Zach Galifianakis is funny?

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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby BrownEyedCat on Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:34 pm

Every act I've seen of that guy - every. Single. One- has some kind of racist undertone. All of his puppets. I'm not kidding.

You can only do the 'Oh I am so shocked that this puppet is being offensive when I myself and totally mild mannered and the straight man' before I just start staring and thinking 'Guy, you're not fooling anyone.'
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby IVstudios on Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:29 pm

Don't be ridiculous. That old guy he does isn't racist, it's agist.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Pimpette on Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:12 pm

Most Jeff Dunham skits have me crying from laughter the first time I see them. But generally... only the first time. And I just think his bit, when he tries to do two or four voices at once, is neat.
A couple of years ago I thought Dane Cook was hilarious. Then I listened to him again recently and realized that he is EFFING ANNOYING.

...i just looked up zach on youtube.
I couldn't stay interested. the guy just bores me. I didn't even crack a smile.

Bleh.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Killbert-Robby on Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:20 pm

Pimpette wrote:Most Jeff Dunham skits have me crying from laughter the first time I see them. But generally... only the first time.


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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Bustertheclown on Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:04 pm

While we're on the Redbluecollarneck Comedy roster, why is Ron White lumped in with those guys? I have a feeling that it's the monosyllabic name and the accent, and nothing beyond that. It sure as hell ain't for his comedy styling or personal taste.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Phact0rri on Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:09 pm

BrownEyedCat wrote:Every act I've seen of that guy - every. Single. One- has some kind of racist undertone. All of his puppets. I'm not kidding.

You can only do the 'Oh I am so shocked that this puppet is being offensive when I myself and totally mild mannered and the straight man' before I just start staring and thinking 'Guy, you're not fooling anyone.'


I saw the guys name... and thats about as far as I got. Only cause I know that sort of stuff will make me pissed off.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby McDuffies on Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:47 am

I like Jeff Dunham. I mean, his dolls are hit-and-miss, but I generally like him. I don't think that the fact that his dolls are jerks mean he's neccesarily a jerk too. We're all writers, and we've all written characters that are different from our personality. Jeff is basically a writer and an actor, so I think that you can hardly call his accountable for what he (or his dolls) is saying while he's acting. Not more than you can hold Anthony Hopkind accountable for Hannibal Lector murders.
He's got the "jerk and a straight guy" dinamics going that seems to work best of all the things he's tried, and I think this dynamic works simply because he's a good animator: you never have an impression that he's the one behind the insults, your attention is always turned to dolls. There's a clip from the show somewhere on Youtube where he's pissing a guy off in a talk-show, and the guy is yelling at the doll instead of him. I catch myself looking at little tricks that he uses to animate his dolls and to turn attention to them, it's really a skill.

I don't even think that his act is all that offensive. I mean, not only I've seen worse, but his act isn't anti-authority or something, it's more akin to children talking dirty jokes than to some serious satire or social commentary. I think that it's given at the beginning that his dolls are jerks and that you're not supposed to take them seriously. And then they are just wooden dolls, and there's always live Jeff to try to calm the situation if the "dolls" have gotten too far.
Though in some cases, you can see, when Walter says something terribly bigotted and backward, you realise that audience is laughing in aproval, not in shock. It's like he has said something they were thinking but were too polite to say. I think, idiots, they are supposed to be laughing because what he said is outrageous, not because it's "true". But apparently he stumbles onto the note that hits some chauvinistic string in audience members.

I think I respect him most for his improvisational skills - though they are usually partly scripted as well, to look like they're improvised. But I think those are the best parts, bloopers, or parts where he taunts someone from audience. Going to his show must be some kind of calculated risk.

