Monday, March 28, 2011

All apologies

If there is one Hollywood career I’ve had no interest in following, it’s Kirstie Alley’s. Her sour presence on Cheers made the show’s inevitable decline particularly pungent, and I’m not sure I’ve seen anything she’s done since then. But today, she gets a nod of respect.

The other night, “comedian” George Lopez did a little routine about Alley’s performance on Dancing with the Stars, a series of jokes limited to comparing the famously “overweight” actress to a . . . pig. I don’t know which is more archaic, the joke or the attitude? Either way, Lopez stuck to the joke through its several iterations: the fat actress has hooves; before going on the show, she went to the market and had roast beef; and cut to a video clip of a pig with its head out of a car window going "Wheee".

I can’t imagine who Alley’s devoted fans are, but I am entirely sympathetic to what they did next: they began haranguing Lopez, who subsequently cowered in the shelter of a tweeted apology:

I misjudged the joke. No malice was intended and I apologize to Kirstie.

He “misjudged” the joke? What sensitive moral antennae are required, what exquisite ethical reasoning goes into judging or misjudging a series of jokes that liken Kirstie Alley to a pig? And really, no “malice” was intended? By whom? Well, maybe he personally cherishes Alley, but did he really think that anybody who could cough up a laugh at his jokes would be entirely free of malice? Alley didn’t buy it for a minute.

She subsequently tweeted:

I don't need or want ur apology...I want your kidney dude..on behalf of ur X and all women uv insulted...give it back

Apparently (gosh, this gets really gets good), Alley was making “fun of the comedian for accepting a kidney from his wife and later divorcing her.” She gets rough. The comedian’s little piggie jokes suddenly pale by comparison and look even more puerile and unimaginative.

The conclusion is not an unhappy one, though. Alley let us all know that

In fairness.. Mr. Lopez sent me a HUGE Slew of flowers today... I formally accept your flowers and your regards...heres yur kidney back..;)

Slam. Dunk.

In my next post, I'll explain why I don't think Lopez should have apologized at all.

(By the way, I have to say, I love the idea of Lopez “accepting a kidney” from his wife. Apparently the conversation about a kidney transplant begins with “Darling, please, please accept this kidney from me” and not “Hey, your kidney is going to be cut out of your gut and sewn inside of me, okay?” Is that some serious unspeak or what? And, man, when the divorce came . . . cue jokes about who gets custody of the kidneys.)


Benny said...

Perhaps we can say that it is not the joke he "misjudged", but the audience?

sw said...

We can certainly say that. But if the audience of every joke consists of everybody who can somehow hear that joke, then almost every audience would be similarly "misjudged"?

Steven said...

I think the point about "accepting a kidney" is that "accept" implies that the kidney-giving was not actually a gift but rather one side of a deal (the other side being presumably, that he would never leave her).