I Like To Wear Men's Underwear

Every blogger in the known universe will quote the famous title and eighth track of of Steve Martin’s third comedy album, released in 1979 and certified gold, in discussing the most recent explosion on the part of Air America Radio host Randi Rhodes. I thought we’d be a little different and quote from track #3 of the same album to title this post.

But it is true, comedy is not pretty, especially so when a famous person in another field but a rookie at this paticular sport takes a stab at it. Geraldine Ferraro, one of the unfortunate victims of Randi’s attempt at standup March 22 in San Franscisco, compared this incident to Don Imus’, but it more closely resembles the Michael Richards fiasco. Richards made his name in sketch and sitcom comedy and post-Seinfeld tried his hand at standup, losing the crowd miserably and then his own self-control and common sense in the end. Any unknown rookie in the same boat would have been long forgotten, but Richards found himself all over the YouTube. As did Rhodes.

What I have said previously about both Imus and Richards applies to Randi as well here. It wasn’t that what she said was offensive. No, what was wrong here was that what she said wasn’t funny. And what I can’t understand regarding this business is what the hell Randi Rhodes was doing attempting standup comedy in the first place.

In “Left of the Dial,” Rhodes makes a big deal about her bona fides in radio. She complains often of lack of support from the network despite that she’s the veteran and the others are radio amateurs. She mocks their rehearsals prior to launch. On launch day, she yells down Ralph Nader and sits through the commercial break with a shit-eating grin on her face. The documentary lights this scene as the plucky unknown radio pro showing these dumb amateurs how it’s done, by gum. And I really like that part of the film. But in context of this, it just falls flat.

Howard Stern doesn’t do standup. You’d think the two communications forms would translate, but they don’t necessarily. Marc Maron is a brilliant standup comic who happens to be brilliant on the radio. Randi Rhodes is good on the radio. What I don’t understand is how someone who feels so strongly about the blood sweat and tears she’s shed pursuing her radio chops would imagine she could just stand up and have six minutes of gold. Watch Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedian sometime. You’ll see how hard these people work just for six minutes, how much they fail at first, how many clubs they play nightly.

At the very least, Randi, why not bother with a punchup session with Maron? He is, truly, one of the best working comics out there today. He would have told you, hands down, Randi, take the “fucking whores” line out. It’s not funny. It’s not fun. Lisa Lampanelli could sell it. Kathy Griffin could sell it. But they’re comics. All it might do is take you off your day job for awhile, as it has. The meek Air America Radio has, as usual, instead of standing next to its talent, suspended Ms. Rhodes for crap she didn’t even say on the air. That’s a stunner, really, but the silver lining is that you’re really nothing in radio unless you’ve been fired or suspended a time or 12. The suspension is a feather in Ms. Rhodes’ bonnet, actually.

At least this incident has offered confirmation that Ms. Ferraro still doesn’t get it. Ms. Ferraro, let me explain this to you. Randi Rhodes is not an old white dude, and you are not the Rutgers women’s basketball team, and she did not call you nappy-headed, and she did not do so on the radio. You are a well-known public figure and a white lady, which means you would be much better served to shut the hell up on the issue of race and, for gods’ sake, STOP. APPEARING. ON. FOX. “NEWS.”

Off to pack for Vegas, to gird my loins for a Maddow-centric “Countown” tonight and the final season premiere of “Battlestacked Galactica.” God bless America.

Get Ready For The RNC To Use 'Hussein' in Obama's Name a LOT

RNC denounces use of ‘Hussein’ in Obama’s name

(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan formally denounced Thursday the Tennessee Republican Party’s use of Barack Obama’s full name in a recent press release questioning the Illinois senator’s commitment to Israel.

“The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics,” RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement. “We believe this election needs to be about the critical issues confronting our nation.”

And, by the way, John McCain’s middle name is “Sidney.” And, oh yeah, he wasn’t even born in America.

What else, Robin?