Now, there are things I don't like about him:
Like I said, not all dolls work. Walter and Peanut do, but Achmed is a two-joke character with no further character development, and once he's shot out the "he's a terrorist" and "he's dead" jokes, all he does further is repeating them, each time progresively more lame. One thing I like about it, though, is the irony in the fact that he's making a terrorist character appealing to American public.
I passionately hate his solo stand-up act, in it he has the role that he usually gives to his dolls, so suddenly he's stepping out of his mild-mannered character and suspension of disbilief is shot to hell. Plus he's usually not that funny either. Like, the bit where he's talking about how his daughter is stupid, that's so unfunny and unneccesary that I felt uncomfortable watching it.
Also, I've watcher all three specials of his, and each was progressively less funny. He's probably out of good jokes by now.

Oh, I also liked "Dude, where's my car". That's so shamelessly stupid film that it has to be on purpose. Noone is that bad in real life.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Rkolter on Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:21 am

Pimpette wrote:Most Jeff Dunham skits have me crying from laughter the first time I see them. But generally... only the first time. And I just think his bit, when he tries to do two or four voices at once, is neat.


McDuffies wrote:Like I said, not all dolls work.


This really sums up my thoughts on Jeff Dunham's act.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Bustertheclown on Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:21 am

The comparison between Jeff Dunham with his puppets and Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter is not apt. Anthony Hopkins did not create Hannibal Lecter, he merely played him. Jeff Dunham created the puppets, and wrote the jokes. They come from his imagination, and the "they're just characters, not me!" defense is weak, especially when you consider the characters he's created-- an Arab terrorist skeleton, a jalapeno on a stick with a heavy and cartoonish Mexican accent, and a black buck-toothed pimp, among others. His entire shtick is "how offensive can I be, without getting caught, because it's cartoony puppets?" That's perfectly acceptable in comedy, although I do believe his jokes skew unironically a bit toward "ignorant white guy" pretty often. Then again, I look at his base of appeal, rednecks who like ventriloquist acts, and I get it. The point is, you can't separate the writer from the material. That's a cop-out.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Rkolter on Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:48 am

Bustertheclown wrote:Jeff Dunham created the puppets, and wrote the jokes. They come from his imagination, and the "they're just characters, not me!" defense is weak, especially when you consider the characters he's created-- an Arab terrorist skeleton, a jalapeno on a stick with a heavy and cartoonish Mexican accent, and a black buck-toothed pimp, among others. ... The point is, you can't separate the writer from the material. That's a cop-out.


I really have to call bullshit on this. You can certainly seperate a writer from his material. In fact, it is an excellent writing exercise to be forced to write from a perspective you would never take.

A good writer can write characters (material, jokes, etcetera...) that expouses viewpoints counter to their own. A really good writer does it believably.

Besides, if you couldn't seperate him from his material, that would make Jeff Dunham a closet homophobic sexist multi-racist who hates both the young and old, loves terrorism, and wishes he was a redneck pimp while secretly believing all carribean natives are pink furry monsters.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby McDuffies on Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:31 am

Bustertheclown wrote:The comparison between Jeff Dunham with his puppets and Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter is not apt. Anthony Hopkins did not create Hannibal Lecter, he merely played him.

So it's those who actually wrote the scripts for Hannibal films that are closet serial killers?

Jeff Dunham created the puppets, and wrote the jokes. They come from his imagination, and the "they're just characters, not me!" defense is weak, especially when you consider the characters he's created-- an Arab terrorist skeleton, a jalapeno on a stick with a heavy and cartoonish Mexican accent, and a black buck-toothed pimp, among others. His entire shtick is "how offensive can I be, without getting caught, because it's cartoony puppets?" That's perfectly acceptable in comedy, although I do believe his jokes skew unironically a bit toward "ignorant white guy" pretty often. Then again, I look at his base of appeal, rednecks who like ventriloquist acts, and I get it. The point is, you can't separate the writer from the material. That's a cop-out.

Great deal of writing is in understanding how other people think, in being able to put words into mouths of characters who are very different from writer. In that way, you certainly can separate writer from material. Seriously, have you never had any crap from people who thought that all your writing was autobiographical and that through negative characters you were trying to speak your closet opinions?

