In The History of the World, Part I, Mel Brooks (at the time portraying a struggling stand-up comedian in Ancient Greece) made one of the pithiest summations of his craft ever recorded: He called himself “a stand-up philosopher.” Since then, the world’s seen its fair share of great stand-up philosophers, and one of the greatest in the business today is Russel Brand.
On his web show The Trews, Brand offers his take on “the news behind the news.” FOX “News” has been one of Russel’s more frequent targets, especially lately during its coverage of the Ferguson shooting and subsequent protests. Today’s target is Greg Gutfield, who somehow manages to maintain his very unique facial expression throughout.
An odd combination of smirking, superior smugness and manufactured outrage; the same expression one might have while sitting on a public toilet, smelling the most amazing thing one had ever shat, and screaming profanities at the complainer in the next stall.
Facial expressions aside, Gutfield spends most of the segment criticizing “the liberal media” for reading the David and Goliath story wrong, and not siding with Goliath. Who, Brand points out, was a “clearly allegorical figure representing oppressive authority.” And why don’t people side with Goliath, Gutfield asks? Because it’s “cool” to side with David.
Well, yes…because when we think of cool, the first person we think of is the First King of Israel. Clearly, the James Dean of his time.
Otherwise in the segment, Brand addresses Gutfield guest and token black guy Jason L. Riley, author of Please Stop Helping Us: A Love Letter to Uncle Tom. (Who Brand notes sounds remarkably like Richard Pryor doing an impression of a white guy.) Or something like that.
Uncle Riley’s proposition, of course, being that “[the notion of] black crime stemming from poverty, or a racist criminal justice system, which is nonsense!.” To which Brand replies.
“You can’t exclude every aspect of the argument except for the aspect that makes you right. That’s outrageous. Of course there’s an economic component to the argument. Of course there’s a social aspect. You can’t just bring out the author of the book We Deserve to be Shot to support arguments that mean FOX News can carry on being as they are. That Corporate America can carry on being as it is.”
When Riley said that black problems were about “behavior and attitudes toward the criminal justice system,” Brand responded
“People don’t just spontaneously have an attitude to the criminal justice system. Like the same way as you might not have an attitude, for example, to your dishwasher. If your dishwasher doesn’t do anything except wash the dishes, you won’t just suddenly wonder one day, ‘You know, it’s really unjust the way that dishwasher keeps shooting unarmed black men!’ The attitude is a result of action. What else could it be?”
And Brand is, as usual, right on target. But no stand-up philosopher bats a thousand, and Brand (being of England) still hasn’t quite grasped some of the subtleties of American Law Enforcement here in the 21st century.
“Doesn’t it got to be that there’s a level of responsibility for the police to protect and serve?”
Welcome to America, Russell.
Watch Brand lay it all out below: