CBS News: Baseball Great Yogi Berra Dead at 90: An icon of Sports and Quotes

Captain Quote Master
Captain Quote Master

Source: CBS News: Baseball Great Yogi Berra Dead 90: An icon of Sports and Quotes

I think it would be fairly easy just to write a piece about Yogi Berra featuring a lot of his great one-liners. But we’re talking about one of the top 3-5 catchers in the history of Major League Baseball. And yes he was a great comedian, but how many catchers do you know of that were great behind the plate who also have a career 285 bating average with 358 home runs and 1430 RBI. At least statistically we’re talking about a better hitting catcher than Johnny Bench who is still the best all around catcher of all-time. Yogi is at least the best all around catcher pre-Johnny Bench who came up with the Cincinnati Reds in 1967.

As far as his humor I love people who put things in a very direct way telling it exactly how it is and using humor with it. Especially when they’re not making fun of someone, or some group of people. Who can say ironic things and stuff that they know can’t be true, but do it so well and intentionally that you have to laugh at it. Like the Yogi line about baseball being 90% half mental. Well anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics knows that can’t be true. But he was so clever about how he said that, that you had to laugh at that. Or saying obvious things, but doing it with perfect timing that again you have to laugh. “When you come to a fork in road, take it.”

“You can observe a lot just by watching.” Which of course sounds like Captain Obvious under attack and everyone must duck, or get hit in the head with useless information that they’ve known since they were born. But if you’re not someone who tends to be very good about knowing your surroundings and tend to miss things that are right in front of you, that little piece of obvious information can help you. And tell you to pay attention so you don’t miss what is going on right in front of you.

“It aint over till it’s over.” Good message for players who are down a lot in a game, but still have time to turn it around. And instead of thinking, “damn we suck! We’re not only going to get blown out, but we might not bother to score!” You would have Yogi saying something like, “relax, I know its 6-0, but its only the 3rd inning. Besides I got a guy in there who can actually pitch now. So just relax and play the game right and we’ll get back in it.” Telling his players there’s a reason why a World Series is seven games and games themselves are nine innings, because you don’t win those things early on.

Yogi Berra, again one of the top 3-5 catchers of all-time, but similar to Billy Martin and Phil Rizzuto if he wasn’t playing and managing baseball, he could have been a great comedian and talk show host as well. Because of his ability to put things exactly as they are with a little touch of great wit. Which is what great one-liners are. The ability to use common sense to make fun of life and even people in life. The ability to state the obvious without someone saying,”no shit Einstein! You got any other brand new discoveries you would like to share with us?” And because of that and I think especially the humor he’s going to be missed for a long time.

Yoo Jay: The Art and Freedom to Offend people

George Carlin
George Carlin

Source: Yoo Jay: The Art and Freedom to Offend people

If I’m going to listen to so-called political comedians, I’m going to first listen to people who know what they’re talking about. I’m not going to go to a mechanic to get my knee examined, or hire that person to do my taxes. Just like I’m not going to listen to a comedian who simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about and perhaps just looks at politics from a stereotypical point of view. As far as how they look at politics, politicians, Democrats, Republicans, etc. Then once I’ve determined that the comedian is knowledgable about politics, or whatever the issue is, they got to be funny. And use their own humor and not use material that a hundred other comedians and other people have already used.

To me at least comedy is only funny when it is accurate, or at least not exaggerated. So to make fat jokes about plus-sized curvy women who are actually in great shape, especially when they come from a rail-thin women who gets blown to the ground every time there’s a breeze in the air, is not funny and also doesn’t even make sense. Now a fat joke about a women, or man who goes to sleep at the all you can eat meat lovers buffet every night so they don’t miss anything, would be funny. But it would also be true. Jokes to me at least have to make sense and they make sense when they’re believable and correct. Like making fun of hypocrites to use as example. Like the guy who preaches about the dangers of adultery and homosexuality when he’s cheating on his third wife and having an affair with a man. You could say this person knows these dangers from personal experience.

I also tend to only listen to comedians who are consistent and non-partisan. Meaning they’re not looking to just bash Republicans, or Democrats, but people who they see as either funny, or bad politicians, or a combination of both. I’ll also listen to comedians who lean in one direction, or the other, but smart and honest enough to know that their side isn’t perfect either. And will go after their side from time to time when they feel they deserve it. Dennis Miller on the Right, Bill Maher, fairly Far-Left, Lewis Black on the Left, P.J. O’Rourke on the Right, whose not a fan of Democrats, or Republicans and the same thing with Chris Buckley the son of William F. Buckley.

George Carlin, is one of my favorite comedians and I don’t agree with all of his satire. But he was about as non-partisan as it came with his comedy even though his personal politics leaned very left at least on economic policy. But he didn’t make fun of Democrats, or Republicans, but he made fun of politicians who happened to be Democrats and Republicans. And he made fun of voters who voted for politicians. And I guess his idea of a politician was someone who would practically do anything to get reelected, or move on to the next level in government. Someone like that will get taken seriously by both sides of the isle and will also attract followers. Because a, they know what they’re talking about, but just as important they’re honest enough to talk about it. As opposed to the partisan comedian who bashes the other side as hard as they defend their own.

Political comedy and comedy in general needs to be funny first and of course. But it’s not going to be funny if its not accurate, or at least not exaggerated. And when you’re hitting one side, keep in mind someone is hitting your side and perhaps doing a damn good job at it. And you would better off if you can take a joke. Instead of acting you’re all perfect while the other side if loaded and overflowing with morons that need to be deported, because you’re out of room for morons. Then it also has to be consistent and this gets to political correctness. If redneck jokes are acceptable, so are ghetto jokes. If right-wing Christian jokes are acceptable, then so are right-wing Muslim jokes. And that is just a couple of examples. That great comedians make fun of people that deserve to be made fun of. Instead of picking out one side and hammering them, while they’re trying to defend everyone else.