Even if you accept that you can't differentiate writer from his material, the connection is not always direct as in "what characters say is actual opinions of the writer". Specially if it's written in ironic tone, in which case you're actually supposed to read the oposite from what it literally says.
Most of Dunham's work is ironic, in fact I think that success of his creations depends on how obviously that irony comes across. Walter and Peanut in particular are obviously supposed to be examples of awfull characters, and you're not supposed to sympathise with them, take their opinions for granted, etc. You're supposed to laugh at them, not with them. If you take their opinions seriously, you may as well go ahead and take all fictional opinions seriously, including Hannibal Lector's.
He's prolly popular with rednecks who aren't able to spot the irony though, and I admit that sometimes that :ignorant white guy" attitude appears, but I don't think that's prevailing in his act. Anyways, modern comedy is full of ethnic caricatures and similar stuff, as reaction to agressive political correctness pleads, I don't see how he's any different.

His entire shtick is "how offensive can I be, without getting caught, because it's cartoony puppets?"

I actually think it's a good shtick. Though he doesn't exactly go for as offensive as he can get, he pulls much more punches than many other comedy acts.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Laemkral on Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:27 pm

I don't want to rehash anything that's already been explained in depth by others, so I'll keep it brief.

I tend to side with McDuffies and Ryan regarding Jeff Dunham. I think some of his stuff is funny and he's an amazing ventriloquist. Achmed the Dead Terrorist can be funny, and at times can be incredibly INCREDIBLY racist. The rule of thumb on stereotyping and jokes is self-deprication. Jewish people make Jew jokes, fat people make fat jokes, black people make black jokes, etc. The puppets allow him to be the white guy who says the jokes he's not allowed to say, and when he comes off as "Politically correct white guy" then its funny. Sometimes though, I think he pushes it too far.

Dane Cook is funny in moderation. He repeats himself too much in order to MAKE the joke funny. That means its a weak joke.

Zach Galifianakis has his schtick and does it well, but he's by no means an amazing comic. I thought he was the right person for the role in The Hangover. There's something about his beard that is mesmerizing.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby IVstudios on Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:08 pm

Laemkral wrote:Dane Cook is funny in moderation. He repeats himself too much in order to MAKE the joke funny. That means its a weak joke.


Actually, he repeats OTHER comedians too much in order to make the jokes funny. ba-ZING!
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby BrownEyedCat on Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:41 pm

I think there is a good point to be made that a good writer can speak in character voices that aren't his viewpoint. But when EVERY SET I've seen him do, with EVERY puppet I've seen him do (around five, I think), regardless of its 'gimmick' has racist jokes... I really think he might be having the opposite problem.

All of them. And they're not all big 'Oh look I'm a dead Terrorist and I'm Muslim!' in your face racist jokes, they're also smaller, subtler racist jokes, the kind that white guys without puppets will make around water coolers and not think about.

Which is a shame, because I think he's an amazing ventriloquist with interesting puppets, and I like that kind of stuff. But all that ends up happening I start feeling more and more weirded out as the racist material just... keeps coming.


Also, I don't think having puppets get you off the hook for saying racist stuff. It comes off as a childish diversion and that's what makes me angry.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Bustertheclown on Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:57 pm

Rkolter wrote:
Bustertheclown wrote:Jeff Dunham created the puppets, and wrote the jokes. They come from his imagination, and the "they're just characters, not me!" defense is weak, especially when you consider the characters he's created-- an Arab terrorist skeleton, a jalapeno on a stick with a heavy and cartoonish Mexican accent, and a black buck-toothed pimp, among others. ... The point is, you can't separate the writer from the material. That's a cop-out.


I really have to call bullshit on this. You can certainly seperate a writer from his material. In fact, it is an excellent writing exercise to be forced to write from a perspective you would never take.

A good writer can write characters (material, jokes, etcetera...) that expouses viewpoints counter to their own. A really good writer does it believably.


