Thursday, July 20, 2006

Shouts and Vitriol

Tthis piece in the most recent New Yorker, American Idol World Court, by Paul Rudnick, is so unfunny that it provoked nothing but rage-- much more so than I will ever feel after reading any Seymore Hersh reportage detailing the failings of the Bush Administration. (And thank you Mr. Rudnick for pointing out how shallow I am.)

Why do I hate it so?

1. It's so incredibly original! No one has EVER thought to compare American Idol and national/ world politics!* What a fresh take! Surely no-one would ever think to compare an incredibly popular, incredibly fluffy, television program--one with elements that include voting and judges--to government and related issues! Get this-- they're passing judgement, but on serious things.

Here's a tip: when a Mandy Moore movie has done it already, your premise may have lost some of its satiric edge.

2. Wow, you're right! Randy Jackson sure does say "dawg" a lot. And Paula is spacy! And Simon is a jerk! It's like you've GOTTEN INSIDE THEIR HEADS!

3. Mr. Rudnick has made the bold decision to wait a full four seasons to drop this jewel on us. Also, he's decided to run it while the show is between seasons, and thus foremost in everyone's mind.

4. He probably got paid a couple of grand for shitting out this piece... although that can't compare to the hundreds of thousands he likely made for writing such hilarious films as Isn't She Great, Marci X, and The Stepford Wives, whereas...

5. Shouts and Murmurs has rejected all the pieces I've sent to them. And I have no money.

Yeah... my grapes are probably a bit sour.

But read the following rejected piece, and tell me that it's not eight times as funny as anything they've printed in the last year:

--

Frankenfranken
By Dan McCoy

The following is a transcript of the now infamous "Frankenfranken" program that aired at 2 am on July 17, 2005. It was the last episode of the program ever to be produced.

ANNOUNCER
Coming up next, we have The Frankenfranken Show, which will carry you on through 'til morning. This is Air America. The time is 2:05 AM.

Theme: Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper. Fade out.

FRANKENFRANKEN
Grrrr…. Hello. Welcome to Frankenfranken show. Me host, Frankenfranken, telling you Republicans are dead wrong, and me should know what I talk about. Ha ha. BECAUSE FRANKENFRANKEN DEAD! GET IT? GRRRRR! LAUGH, STUPID LISTENERS!

Sound of a cattle prod.

FRANKENFRANKEN
GRAHHH! (incoherent mumbling) Frankenfranken is sorry he said that. Frankenfranken knows he should not insult own audience. Let's take call.

CALLER #1


FRANKENFRANKEN
Caller?

CALLER #1
He—Hello?

FRANKENFRANKEN
Yes?

CALLER #1
Is this the Al Franken Show?

FRANKENFRANKEN
NO! NEXT CALLER!

CALLER #2
Hi. Mr. Franken, don't you think that naming your book "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" helped lower the level of political discourse in this country?

FRANKENFRANKEN
AAAAARRRRRRGGHHHH!!!

Sound of phone being crushed.

FRANKENFRANKEN
How many times does Frankenfranken have to explain to you people? Frankenfranken and Al Franken not the same. Frankenfranken created by Air America in effort to plug gigantic hole in least-popular overnight time slot. Me stitched together from parts of six dead Al Franken clones and one box Frankenberry™ brand cereal, then reanimated using power of lighting bolt that strike Air America broadcasting tower! IS VERY SIMPLE!

Long pause.

FRANKENFRANKEN
So to answer question: Frankenfranken not write Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot. Frankenfranken write much less popular book "If Rush Limbaugh Reanimated Corpse, He Still Be Dumb." Besides, me believe Al Franken book title meant as parody of Limbaugh own rhetorical attacks.

Sound of newspaper clumsily being opened.

FRANKENFRANKEN
So, while they bring new phone, let's talk. What in paper… George Bush say global warming need more study. George Bush say no stem cell research. George Bush say war in Iraq front line in war on terror. George Bush, George Bush, GEORGE BUSH! URGH! BUSH MAKE ME SO MAD! ANY CALLER BUSH MAKE MAD TOO, CALL IN! TALK TO FRANKENFRANKEN! CALL!

CALLER #3
Is this Frankenfranken?

FRANKENFRANKEN
YES!... Yes, is Frankenfranken. You hate Bush?