  • MSNBC owes Hillary Clinton a cookie. Her weird meltdown last weekend made Tuesday’s debate—which I have not mentioned here because I have not felt like gloating—the most-watched debate EVAR—7.8 million people watched the thing—and the highest rating that cable network has evar seen. All were disappointed, however, when Hillary Clinton’s head did not actually turn all the way around, as we had expected it to.
  • I’ve mentioned the EdCast in a previous post. It’s a weird change for me, the erstwhile Air America Radio Associate, now stating a preference for the meat-eating, gun-toting leftie guy over many AAR programs. This week, Ed offers one very strong reason for this. This week, the AAR gliteratti are on a cruise at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. You know where Big Ed will be this week? Tejas. Where there’s ACTUALLY SOMETHING HAPPENING. The AAR rarely ever sends its hosts to the news, and it’s seemed to me a screwy thing to do to have a big promotional cruise that takes a majority of their talent off the air during primary season and when they can’t even keep a fella like Kent Jones around. Big Ed has taken his show to quite a few of these primary states. It seems to me that taking your show there can lend a talker quite a lot more cred then will working on your studio tan in New York. Things like this convince me that Ed, not AAR, is the future of the Moonbat Radio genre.
  • A shoutout to a new weblog I’ve come across, The Hillary 1000. I had commented there, and the admin rejected the comment. But, she wrote and told me why, which was awesome netiquette. Cheers.

Another Air American Bites the Dust

I am not a loyal rabid fan of “The Young Turks.” I am a casual listener since I have begun a weekend regimen with The Howard Stern Show. I am even less a fan since they got rid of Jill Pike and Ben Mansokosakostravinskibergermeistertikiwikiwitz. Ben was at least witty. Jill was hot, though they never seemed to know how to use that to their advantage, but at least she was there. Anyway, not a real fan, so I missed that something or other happened with the show last week. It was yanked off the air for a few days for some reason or other.

So this morning, Cenk announces that the show’s gig is up Jan. 15, and that AAR will probably not produce another morning show. Wow. This thing is going tits up fast. When you abdicate morning drive time, you basically admit defeat. That’s like ABC saying well, it’s too expensive to create programming to air from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday night, so we’ll just run a test pattern.

As I’ve said, I will be sad when AAR tanks, but sad more like Chris Farley’s friends were when he died, and less like Richard Jeni’s friends were when he died. Air America Radio did this to itself, not because the Evan Cohen debacle, not because it lost its star power, but because it had good programming, it had brilliant talent that adored and believed in Air America Radio, and Air America Radio told it to go fuck itself.


I was preparing a lengthy post detailing the astounding successes seen by Air America Radio in the past four years, to have been posted in March 2008, the fourth anniversary of AAR’s launch.

I am suspending work on that project.

Firing Kent Jones from the Rachel Maddow Show, to me, indicates abject failure. I will not devote another second to trumpeting this shitty little network’s success.

I will take what shows I like, but I am done with AAR as an ideal.

You suck.

How Dare You Sponsor a Cruise, or Broadcast, or Breathe

I am working on what I hope will be an omnibus post that will run to commemorate the lovely occassion of the fourth birthday of Air America Radio in March 2008. But I did want to quickly note something that belies how nasty and truly un-American are the assholes who populate the right wang of American politics today.

Air America Radio is sponsoring a cruise. It’s something they’ve done informally in the past. Randi Rhodes recently took an Alaska cruise with some listeners, for example, but this is the first officially sponsored cruise by the network. The cruise covers Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, and will feature many AAR talkers and keynote by Paul Krugman. This sounds inocuous enough, no?

Well, Michelle Malkin has a problem with it.

She writes: “Just got an e-mail notice about the first ‘Air America Radio Cruise.’ The boat is going to lean so far left that I fear for the passengers’ safety…”

Ha-ha! Do you see what she did there?

It’s not that these assholes simply disagree with the talent at Air America Radio or that they can be content to not listen. They hate its very existence. They despise its right to broadcast. They vomit a little even considering their stupid ideas being challenged publicly. They think Voltaire was a loon. Air America Radio can’t even do something as harmless as inviting listeners to join some of their talkers on a boat without triggering smarm from the likes of Michelle Maglalang. It’s unbelievable.

Not Really.

The Politico today sez that the Jefferson indictment “complicates Democrats’ Campaign Strategy.” They sez the indictment “…provided a political opening for Republicans to fight back after being battered for months by guilty pleas from Republican lawmakers, aides and lobbyists linked to the Jack Abramoff scandal.”

It doesn’t have to. Not if the Democrats do the right thing and drop this guy like a hot potato.

Today’s “Thom Hartmann Program” is well worth listening to. Thom fill-in Peter B. Collins walks you through an entire fundraising call with the Republigoats, who were unfortunate enough to have contacted him. It is some damned good radio, especially in the context of the recent firings of Republigoat phoners. It’s about an hour fifteen into the show if you’re looking for it on your AAR Premium podcast.