No no no. You've got me all wrong. I'm not saying that a writer can't write from experiences outside of his own, and still make them believable. Of course people can do that. What I'm saying is that stories and characters are constructs, not live entities. They are what is put into them, and nothing more. They do not have lives of their own. They do not live and breath outside of the will of the storyteller or the audience. A character or a story might develop organically to a point that it might seem to be living, breathing, and acting of its own free will, but it isn't. These things are mental exercise. Take away the writer, take away the audience, and the character doesn't exist.

With that stated, the man's choice in the types of characters he creates and how he uses them is telling evidence about one or both of two things: who he is, and the type of audience to which he seeks to relate.

Besides, if you couldn't seperate him from his material, that would make Jeff Dunham a closet homophobic sexist multi-racist who hates both the young and old, loves terrorism, and wishes he was a redneck pimp while secretly believing all carribean natives are pink furry monsters.


Who says he isn't? I've certainly met my share of people who have had similarly ridiculous sets of views and desires.

McDuffies wrote:
Bustertheclown wrote:The comparison between Jeff Dunham with his puppets and Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter is not apt. Anthony Hopkins did not create Hannibal Lecter, he merely played him.

So it's those who actually wrote the scripts for Hannibal films that are closet serial killers?


Thomas Harris is not without his idiosyncrasies.

Jeff Dunham created the puppets, and wrote the jokes. They come from his imagination, and the "they're just characters, not me!" defense is weak, especially when you consider the characters he's created-- an Arab terrorist skeleton, a jalapeno on a stick with a heavy and cartoonish Mexican accent, and a black buck-toothed pimp, among others. His entire shtick is "how offensive can I be, without getting caught, because it's cartoony puppets?" That's perfectly acceptable in comedy, although I do believe his jokes skew unironically a bit toward "ignorant white guy" pretty often. Then again, I look at his base of appeal, rednecks who like ventriloquist acts, and I get it. The point is, you can't separate the writer from the material. That's a cop-out.

Great deal of writing is in understanding how other people think, in being able to put words into mouths of characters who are very different from writer. In that way, you certainly can separate writer from material. Seriously, have you never had any crap from people who thought that all your writing was autobiographical and that through negative characters you were trying to speak your closet opinions?

Even if you accept that you can't differentiate writer from his material, the connection is not always direct as in "what characters say is actual opinions of the writer". Specially if it's written in ironic tone, in which case you're actually supposed to read the oposite from what it literally says.
Most of Dunham's work is ironic, in fact I think that success of his creations depends on how obviously that irony comes across. Walter and Peanut in particular are obviously supposed to be examples of awfull characters, and you're not supposed to sympathise with them, take their opinions for granted, etc. You're supposed to laugh at them, not with them. If you take their opinions seriously, you may as well go ahead and take all fictional opinions seriously, including Hannibal Lector's.
He's prolly popular with rednecks who aren't able to spot the irony though, and I admit that sometimes that :ignorant white guy" attitude appears, but I don't think that's prevailing in his act. Anyways, modern comedy is full of ethnic caricatures and similar stuff, as reaction to agressive political correctness pleads, I don't see how he's any different.

His entire shtick is "how offensive can I be, without getting caught, because it's cartoony puppets?"

I actually think it's a good shtick. Though he doesn't exactly go for as offensive as he can get, he pulls much more punches than many other comedy acts.


Jeff Dunham's comedy has never struck me as ironic in the least. Irony, in the comedic sense, is a subversion. In his case, for him to be ironic, he'd have to be subverting the stereotypes he's portraying somehow. He's not. He's playing them straight, and even reinforcing them. For example, Achmed the Dead Terrorist doesn't exist for us to try to understand some other point of view. He doesn't exist to make terrorists lovable. He's a dead terrorist who died because he blew himself up out of incompetence. He's the enemy, and the enemy is a bungling moron. He exists to make the audience feel superior to "them over there." That's not ironic. That's pretty much dead-on the opposite of irony. Irony would be Johnny the Dead U.S. Soldier telling the same jokes.