My Talk Show Heroes: The Late Show With David Letterman: Joe Pesci Talking About Goodfellas in 1994

Joe & Dave- Two All-American Guys
Joe & Dave- Two All-American Guys

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review Plus

Here you have a Hall of Fame comedy duo here in David Letterman. One of I believe the top five or so best late night talk show hosts of all-time and a hell of a standup comedian as well. And Joe Pesci, whose one of the best improvisational actors of all-time. Who can make serious characters look like comedians and make the funniest people you’ll ever see seem even funnier. Because again like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro to use as examples, he’s not only a great improvisational actor, but he has a great sense of humor as well. A great comedian who perhaps has never done standup comedy in his entire career other than giving awards speeches.

Dave and Joe, are talking about Goodfellas here. Which is one of my top 2 Italian Mafia movies of all-time. I go back and forth between Goodfellas and Casino. Donnie Brasco, is also one of my favorites. But Goodfellas is a movie that is not just based on a true story and about Italian mob families in New York, but if you talk to the real-life characters that these actors played, like Henry Hill the character that Ray Liotta played they would tell you that Goodfellas is a true story. And it was like seeing themselves in real-life in that movie. Joe Pesci, played mobster Tommy DeVito and he probably has the funniest part in that movie.

Joe Pesci, like Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Cary Grant, Burt Reynolds, are actors/comedians that don’t need scripts. At least to be funny they can turn their character into themselves and you tell them who the character is and what they’re doing in the movie and they’ll not only play it, but add their own flavor to the role and especially add a lot of their humor to the role. They can make simple lines and scenes look hysterical. De Niro, with his facial expressions and the way he delivers lines and perhaps adds his own material. Pesci, by taking a crazy, or funnier character and making that person look like the funniest and craziest person in the world.
My Talk Show Heroes: Late Night With David Letterman- Joe Pesci in 1994

Movie Clips Classic Trailer Vault: Lenny 1974: A Comedian Who Pushes The Limits of Free Speech

Lenny 1974
Lenny 1974

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Lenny Bruce, was a comedian who used humor to talk about everyday American life. And part of how Americans lives is how we interact with each other even in the most personal of ways. Including, marriage divorce, family and yes, even sex. All he did was talked about how Americans lived, but he did it in public. He said things in the public that right-wing culturally conservative establishment who perhaps thought we were a Middle Eastern fundamentalist country and not a Western liberal democracy, didn’t believe Americans should be allowed to hear or say.

As I mentioned yesterday had Lenny came out 10-20 years later, he probably never spends a day in jail for his act. At least outside of the Bible Belt. He actually had a significant criminal record as a thief and dealing with drugs, but when it came to his comedy act he was arrested for literally using adult language in public. Which is clearly unconstitutional under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. He wasn’t libeling people, he was inciting violence, he wasn’t calling for violence to come against anyone. Even the cops who arrested him for using adult language. He was simply using adult language in public as part of his comedy routine.

People tend to think of political correctness as censorship against language that may tend to offend certain groups of people. And that is true obviously, but political correctness in the 1950s and early 1960s was used against people who used language that lets say the most religiously conservative of Americans not only find offensive, but immoral. And when that language is used they believe the people who say those things should literally be arrested. Today political correctness is used against comedians and other commentators who say negative things even if they’re true against minority groups in America. Lenny Bruce was a victim of 1950s and 1960s right-wing political correctness fascism.

Alison Martino-Mysteries and Scandals: Comedian Lenny Bruce-A Champion of Free Speech Who Was Ahead of His Time

Free Speech Under Assault
Free Speech Under Assault

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Keep in mind that Lenny Bruce’s act came out in the 1950s and up until the early 1960s when we were still living in this Leave it to Beaver Pleasantville, where a lot of Americans are supposed to live on the farm, or out West, type of culture. Where the idea of political correctness was not saying anything that went against this establishment. Where sex and divorce wasn’t talked about, where government officials were considered gods and looked up to, where women’s place was in the home and where gays place was in the closet, jail, or a mental institution. Where everyone at least was supposed to take their parents word as gold and if you questioned them, you were committing a sin.

Imagine if you’re Lenny Bruce and this is the culture you live and work in and your act is not ahead of its time, but you might be twenty-years ahead of your time. Your act would be mainstream in 1975 or so and to a certain extent in the late 1960s in certain places, but you’re starting out in the early and mid 1950s where America was still supposed to be Pleasantville. And you have this comedian whose literally being arrested and you have cops going to his shows for talking about things that the supposed culture and establishment of the time sees as unacceptable. Even with our liberal free speech and first amendment rights.

Lenny Bruce, was using swear words in a culture where words like damn, hell, bitch, bastard, ass, words that were very mainstream by the mid 1970s or so, that were considered very sinful and immoral in 1955, or so. Lenny, wasn’t getting in trouble for calling for people to be hurt, or murdered, or libeling people, things that aren’t protected by the First Amendment. Bruce was being harassed and prosecuted by government for using adult language. And talking about adult topics like marriage, divorce, sex and using adult language. All things that are protected by our first amendment.

I think the closest comedian to compare Lenny Bruce with would be George Carlin. Who came onto the scene about ten-years after Bruce. But they have similar styles and the ability to take on the system, or establishment and inform people that America and their country isn’t as perfect as their government wants them to think it is. That America is Pleasantville at least not everywhere. That we have real issues and concerns that need to be dealt with. And that talking about things even adult subjects issues that all Americans do in private at least is okay to talk about those things in public as well. And besides we have a First Amendment that protects this speech anyway.