Can’t Say As Though I Blame Him

LTR reports that Maron has at last had it up to here with the AAR. Man, who would evar get into radio? That industry takes its best and brightest and wipes poop on them and makes them wear a funny hat and then tells them that they’re ugly. Who on earth would evar work for this shit-headed industry?

Speaking of the wireless: I have to brag on the new KIAV widget that sometimes appears on the right. We have for some time now been using a series of PHP if/then statements to create a “now playing” feature. At first, the thing only featured AAR talent and pointed to the AAR website for streaming. For various reasons, including a quality drain at AAR and the more practical consideration that the AAR stream don’t werk so good no more, I’m tweaking the widget. It now includes offerings from other broadcast networks and streams from other sources. I like it and may soon place it at Leftblogistan too. I must thank LTR for being a comprehensive, constant resource.

Air America Radio: Gnow What?

The news was mixed to good to what the hell for those of us who plug in daily to the Air America Radio network, good because the troubled little network has a backer, mixed because Al Franken is hanging up his microphone—perhaps to chase bigger and better things—and to what the hell because Franken’s departure leads to the rocket promotion of a bearded professor of a man called Thom Hartmann.

For those of you living in a cave, provided that the cave has food, heat, cable, and every other amenity besides a satellite radio receiver or a high-speed Internet connection, the announcement came down at noon today, as Franken himself announced that the Greens of New York would be purchasing the property and that he, Al Franken, would leave the microphone Feb. 14. He did not provide the two of this one-two punch and tell us if he intended to run against Norm Coleman in Minnie Soda.

It is, surely, a relief to know that the Air America Radio has a backer and that it will survive. It would have been a profound shame to have lost this, once the pluckiest presence in the genre, indeed, that which formed the genre, which previously had consisted of Hurricane Randi in the Sunshine State, Alan Colmes at the improbable Fox “News,” Big Ed, and the chronic SFX-abusing Stephanie Miller. Before the Air America, there was some scratching at the gate but no leaping over and no explosive smashing through. Say what you will of the network’s reliance on brand and big name dropping. It got them through the door, and it was Franken—whose “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot” was so groundbreaking it’s difficult to remember that it was—who led the crush.

So realize how much oxygen Franken’s departure will suck out and how, once again, the Air America seems rather unprepared for the transition.

I should rush to clarify my thought because I do not mean to insult Mr. Hartmann. I am a fan of his. He is a profoundly logical populist who backs himself up with the Federalist Papers better than anyone—in fact, he might just be one of 70 in this country who’s ever read them. No, the Hartmann show is a competent choice. But will it counter the giant sucking sound?

Recently, “terrestrial” radio heard that sound loudly and clearly when Howard Stern left the air. Think what you want about Stern, but there is no question that his departure to the satellite radio not only deprived the “free” stations of content but affected the medium so profoundly that it may be figuring out for years how to redefine itself so as not to see the old Buggles song played out. Often subtraction is more influential than addition, as I think it might be, to a smaller scale, regarding Mr. Franken’s departure.

And the biggest, boldest move the Air America could create to counter it was, let’s move this show over to here. Plop.

I find it sad that this scrappy little startup got the pioneering beat out of it so early, so sad that Mr. Montvel Cohen didn’t have what he said he had and that the Air America suffered a bloody lip before it even knew how to pee straight. Back in the day they said, get me a militant rap king, a funny funny lady, and a cross-dressing lesbian, and see what happens. Go. That’s radio. And that was not guaranteed to be good or great, but it was guaranteed to be by the seat of your pants. And it spawned a star, Dr. Rachel Maddow, who is wonderful.

My wish for Air America Radio has always been to return to that spot outside the box because I’m convinced that, had it stayed there, even just a little, its successes would eclipse the astounding achievement of “finding a buyer to snatch us from the jaws of bankruptcy.” Why not offer Marc Maron, who any serious AAR-phile acknowledges was the network’s potential giant snapped off too soon at the knees, half of Franken’s salary to create a big crazy noon show to fight for the weirdly important because-it’s-when-Rush-is-on time slot? Or how about a show based in Hollywood, on the nexus of show biz and politics and music and culture? Or why not a show based in Washington, D.C., an answer to my perpetual question of AAR, an entire network concerned with public policy and you’ve not got any single solitary presence in the Nation’s Capital?  

Don’t get me wrong. Hartmann will be fine. It just seems to me that when the turtle-shell frames that got you here’s about to split, you want to be rolling out something explosive, new, and cool as hell—not a show you’ve only been excited enough about to this point to call “syndicated,” leaving it to stream and podcast.

No offense, Mr. Hartmann.