CALLER #3
Sure, sure… I'm a lifelong democrat, but that's not why I called. Did you say that you were stitched together from six dead clones of Al Franken and one box of Frankenberry cereal?

FRANKENFRANKEN
(Sigh) Yes, Frankenfranken say that.

CALLER #3
Why did they add the box of Frankenberry cereal?

FRANKENFRANKEN
You not think Frankenfranken ask self same question? Frankenfranken wonders every day! Is all Frankenfranken can do to keep from clawing at self to get at the delicious strawberry-flavored cereal that lies beneath! FRANKENFRANKEN NOT ASK TO BE CREATED! FRANKENFRANKEN JUST AS AIR AMERICA MAKE ME!

Sound of a cattle prod. Incoherent muttering.

CALLER #3
Well, also—you're stitched together from six dead Al Franken clones? Why murder six clones, pull them apart, put them back together, and reanimate them? It seems like a lot of trouble. If you have the technology to make a Franken clone, then why not just give the clone a show?

FRANKENFRANKEN
Because Air America mad with power! Air America discover secret of reanimating dead tissue, and decide to play God! Frankenfranken made up of six dead clones because Air America take the most liberal body part from each Al Franken, to create unholy super-liberal!

CALLER #3
Okay, now that just doesn't make sense. If these were all clones, surely the liberalism would be distributed exactly the same in…

Sound of Frankenfranken hanging up.

FRANKENFRANKEN
CALLERS! STOP MAKING FRANKENFRANKEN QUESTION MEANING OF OWN EXISTENCE! IT ENRAGES FRANKENFRANKEN! Of course Frankenfranken's life raises all kinds of questions! Frankenfranken is deeply conflicted about own existence! For example: as super-liberal, Frankenfranken appreciate cloning technology in relation to stem cells as possible medical boon. On other hand, as reanimated clone, Frankenfranken feels self to be abomination before God!

Incoherent chatter from engineer's booth. Sound of torch being lit.

FRANKENFRANKEN
Also, Frankenfranken wonder about own free will! Is Frankenfranken a liberal because me so chose? Or is Frankenfranken liberal because me stitched together from parts of liberal?! And is sound of torch being lit really sound that can be recognized over radio, then later transcribed for transcript purposes?!

Sound of scuffle, things being knocked over.

FRANKENFRANKEN
URRRRH! FIRE! FIRE BAD! NOOOOOOO!

Sound of burning studio collapsing. Static. Silence.

ANNOUNCER
Next, on Air America: Zombie Adlai Stevenson.

--

So, call me, The New Yorker. I may insult you, but I only do it out of love. Love, and the desire for you to send me large checks, and not to a guy who made a movie where Lisa Kudrow runs a rap label.

Seriously, fuck Paul Rudnick.

*to quote The Simpsons, "In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic."

5 comments:

Rob Bates said...

Dan --

I give you credit for actually reading the New Yorker piece, instead of just looking at the first paragraph and giving up, like I usually do.

However, because it excised you os much, I did make an attempt to actually read it, and noticed this classic, from Simon:

"I think that if, say, a terrorist has knowledge of an imminent attack, we might allow torture. I would make him sit next to Paula."

Can some call an ambulance? My sides just split!

fusenumber8 said...

You know, I actually tried to read that Shouts & Murmurs after you posted about it. Really. I clicked on the link and came to the page and attempted to do something I haven't done in years: Read Shouts & Murmurs. For the record, Woody Allen is never less funny than when he writes for it (ditto Steve Martin).

Anyway, I clicked on it and about the time I came to the word, "Simon:", I had to stop.

In contrast, I just read the whole Frankenfranken piece and found it hee-larious. So there you go. Now to satisfy this heretofore unknown desire to eat some Frankenberry cereal.

Dan McCoy said...

"Now to satisfy this heretofore unknown desire to eat some Frankenberry cereal."

Then my subtle viral marketing worked!

Abby Scott said...

The Newyorker is just the 30/40 somethings' version of Williamsburg.

If you don't get it, you're an asshole.

Fuck you, the Emperors clothes are not funny!

And yet every couple of weeks I think, "Ooh, an article on intelligent design, maybe this will be oka...doh!"

josh said...

rudnick is a horrible playwright. and a bad writer. and I forgot how much I liked frankenfranken. we really must have fucked this one up in rehearsal.