Davidson– I forget his name [inaudible] Davidson. He said that what they do is, they’ll tell someone who wants to come on, “We’ll write jokes for you. And we’ll kind of help you out with stuff.” She didn’t want anyone to write for her because she didn’t think the jokes were funny, and she just wanted to write herself. So if you watch her give sort of her spiel, you’ll go, “Yeah, that’s–” it’s very emblematic of what you just said. She was telling jokes that she thought were funny, but they weren’t funny. And people were sort of like– I knew they were reacting to her and also reacting to the way people responded to here because he said that after people found out that she was coming on the show, everybody stopped writing jokes about Rob Lowe and started writing jokes about her. And that was a brutal takedown of her, very brutal. But it was so funny–
S. RODNEY: 31:29 And well-deserved.
S. FULLWOOD: 31:29 –so funny.
C.T. WEBB: 31:30 Yeah. I know what I’m watching after the podcast this morning.
S. FULLWOOD: 31:32 Oh, please. It’s just juicy.
S. RODNEY: 31:34 No, no, the–
S. FULLWOOD: 31:34 Yeah. It’s juicy. But yeah–
S. RODNEY: 31:36 One of the best jokes from that roast was– I forget who delivered it. But the comedian said, “The only Mexican that you will ever make happy is the one who digs your grave.”
S. FULLWOOD: 31:48 [inaudible], yep.
C.T. WEBB: 31:49 Yeah. You’ve told me this one before, yeah, yeah. And I wanted to bring it back to the CK bit that we played for everyone. I have, actually, a more involved reading of the last part of the bit where he talks about the slavery.
S. RODNEY: 32:06 Oh, here we go.
C.T. WEBB: 32:07 And so–
S. RODNEY: 32:09 Buckle up.
C.T. WEBB: 32:10 And he pauses, right? And he pauses, and everyone’s like, “Oh, shit. He’s going there,” right? And then he takes what I think is an off-ramp, right, which is sort of implicating kind of contemporary lifestyle and all the rest of that. I think the reason that that joke works as well as it does is because he doesn’t actually say the thing that probably a lot of white people actually think in that audience, which is that–
S. FULLWOOD: 32:44 Yeah. I agree with that.
C.T. WEBB: 32:45 –of course, slavery is bad. But they got to America, and they could be an American still.
S. FULLWOOD: 32:52 Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB: 32:54 I absolutely think that there is an underlying subtext still alive, like a live wire in American/Euro-American culture, right, what we would call White America, that if pressed, if you got them drunk enough and you cornered them and you mine their opinion, that they would actually say that slavery was worth it because they got to become Americans. At least they’re not in shit hole African countries. And I’m saying “shit hole” everyone out there, just so you know.
S. RODNEY: 33:35 Yeah. I know, yeah. No, no.
S. FULLWOOD: 33:35 Hey, don’t listen to the podcast if–
C.T. WEBB: 33:36 [crosstalk].
S. FULLWOOD: 33:37 –you can’t get a joke. That’s all I could say [laughter]. If you can’t take a joke, if you don’t understand it, don’t listen to American Age.
C.T. WEBB: 33:44 So I think that’s why–
S. RODNEY: 33:46 God damn.
C.T. WEBB: 33:48 –the joke has the potency–
S. FULLWOOD: 33:49 Oh, definitely.
C.T. WEBB: 33:50 –and the anxiety around it that it does.
S. FULLWOOD: 33:54 Well, see, when you said he took that off-ramp [crosstalk]–
S. RODNEY: 33:55 Steven’s nodding.
S. FULLWOOD: 33:56 I don’t think he took off the ramp. I think he told the joke. He didn’t say it, but he didn’t have to. That’s what made it so genius.
C.T. WEBB: 34:02 Yeah. That’s fair. That’s fair. That’s fair.
S. FULLWOOD: 34:03 Very genius. I thought it was a wonderful moment, yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 34:05 Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s fair.
S. RODNEY: 34:08 So I have to say, guys, I completely missed that. That did not even occur to me. I’m glad that you brought it up. I’m glad that you both saw that. I was just so taken with the idea that every amazing thing that we’ve built as a collective really has come out of human suffering. It’s just such–
C.T. WEBB: 34:31 Absolutely true.
S. RODNEY: 34:31 –a sort of– well, it is and it isn’t true. But it’s a very Travis position [laughter]. And it’s a very sort of–
C.T. WEBB: 34:40 What’s the isn’t part?
S. RODNEY: 34:42 Well, this is the thing. I was thinking penicillin didn’t come out of human suffering, did it? No. That’s not true. No [crosstalk] [laughter].
C.T. WEBB: 34:50 So yeah. So here’s the thing. I think if you think of the momentum in the evolution of civilizations, right, and how that momentum was generated and maintained for hundreds and thousands of years– and even still today, in many ways in many corners of the world, that some dude or woman is working 16 hours with almost no rights. And that person’s obscure anonymous labor makes this podcast possible, makes international air travel possible, makes penicillin possible. I mean, it’s dark, and there’s nowhere to hide from it, right? I don’t know that there’s any safe harbor from that reality.
S. RODNEY: 35:53 Yeah. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized I was– because with penicillin, it’s not just a doctor working alone in his laboratory. It’s definitely all the thousands, maybe millions, of people who had died from bacterial infections before which impelled the medical community and the science community to figure out what was going on with us. So yeah. Yeah, I suppose it is kind of inescapable. I want to think about that. I want to think about that some more though.
C.T. WEBB: 36:27 I know it’s an odd one to wrap up. But I mean, I think we’re going to be a little long because we played the clips. But do you guys want to close the conversation, and I’ll speak to you guys next week?
S. RODNEY: 36:39 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That sounds good. All right.
S. FULLWOOD: 36:41 Sounds good, yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 36:42 And Steven, is there something you wanted to say?
S. FULLWOOD: 36:45 Oh, no. I have nothing to say.
C.T. WEBB: 36:45 Okay. So Steven’s comedian is up next week. So please, join us for that.
S. RODNEY: 36:50 Okay.
C.T. WEBB: 36:50 Thank you.
S. RODNEY: 36:51 Later.
S. FULLWOOD: 36:51 Sounds good. [music]
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References

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**No references for Podcast 0095**

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First referenced at 05:19

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.0.6″ max_width=”50%” module_alignment=”center” link_option_url=”https://www.amazon.com/James-Baldwin/e/B000APVA9U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1549293361&sr=8-1-spons” hover_enabled=”0″ locked=”off”] Jim Jefferies “Geoff James Nugent, known professionally as Jim Jefferies, is an Australian-American stand-up comedian, political commentator, actor, and writer. He created and starred in the American FX sitcom Legit and Comedy Central’s late-night comedy, The Jim Jefferies Show.” Wikipedia[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Date” _builder_version=”4.0.6″ text_font=”|700||on|||||” text_text_color=”#8b96a1″ text_letter_spacing=”1px” max_width=”50%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”||10px|” animation_direction=”left” hover_enabled=”0″ locked=”off”]

First referenced at 05:19

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Louis C.K.

Louis Székely, better known by his stage name Louis C.K., is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and filmmaker.Wikipedia

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