I'm willing to bet that the link is going to get screwed up eventually, so I'll post the letter behind a cut tag.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
AN OPEN LETTER TO LARRY THE CABLE GUY
The following is a letter I wrote after picking up Git-R-Done - The Larry The Cable Guy Story (ghost written by Susan Sontag). I have to warn you that it's nearly 11 pages long. But I think it's chock full of life lessons for all of us and if you're not careful... you just might learn something!
An open letter to Larry The Cable Guy:
It's me, David Cross. Recently I was shooting something for my friends at "Wonder Showzen" (the funniest, most subversive comedy on American T.V. at the moment) and when we were taking a break one of the guys on the show asked me if I had seen some article in something somewhere wherein you were interviewed to promote your new book "Please-Git-R-Done" (published by Crown Books $23.95 U.S.) and they asked about your devoting a chapter to slamming me and the "P.C. Left". Since I stopped following your career shortly after you stopped going on stage wearing a tool belt with cable wrapped around your neck (around your appearance at "Laffs 'n' Food" in Enid, Oklahoma Aug 23-26 1999?) I said I wasn't aware of the article. They went on to tell me that you said basically (and I am not quoting but paraphrasing their recall) that I could kiss your ass, that I've never been to one of your shows (true) and that I didn't know your audience (untrue).
SO, I went and got your book, "Gitting-R-Donned", and excitedly skimmed past the joke about that one time you farted and something farty happened, on past the thing about the fat girl who farted and finally found it, . Well, needless to say I farted. I farted up a fartstorm right there in the Flyin' J Travel Center. I fartingly bought the book and took it home with an excitement I haven't experienced since I got Bertha Chudfarter's Grandma drunk and she took her teeth out and blew me as I was finger banging her while wearing a Jesus sock puppet in the back of the boiler room at The Church of the Redeemer off I-20 (I don't care who you are, that's funny.)
Anyhoo, I got home and read the good parts. It seems that you were pissed off at Rolling Stone magazine, and I can understand why. You made some good points in your argument as well. I agree that there is an eliteism and bias in the press and too often a writer will include asides to show the readers how smart he or she is and how "above it" they are. But come on! Surely you can't be surprised, or worse, hurt or offended by this. You even say in the book that you knew what you were getting into (Rolling Stone being all "lefty" and whatnot). Certainly I'm not surprised that they took a ten minute phone conversation with me and chose to print only the most inflammatory paragraph within it. That's what they do.
But I want to address some of the things you write about me in "Git-to-Gittin'-r-Done". In response to the Rolling Stone article, but first let me say this; you are very mistaken if you think that I don't know your audience. Hell, I could've been heckled by the parents of some of the very people that come see you now. I grew up in Roswell, Georgia (near the Funny Bone and not far from The Punch Line). The very first time I went on stage was at The Punch Line in Sandy Springs in 1982 when I was 17. I cut my teeth in the south and my first road gigs ever were in Augusta, Charleston, Baton Rouge, and Louisville. I remember them very well, specifically because of the audience. I remember thinking (occasionally, not all the time) "what a bunch of dumb redneck, easily entertained, ignorant motherfuckers. I can't believe the stupid shit they think is funny." So, yes, I do know your audience, and they suck. And they're simple. And please don't mistake this as coming from a place of bitterness because I didn't "make it" there or, I'm not as successful as you because that's not it at all. Since I was a kid I've always been a little over sensitive to the glorification and rewarding of dumb. The "salt of the earth, regular, every day folk" (or lowest common denominator) who see the world, and the people like me in it, as on some sort of secular mission to take away their flag lapels and plaster-of-paris jesus television adornments strike me as childishly paranoid. But perhaps the funniest (oddest) thing in your book is you taking me to task for being P.C. Have you heard my act?! I'll match your un-P.C.ness any day of the week my friend. I truly believe, and have said onstage amongst other things that, orthodox Jews are bar none, the most annoying people, as a group, that walk this earth. I absolutely refuse to say the term "African-American". It's a ridiculous and ill-applied label that was accepted with a thoughtless rush just to make white people feel at ease and slightly noble. I also believe that in the right setting that, as unfortunate as it may be, retarded people can be a near constant source of entertainment (fact!). Larry, whether northern, southern, straight, gay, male, female, liberal, conservative, Christian or Jew, I've walked them all. It didn't matter if it was a room full of "enlightened" hippie lesbian wicans at Catch A Rising Star in Cambridge, MA or literally hundreds of students at the University of St. Louis (a Jesuit school) or a roomful of the cutest, angriest frat boys in Baton Rouge all threatening to beat me up, I un-P.C.'d the shit out of them. That's another thing that bothers me too. I honestly believe that if we had worked a week together at whatever dumb-ass club in American Strip Mall #298347 in God's Country U.S.A and hung out that week and got good and drunk after the shows, that you and I would've been making each other laugh (I imagine we would have politely disagreed on a few things) but not only would we be laughing but we'd often be laughing at the expense of some of the audience members at that nights show and you know it. I'll address your easy, bullshit sanctimonious "don't mess with my audience" crap further on. But for now, let's "Gittle-R-Ding-Dong-Done!"