I seriously am having trouble understanding how anyone could assign some Andy Kaufman-esque metacomedy attributes to Jeff Dunham, of all people. His shit is exactly what you see-- xenophobic, racist, and fairly unsophisticated. You can tell by the smirk on his face. He may not always believe what he's saying, but the people who shell out $20 to go see his act sure as hell do, and he's happy to let them. He's happy to keep letting people laugh at José's funny nondescript Latin accent, Achmed's idiocy, the idea that people from exotic locations are weirdos, the idea that old people are angry and sour, and the myriad other little jabs he's got going on. He's not making fun of people who agree with what he says; he's catering to them. It's all "it's funny 'cause it's not me," humor. Pretty simple stuff. You don't have to think too hard to get it, and it never needs an explanation. That isn't to say he's not funny. Let's just call it what it is, instead of trying to rationalize it.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby McDuffies on Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:33 am

Bustertheclown wrote:Jeff Dunham's comedy has never struck me as ironic in the least. Irony, in the comedic sense, is a subversion. In his case, for him to be ironic, he'd have to be subverting the stereotypes he's portraying somehow. He's not. He's playing them straight, and even reinforcing them. For example, Achmed the Dead Terrorist doesn't exist for us to try to understand some other point of view. He doesn't exist to make terrorists lovable. He's a dead terrorist who died because he blew himself up out of incompetence. He's the enemy, and the enemy is a bungling moron. He exists to make the audience feel superior to "them over there." That's not ironic. That's pretty much dead-on the opposite of irony. Irony would be Johnny the Dead U.S. Soldier telling the same jokes.

I seriously am having trouble understanding how anyone could assign some Andy Kaufman-esque metacomedy attributes to Jeff Dunham, of all people. His shit is exactly what you see-- xenophobic, racist, and fairly unsophisticated. You can tell by the smirk on his face. He may not always believe what he's saying, but the people who shell out $20 to go see his act sure as hell do, and he's happy to let them. He's happy to keep letting people laugh at José's funny nondescript Latin accent, Achmed's idiocy, the idea that people from exotic locations are weirdos, the idea that old people are angry and sour, and the myriad other little jabs he's got going on. He's not making fun of people who agree with what he says; he's catering to them. It's all "it's funny 'cause it's not me," humor. Pretty simple stuff. You don't have to think too hard to get it, and it never needs an explanation. That isn't to say he's not funny. Let's just call it what it is, instead of trying to rationalize it.


Achmed's not very representative. Dunham spends half of his time doing Walter or Peanut. I think that, being that those two are defined as prime assholes, a kind of people that might be amusing on stage but whom we'd hate in real life, we are supposed to take the oposite side from what they're saying, and that's irony by definition. You may think that he uses hateful characters in order to sneak his more controversial opinions, I don't think that's the case. Most of what Walter and Peanut say is too extreme and backward to be real. If he really was that backward, he wouldn't hide behind the dolls.

Achmed has a feeling of fratboy prank more than anything to me. If I was to make a conclusion about Dunham from it, I would say that he's not strongly against "war on terror", but he's not strongly for it either. Lack of political stance is obvious there, he doesn't even brush on political topics, he mostly makes lame and obvious jokes like "I took my kid to work day". The topic is something he doesn't strongly care about, just something that he picked up "because it's there", and you may blame him for taking the serious subject lightly or for looking at one side of the things, but he isn't war-mongering or hate-spreading. But anyways, if it didn't get that popular, Achmed would probably be just a footnote in his career.

I'm rather unmoved about most of other stereotyping he has, because those are so old and worn out stereotypes, he's hardly pushing the envelope with them. I mean, Bubba J, big deal, whenever you hear a word "redneck", you know you're bound to hear the crossbreeding joke in next few minutes, and people from south may get pissed about it, or maybe they're used to it by now, it's not like I'm gonna form an opinion about them based on his act.

