‘Cain TV’ provides a much-needed dose of unintentional humor
The best thing on TV these days isn’t exactly on your television; it’s on your Internet.
Herman Cain, the Republican contender for president who dropped out of the race earlier this year, has launched “Cain TV,” an online network that’s so beautifully bizarre even a liberal like myself can appreciate its hilarity.
The only problem is, I don’t think the hilarity is intentional.
First and foremost, “Cain TV” is a vehicle for the man himself. There are plenty of clips of Cain waxing philosophical, delivering fiery speeches and taking advantage of every opportunity to stick it to The Man. (The Man in this case being President Obama.)
There’s Herman Cain delivering your “Good News News” — I’m a little unclear why “News” is repeated — about cancer, which amounts to a few statistics and a pep talk from Cain about the need to maintain a positive outlook in the face of uncontrolled cell growth in your lymph nodes or lungs.
“The key is to maintain a faithful and positive attitude, and it’s also important to remember cancer is not a death sentence,” Cain declares before urging people to get tested and properly medicated ... which is delicious in its irony, since another sketch, “Rodney on Tap,” features a conservative comedian waxing philosophical on various political news events, including Obamacare, which he likens to a penalty/tax that can conceivably be levied against anyone who doesn’t drink coffee or grow a beard, etc., etc., yada-yada-yada.
I’m unclear if Rodney is a comedian by trade; if so, he could use some material that isn’t quite as dry as a handful of Death Valley sand, and perhaps a laugh track that follows his punchline. The lack of laughter, canned though it might have been, sends each joke nose-diving into a field of chirping crickets.
But hey, let’s see what else we have ... “Gunless Moments in History,” featuring some dude named Elan Bentov. Seated in a library and speaking over string music to evoke a “Masterpiece Theatre” feel, Bentov shares a few facts about gun control in China in 1935 leading to the death of 20 million dissidents. He also points out Germany’s gun control laws passed in 1939 led to the helplessness of victims of the Holocaust. Fascinating stuff, and no doubt the underlying message is that gun control isn’t just bad, but will probably lead to us all being blindfolded and forced to kneel while government goons ventilate our brains.
(Another fascinating tidbit about gun control and Public Enemy No. 1 of “Cain TV” — the only gun legislation President Obama has signed actually broadens gun rights, allowing firearms to be carried on Amtrak and into national parks; the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in fact, gave the Obama administration an “F” for its “extraordinary silence and passivity” when it comes to gun control, but hey ... kudos to those crackerjack journalists at “Cain TV” for not letting let facts stand in the way of a good narrative.)
There are plenty of other nuggets on “Cain TV” for your viewing pleasure, but my favorite has to be “Street Smarts” with Lewis Brown. Mr. Brown is promoted as a genuine member of the homeless population in Hollywood, Calif., and his motto is a simple one: “My mouth don’t write no checks my ass can’t cash.” Seeing as how his homelessness might make it difficult for him, or his ass, to cash any sort of check, I’m a bit confused by that, but man if he’s not entertaining. In the very first episode, he distills down the problem in the Middle East to a simple family feud: The Jews, as the sons of Isaac, and the Arabs, as the sons of Ishmael, are both competing for favor in the eyes of God, he says, and nothing’s ever going to be resolved until “Daddy takes a paddle and spanks that ass and makes them get along.”
Powerful words, Mr. Brown. It’s a shame Herman Cain didn’t win the election, because you’d have made a great Secretary of State.
I jest, of course, but I am enthralled by “Cain TV” — not because it’s good television, but because it’s so genuinely awful and baffling and bizarre that I can’t avert my eyes. It’s like running across an episode of “Monsters Inside Me,” that Animal Planet program about parasites and worms that live in the human body ... you don’t want to see it, but it’s so fascinating, you can’t help yourself.
Liberal comedy is intentionally humorous; conservative comedy is unintentionally so because it often comes disguised as straightforward commentary. Both sides of the aisle are capable of making me laugh out loud, however, and whether they mean to or not, that’s a beautiful thing. We need more laughter during this election season, and I’m obliged to Herman Cain for providing a healthy dose of it.
Keep it coming, Herman. And bring me a pizza while you’re at it.
Steve Wildsmith is the Weekend editor for The Daily Times. Contact him at (email@example.com) or at 981-1144.