Okay, here's what I said in the RS interview: "He's good at what he does. It's a lot of anti-gay, racist humor -- which people like in America - all couched in 'I'm telling it like it is.' He's in the right place at the right time for that gee-shucks, proud-to-be-a-redneck, I'm-just-a-straight-shooter-multimillion
You took umbrage at my calling a lot of your act anti-gay and racist and said that "...according to Cross and the politically correct police, any white comedians who mention the word 'black' or say something humorous but faintly negative about any race are racists."
Well, first of all, your act is racist. Maybe not all the time, but it certainly can be. Here, let me quote you back, word for word, some of your "faintly negative" humor and I'll let people judge for themselves.
Re: Abu Ghraib Torture -
"Let me ask some of these commie rag head carpet flying wicker basket on the head balancing scumbags something!"
Re: Having a Muslim cleric give the opening prayer at the Republican Convention -
"What the hell is this the cartoon network? The Republicans had a muslim give the opening prayer at there (sic) convention! What the hell's going on around here! Is Muslim now the official religion of the United States!... First these peckerheads ( Ironically, "peckerhead" was a derogatory word slaves and their offspring used to describe white people) fly planes into towers and now theys (sic) prayin' before conventions! People say not all of em did that and I say who gives a rats fat ass! That's a fricken slap in the face to New York city by having some muslim sum-bitch give the invocation at the republican convention! This country pretty much bans the Christian religion (the religion of George Washington and John Wayne) virtually from anything public and then they got us watchin' this muslim BS!! Ya wanna pray to allah then drag yer flea infested ass over to where they pray to allah at!" End Quote. So... yeah. There you go. This quote goes on and on but my favorite part is when you say towards the end, "...now look, I love all people (except terrorist countries that want to kill us)..."
There are numerous examples and I don't think I need to reprint any more. You get the idea. Oh, what the hell, here's one more - "They're dead, get over it! Poor little sandy asses! I'm sure all them dead folks'd they'd killed give 40 shekels or whatever kinda money these inbred sumbitches use, but I'd give 40 of 'em whatever it is to be humiliated instead of dead!"
Okay Larry The Cable Guy, I will ignore the irony of a big ole southern redneck character actually using "inbred" as an insult, as well as the fact that a shekel is currency from Israel, the towel heads sworn enemy. But at least you're passionate about what you see as inhumane injustice (not on a global level of course, but on a national level) and the simple black and white of what's right and what's wrong. It's kinda like you're this guy who speaks for all these poor, unfortunate souls out there who wear shirts with blue collars on them, work hard all day to put food on the table for their family (unlike people who wear shirts with white collars or wear scrubs or t-shirts or dresses or costumes that consist of flannel shirts with the sleeves cut-off and old trucker hats) and pray to the American Flag of Jesus to protect them from the evils of muslims, queers, illegal immigrants, and the liberal jews who run Hollywood and the media. I guess one could say that you're "telling it like it is". And considering the vast amount of over-simplification you employ to describe with sweeping generalizations, all of America and the World that "don't make no sense to you", as well as your lack of sensitivity, and second grade grammar, one might be led to think that you are somewhat proud of not appearing (or being) too intellectual. Combine that with your sucker appeal to the knee-jerk white Christian patriot in us all who would much rather hear 87 fart jokes than hear a joke in which the President (the current one, not the last one) or the Pope, or Born-Again Christians, or Lee Greenwood get called on their shit for being the hypocrites that they are, and I think we've got a winner!