Dunham's certainly not subversive or insightful or anything. I wouldn't say he's completely immune to that "smug white guy" attitude you mentioned earlier either. But I definitely wouldn't put him in the same folder with Pauly Shore or Larry the cable guy. Considering that comedians today are competing at who's going to be more offensive (ironically or not), I think that his offensiveness is rather tame, practically a 'family friendly' brand of insult humor, that if we wanted to talk about offensiveness, we'd have numerous prime subjects before we get to him.
I do think that he's usually funny, and when you think someone's funny, you let him get away with things that unfunny guy would be scolded for.

It's all "it's funny 'cause it's not me," humor.

That's not exactly true, is it? He kind of prouds making his act 'regional', which means that his puppets will mock the town in which they're performing, the state, Americans in general, members of the audience, and of course Dunham himself.

No no no. You've got me all wrong. I'm not saying that a writer can't write from experiences outside of his own, and still make them believable. Of course people can do that. What I'm saying is that stories and characters are constructs, not live entities. They are what is put into them, and nothing more. They do not have lives of their own. They do not live and breath outside of the will of the storyteller or the audience. A character or a story might develop organically to a point that it might seem to be living, breathing, and acting of its own free will, but it isn't. These things are mental exercise. Take away the writer, take away the audience, and the character doesn't exist.

With that stated, the man's choice in the types of characters he creates and how he uses them is telling evidence about one or both of two things: who he is, and the type of audience to which he seeks to relate.

If you check out any of those "character writing" threads, about halfa people here say that at some point, their characters started having "life on their own" and weren't in their coltrol anymore. Now you may read that as you like: you may say that their imagination is running wild, that their subconscious is taking over the writing process, that they're dragging hidden parts of their own character, I'm sure someone who studied psychology would know. But however you choose to explain it, apparently there is such fenomenon, the point at which writer gets so familiar with characters, that writing them becomes intuitive, and writer doesn't feel 'responsible' for character's actions anymore. I think that Dunham is actually a good example of that kind of writing.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Rkolter on Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:19 am

I really think you're stretching Buster. Durham is not ridiculing people who match stereotypes. He is ridiculing stereotypes themselves. His audience is not laughing at Mexicans; they are laughing at the stereotype that all mexicans are horny and lazy.

Yeah, it's simple comedy. He's no comedic genius. But he is pretty good.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Phact0rri on Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:42 am

Why is this even an argument? Everyone has agreed he says things that is bigotry in nature. So what if he doesn't agree with it? Many people do. They follow the stereotypes have preconceived notions of people. They watch and laugh, at the stereotypes, and the ignorant ones blanket these things as people, as race.

To say its harmless is to say that, this is just comedy and these are just silly stereotypes. I know plenty of people who think these things do characterize an entire race. And people unfamilar with these thoughts will now have more ammunition for dealing with people of different life styles.

No matter puppet. No matter 'just a joke'. Its the reason I don't like redneck humour, or fat people laughing at themselves. Its degrading and its gives people reason to laugh at someone who they are simply for being themselves.

Its making money on hate, plain and simple. I know I'm a little extreme about this sort of thing, and those who disagree are welcomed to laugh. but to say he doesn't believe it, doesn't matter.
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<KittyKatBlack> You look deranged. But I mean that in the nicest way possible. ^_^;
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby IVstudios on Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:10 am

Phact0rri wrote:To say its harmless is to say that, this is just comedy and these are just silly stereotypes. I know plenty of people who think these things do characterize an entire race. And people unfamilar with these thoughts will now have more ammunition for dealing with people of different life styles.


Do you really think a joke is going to convert someone to being a racist? "Gee, I never disliked black people before, but that puppet made me see how bad they really are!" You don't become racist just from hearing jokes, it's your whole upbringing.

Most people are smart enough to tell the difference between a joke an real life, and who cares about the ones who can't. I hate the way offending people has become a criminal act.
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Re: Zach Galifianakis is funny?

Postby Ekolter on Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:10 am

Having sneaked out and saw The Hangover last night, I enjoyed it. Yes, some of the humor was crude and down right wrong. Sometimes you just need a good laugh, and this provided it.
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