Comedy overload

Okay, Borat was a lot of laughs. I had trouble sleeping last night. Just as I was about to fall off, one of the juvenile gags would come back to me and I would start laughing again.

A lot of the humor made me cringe at the same time I was laughing. Borat went after unsuspecting people. He got on a local television show and screwed up their entire broadcast. The producer who was gulled into letting him onto the show has since resigned. The frat boys who Borat filmed drunkenly advocating slavery have decided to sue. Residents of the Romanian village which Borat used at the beginning and end of the film to portray his village in Kazakastan are infuriated. So is the Kazak government, which is taking out advertisements to combat the crazy image of their country Borat has projected.

In another life, if I had about a dozen, I would love to go around the country doing candid camera gags. It is probably a good thing I don't have a dozen lives.

I am reminded of the great writer H. L. Mencken, who toured the country in the 1920s, before there was any national media. Most of the people who came to greet him in the rube states didn't know a thing about him--except that he was a famed journalist. Well, at every stop, he would tout the local politicians for the presidency. They took him seriously. Some started campaigns. Of course, Mencken was joking.

Another time, Mencken wrote up a facetious history of the bathtub, tracing its history to Cincinnati, OH in the 1840s. It was all bunk, but the false history made its way into several encyclopedias. You can still find Mencken's account floating around as fact.

It would get exhausting being a full-time satirist. I couldn't take the backlash. The few columns I have written which were spoofs were almost more work than it was work. You can laugh at people who take things too seriously, but at the same time, creating that stress in the lives of the gullible isn't a particularly charitable pursuit.

But, when I am needing some laughs, I can't get enough of the candid camera style of comedy.