My online friend alerted me the other day that late nite talk show host (and my personal fav), Craig Ferguson, stated he wouldn't be doing any more jokes about Britney Spears as undoubtedly this woman has a problem...which, when it all boils down to it, isn't exactly funny...and less funny to poke fun of considering how much other celebrity fodder there is out there. I watched Craig that nite and sure enough he mentioned how this statement of his was getting around the Internet and how big and out of proportion it all was...he just isn't going to make fun of her for needing and trying to get some help. I, and my friend, wholeheartedly commend him for saying this.
When exactly do you draw the line on a celebrity and what you can and cannot make fun of about them? Some of you probably know that I have an interactive online comedy website, HumorMeOnline, and have made fun of Britney, Anna Nicole Smith, and Michael Jackson more times than I could count. But, call me a comedy killjoy...there are certain things I personally don't find funny: Child molestation, untimely death, and making fun of God. I just won't go there in most cases...oh, sure I've picked entries from people dealing with the whole Michael Jackson thing...BUT once it was pretty much a given that he probably did molest children in some way...I stopped. Priests and clergy molesting children? I don't see the funny...we are talking about innocent children here...how can anyone, when you seriously think about it...think it's funny?
When Anna Nicole Smith died the other day, the FIRST thing I thought of was "Leno's going to crack some joke about her"...my friend online at the time, whilst I was watching Letterman stated "Leno just did an Anna Nicole joke". How insensitive. How downright disgusting. At least to me...and from everyone I've spoken with...to them as well. Here is this woman, surely one of the greatest people to come along to pick on...a ditzy blonde built like most women wish they would look like...the closest thing we had since Jayne Mansfield to poke fun of (Mansfield purportedly had a 160 IQ). But, here is this woman, Anna Nicole, surely a caricature by her own design (she couldn't have been that stupid to get to where she was neither if you ask me) - and granted, she sure did some things to make fun of...and a lot of us took advantage of all of that.
I, unlike a lot of people, HAVE to keep abreast (no not an Anna Nicole joke...not any more) of things such as these...it's part of my "job"...I host my comedy website...without knowing which celebrity isn't wearing underwear today...leaves me at a deficit. I don't subscribe to People magazine, or watch Entertainment Tonite very often...I've never bought a National Enquirer and I don't intend to. This stuff is all over the Internet - why should I waste my hard-earned cash to know something that's already up there for free? So, when someone rattles off an entry containing the words "Suri", "the breakup video on YouTube", or "Chicken of the Sea isn't chicken?"...I know who or what they are speaking about. I don't necessarily care that topless photos of Jennifer Aniston were on Perez Hilton's website...but I know it...I HAVE to know it.
And that brings me back to Anna Nicole. I knew she had a son...I knew she loved him a lot. EVERY single photo or video I saw with her and him...she was glowing...she was doting...she just loved him so much. She couldn't have been faking all that...honestly, I saw her on her reality show...she wasn't that good an actress. This was genuine. I heard John Travolta talking about her the other day on some show saying how, when she was in a film with him, all she did was talk about him...nonstop - she just went on and on. This is not the actions of someone totally focused only on themselves...this was a woman who was also a mother. A caring mother who loved her son...who also loved her newborn daughter. But her son died in the hospital coming to visit her when she had her daughter - talk about traumatic. How can anyone get over something like that? How do you deal with that? How can you possibly deal with that under the microscope of all those cameras? And she had to lose weight I'm sure...being a spokesperson for TrimSpa...with a lawsuit slapped on the company, and I'm sure the company breathing down her neck...well...you try to lose weight right after you have a baby. Just because they are celebrities, they don't have magic pills...they have the other ones other people have used for years...but most people aren't scrutinized and expected to do things like a lot of celebrities have to.
I admit, when I first read that Anna Nicole died, I thought "Okay, not a funny joke...what type of publicity stunt is this now?"...but it wasn't. To me...it was sad. Quite sad. But the making fun of her and her infant daughter which ensued directly afterward and goes on still...isn't sad, it sickens me. I can't tell you how many entries I received at my site alone joking about just that...and these people have to know by now I don't even gravitate toward that type of humour...and I won't...but the people who come to my site don't see the "behind the scenes" things...but that doesn't mean we don't get them...and worse. Oh, much worse sometimes. Yes, once in a while I still get World Trade Center jokes submitted...and Holocaust ones. Talk about some hilarious topics, huh? They say comedy isn't pretty...let's get real here...sometimes it's downright ugly...and sometimes it's just not funny.
Which brings us back to Britney...maybe she's on a big publicity campaign, maybe she's always just been bonkers...but one thing is certain "normal" people don't act the way she's been lately, and if it is depression, drugs, a last-ditch effort to keep custody of her children...well I don't think we should all jump on the comedy bandwagon and make fun of her continually. When do you (or comedy shows/sites) draw the line and say "Wow, maybe she has some mental issues here? Maybe we should just give her a little time to get help and sort out whatever demons she has to deal with. Maybe we just need to back off and go chase Paris Hilton for a few weeks instead." And THE ugliest portrayal of something disguised as comedy I've seen so far...and by far? AOL's main screen page, showing a photo of a giant squid, the four-legged duck, and Britney smack in the middle with this lead-in line above: "Take a Peek At These Freaks" - how calculatingly callous can they be...and this is entertainment? This is a news service? More like disservice if you ask me. That was, at least to myself, exceedingly offensive. To be on the receiving end of it all...poor Britney, she's still a human being after all. Show SOME restraint people.
So, I, too, will show some restraint...and until that day I see her being her usual "wacky Britney-self" again, I will try my hardest to go and haunt some other celebrity...there's so many of them out there...plus I really haven't "officially" picked on Rosie and Trump - I'm sure they will be in the news here again any second now...any second...
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".