On Monday evening, July 5th, NBC aired the semi-final competition of their seventh season of Last Comic Standing. A popular summer show hosted by The Office’s Craig Robinson, this season is proving to be just as exciting as previous ones. There is no lack for talent as the semifinal group of more than 40 is weeded down to a group of ten.
On the Alex stage in Glendale, Calif., in front of a huge audience every one of the comics presented a unique character with quirky points of view. I laughed. I laughed a lot. I laughed until Guy Torry.
Then I just felt awkward.
Being Canadian, I enjoy humor about U.S. politics as much as most Americans. Because our own politicians aren’t as charismatic, some may say I enjoy the political antics south of the 49th parallel even more than the average American. Thinking back on GuyTorry’s set, I don’t believe that it was his material that was the issue.
While pacing the stage like a caged animal, Torry ventured that the Ku Klux Klan was in support of voting for President Obama in 2008 because of the recession. He joked that the KKK couldn’t afford the 800-thread count sheets they once used and now are visible behind a 200-thread count discount sheet. This seemed to be the only stab at an actual joke in a long rant of negativity about Obama.
This line of humor is definitely borderline but what sent it into the “I’m uncomfortable watching this” stage was his belligerent attitude after his set toward the audience and the judges. He shouted at the judges to “Google it, Google it!” when they questioned his comedy source and told the female judge her opinion didn’t matter because she would never attend one of his shows anyway.
Why was he here, then, if the judge and audience opinions didn’t matter? Was it just to seek attention, even if the attention is bad? What was his anger directed at, or for whom?
I could not see through Torry’s anger to understand his comedic point. Proverbs 22:24 warns us against making friends with “a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” (NIV)
The audience was in agreement and the hot-tempered Guy Torry will not be moving on to the finals. I sighed with relief.
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Not only was Guy Torry’s set painfully unfunny, it also unfairly portrayed an entire state of people in a negative light. He set up the Klan bit by saying that he passed by the rally while riding in a limo through the woods from a Kentucky airport to his hotel. There are only three cities in the entire state that have comedy clubs. In none of these three cities would a person drive through woods from the airport, let alone past a Klan rally. I’m not naive enough to believe that there isn’t Klan activity in our state. I’m sure there is, and it’s a horrible blemish. But to blatantly lie about such an incident in the name of “humor” and, in the process, cast a negative light upon an entire state of people, is absolutely wrong. I know comedians make up scenarios so that they can deliver stories and punchlines, but there was no need for him to falsely “place” the story in Kentucky. A state where, by the way, Guy Torry is doing a weekend of shows in late August. THAT should be interesting.
Forget about Guy Torrey for the moment, but did you actually try to use his performance on TV to exemplify the bible passage: Proverbs 22:24 warns us against making friends with â€œa hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.â€ (NIV) Are you KIDDING US! How lame an attempt. And didn’t particularly care for his set. But your use of that performance to exemplify “anger” that Proverbs is referring to is really more of a poor “set” than Torrey’s. Secondly, unlike your statement, “long rant of negativity about Obama,” Torry was not about the President, it was directed at Hillary Clinton — get YOUR facts straight (On the web –Google it, Google it! — which, again YOU are incorrect, He didn’t shout that at the Judges, it was a part of his set and directed at the audience (check it of LCS on the internet — why must I keep correcting someone who is critiquing someone else?????) Thirdly, and speaking of facts, DID you Google what he said to Google? There is a “questionable” website that DOES state that in the state of Kentucky the Klan said that “they wanted to support “Anybody other than Hillary.” Whether the statement is actually from the Klan or not is to be determined, the point is, it IS out there and COULD be accurate (found it on the web — Google it!, Google it!) Your other blogger seemed Oh SOOOOOOO appalled that anyone would say anything about the great state of Kentucky — a state, historically KNOWN for its great love of people who are different. Please, THAT was appalling — do I sound “angry?” Well, let’s talk about your rational for determining “hot-tempered” and “[that] his anger [was] directed at, or for whom?” First who says he was angry before he got on stage and was critiqued by the judges? Was it his “pacing the stage like a caged animal?” Well, if you were familiar with one of the most revered and successful comedians on stage today, you would know that Torrey’s pacing was a la Chris Rock, it’s Chris style on stage — to repeated pace back and forth(DVD “BACK IN BLACK”)— or didn’t you know that? All YOU saw was “anger.” By the way, are you getting angry yet, by my critique of YOUR critique attempt? If so, that’s only human of you. And speaking of human, if you are (a)on national TV, (b) NBC (c)your brother was already a successful comedian (Joe Torrey)(d) you are already getting PAID for performing at IMPROV’s all over the country (seen his act — killed) (e) you’ve opened for major music concerts (f) you, yourself know you didn’t do a great job (f) you have felt the PAIN of being boo’ed off a stage before (years ago–know the promoter)and (g)you have a “reputation” to try to uphold in the public eye, movie industry, and future stand-up box office draws (they call it being able to get a job and eating), If YOU were human, wouldn’t YOU react in a way that would try to deflect as much of the criticism as you possibly could to “save professional face?” — or do you think it would be more “christian” to just be “humble” and “take it on the chin?” — If HE didn’t put up a fight (or at least a good smoke screen) He would have been discounted in the public-eye, considered a “punk” by many social peers and would have had lost his venue draw — no matter how “humbling” he tried to take the critism. Besides to have responded “humbly” to the criticsm would have been ca contradiction to the forcefullness and energy he exuded when he came onto the stage — he would have been seen as a lion who had just been tamed by the lion tamer (judges)— and THAT would have really been professional suicide — he’s not one of the new kid’s on the block, he’s a veteran — do you think George Carlin would have backed down from the judges even if he bombed? You can answer that by the words of his own routine:”The Ten Words You Can’t Say On the Radio” Torrey’s response was not a determiner of anger or of whether he is acting in a christian manner — YOU have erroreously taking a real LIFE PRINCIPLE in Proverbs, and tried to make it apply in the most UNREAL, PLASTIC, “ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN’T GOLD” manufactured context, and try to draw some christian anedote from it. Britton Cowman, when I first read your blog, I must say it “sent it into the â€œIâ€™m uncomfortable watching thisâ€ stage.” You blogs “belligerent attitude after his set toward Mr. Torrey and the readers”. Then after writing this common sense reply, I realized that with your type of poor restatement of facts, misinterpretations of individuals emotional state based only on your visual observation and your poor choice of an example from so many more applicable scenarios to choose from and “IN CONTEXT,” to illustrate or teach a lesson on a powerful biblical passage of scripture in Proverbs, that you “will not be moving on to the finals [as a journalist or critical thinking writer]” and then “I sighed with relief.” I think “[t]he audience [is] in agreement.” Honest, and NOT angry . . .