About being Anti-Gay. I honestly take that back. I do not think that you are anti-gay, I didn't choose those words wisely. Your stuff isn't necessarily anti-gay but rather stupid and easy. "Madder than a queer with lock jaw on Valentines Day." That's not that funny, I don't care who you are. It's just sooo easy. I mean, over half the planet sucks dick so why gays? Why not truck stop whores, or Hollywood Starlets or housewives? Because when you say "queer" you get an easy laugh. End of story.
As for being a multi-millionaire in disguise, that's just merely a matter of personal taste for me. I do not begrudge you your money at all, it is sincerely hard earned and you deserve whatever people want to give to you. What sticks in my craw about that stuff is the blatant and (again, personal taste) gross marketing and selling of this bullshit character to your beloved fans. Now look, if someone wants to pay top dollar to come to one of your shows and then drop a couple hundred more on "Git-R-Done" lighters and hats and t-shirts and windshield stickers and trailer hitches and beer koozies and fishing hats and shot glasses etc, then good for you. I just think it's a little crass and belies the "good ole boy" blue collar thing you represent. But that's no big deal.
Now, as for the last statement that "We're in a state of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride."
Well, I think that's true. When you can rally the troops (so to speak) with a lazy, "latte drinking, tofu eating" generalization of Liberals and "Back ass rag fags" to describe Arabs, then, yeah, I think that falls in the "ignorant" category. I think that with even the slightest attention to the double standard and hypocrisy of both the Left and the Right in this country (if not all of the Christian Extremists as a whole) coupled with the bullshit they lazily swallow and parrot back while happily ignoring the gross inhumane treatment of those that aren't them so that we may have cheap sneakers and oil and slightly less taxes (although I'm sure the bracket you're in now gives you a ton of tax money back), then you could maybe see my point. Now here's the best part - in your book you preface the above quote by saying, "...but I guess I'm not as intellectual as David Cross. In that Rolling Stone article, he sure showed us what a deep thinker he is by sayin' "America is in a stage of vague intellectual pride." Jesus Christ can you even fucking read?! Whoever read that article to you butchered the actual quote. The quote that was right fucking in front of their face! I would fire your official reader and have them replaced with a Hooters Girl who doesn't fart. That way you have something nice to look at while you are getting your misinformation.
As for "anti-intellectual pride", that is Larry The Cable Guy in spades. Let me quote you again (from an on-line interview, "I consider my jokes to be very jeuvinille (sic). Stuff a 14 year old would laugh at because that's the ...sence (sic) of humor I have.". Hmmm, okay. That was easy.
Well, I suppose I've already covered part of that in the above. But you also specifically dumb down your speech while making hundreds of purposefully grammatical errors. How do I know this? It's on page 17 of your book wherein you describe how you would "Larry" up your commentaries for radio. What does it mean to "Larry" something up? Take a wild guess. The reason you feel the need to "Larry" something up? Because you are not that dumb. I mean you, Dan Whitney, the guy who's name the bank account is under. You were born and raised in Nebraska (hardly The South), went to private school and moved to Florida when you were 16. This is when you developed your accent?! Not exactly the developmental years are they? At age 16 that's the kind of thing you have to make a concerted effort to adopt. Did you hire a voice coach? Or were you like one of those people who go to England for a week and come back sounding like an extra from "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"? As you said yourself in an interview once, "I can pop in and out of it pretty much whenever I want". In your book on page 89 you say in reference to the "gee-shucks" millionaire comment, "...see, to his (David's) mind, bein' well paid means I'm no longer real and I can't be a country boy anymore. It's just an act." Hey, it's always been an act! That's my fucking point! You admit it yourself so cut the indignation shit. And I am in no way deriding your work ethic. You clearly have more fart jokes than most and for that I applaud you. You go on to talk about how hard you work and life on the road and living on Waffle House and blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I get it, we’ve all been there and played shitty, degrading gigs and sacrificed etc, etc. Then you say, "...this (the personal attack) was different because David basically hammered my fans in that RS article by implying that they were ignorant. He crossed the line when he railed against them, so I had to tell ya what I felt about that. He can hammer me all he wants, but when he screwed with my fans, it was time for me to say something." Aww, that's so sweet and egregious. I can't stand that fan ass kissing bullshit. You and Dane Cook ought to get together and have a "my-fan's-are-the-greatest-people-on-ear
Anyway, I just wanted to address the stuff you wrote about me and clear some things up. Mostly the air around here... I just farted!!!!!