Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CONFIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM TO: That Certain Commander

I'm not the only one who reaches for the dial when Gordon baits George.  I hear from the very Sweetest of the Clean that they join me in finding Gordon's near-constant baiting of George tiresome and unamusing.   It usually takes the form of attributing to George racist-sexist-antigay-stupid off-air statements that he did not make or positions that he does not hold and that, in fact, no rational person would.   Its stale; it's overfrequent; and, unlike some repeated Ticket gags, not funny.  Alas, Gordon, in most of his ventures a very great favorite of My Ticket Confession, has not sought Your Plainsman's advice on this topic, so the baiting goes on.


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Here's an example.  April 9.  I wrote it down, although the following quotes are inexact.  Gordon is talking about a jewelry heist by a gang of Hispanic individuals. 

GORDON:  "George thought the guys were probably caught when they were found in a nearby park taking a siesta with big sombreros pulled down over their faces."

GEORGE:  "I never said that."

There are two things to notice about this (and the same analysis could be made of almost every single other instance of baiting).  One obvious, one less obvious.

First:  We'll put aside the fact that it's Gordon that is making the offensive racial stereotype references.   The problem is that it isn't amusing.  It isn't witty.  It isn't clever.  It isn't even aurally interesting.  It is just a lie told about George at the expense of Mexicans.  It's dumb.   And -- how about this? -- it brings the story he is actually telling to a complete stop.   So -- not quality broadcasting.

Second:  George reacts.   He does so every time.  He does it almost the same way every time.  That is, he denies what is obviously false.  Sometimes he switches it up and says "That's what you say," or in some other way feebly attempts to attribute the slander to Gordon.  Whatever he says -- he rises to the bait and hits it

Now, perhaps I'm overreacting here.  Perhaps The P1 Nation finds the George-baiting to be can't-miss radio.   For those of you who, like me, find it to be show-killing filler, you will be pleased to know that I have hit upon the solution to this metastisizing anti-comedy.  

I came to understand that in ranting against Gordon I was attacking the part of the problem least likely to yield to my subtle and informed critique.  I now see that the proper solution is not to attempt to affect the supply (that is, Gordon, the incorrigible provider of aggravation) but rather the demand (George, its hapless consumer). 

Here's how you stop it:

George:  Lay out.

When Gordon claims that you have said or believe some stupid thing, just sit there.  Let the bait sink past you, straight to the bottom, while Gordon sits on the showgram shoreline, stalk of alfalfa sticking out of his mouth, waiting for you to chomp down on the lure.   Stop the dull game by swimming away.  Not one word.  If he persists -- not one word.  Let Gordon's flop sweat fill the studio.

Comedians who don't get a reaction to a joke cycle it out of their routine.  Time for this one to suffer that fate.  You'll thank me.  The Sweet Clean Nation will thank you. 

Who says this site isn't on the cutting edge of sophisticated Ticket commentary?

7 comments:

James said...

You make valid points, but you're missing a vital one: many of those missiles that Gordo launches in George's direction are racial, and ultimately not much different than what got Bascik canned. It wasn't funny when Mike B tweeted "dirty mexicans" and it isn't funny when Gordo throws out sombrero references.

The Plainsman said...

Thanks, James. I do take account of this in passing when I note that Gordon is in fact trafficking in offensive racial stereotypes, but you're correct that it wasn't a focus of this piece. My point is that this practice stops down the show for no trade-off in entertainment value. I happen to think that Gordon is an incredible talent, but too much of his humor is frat-boy naughty stuff. He's a lot better than that. I've heard the Bacsik comparison a lot the last couple of weeks (not related solely to Gordon) and there's something to it. Thanks again for checking in.

P1 Steven said...

Remember George Costanza's bit? Always leave on a high and leave after you tell a great joke. I live think humor is best when not overused and the audience is left desiring more. I agree it is an overused bit. In addition it usually overcast a typically interesting story.

Christy said...

George responds to Gorgo baiting him because:
- the whole thing's a bit and George's response is part of the bit
- it's in his nature, both on-air and off-air, to respond to any antagonizing comments
- it's in The Ticket's nature in general to respond/stop down/draw attention to any and everything, from a burp to a voice break to a speech stumble
- going along those same lines, there would be more eyebrow raises if George didn't respond - people would notice, including his on-air mates and the show would probably stop down for that. The tension stemming from it would be deafening
- in not responding, George might actually reveal too much behind the curtain stuff. In not responding, George indicates how upset he really is about Gordo's comments and how he doesn't find everything Gordo does to be hilarious. Part of The Ticket's charm is how supportive all the on-air people seem of one another. Even when they make fun of one another, it seems to be in good fun. P1s weren't aware of any problems within The Hardline when Greggo co-hosted until he left the show midway through a broadcast.

Laying out on someone because they said something wildly inappropriate and then commenting on it after a few seconds is one thing. To lay out because you genuinely don't like someone's comments speaks to something deeper than what The Ticket wants you to know.

And because it's still The Ticket, and maybe more importantly, Gordo himself who's at the heart of all this, he would probably not be disuaded from baiting George. He might look at delivering those sorts of lines with even more relish, just as he does when he's fake Tiger and goes into descriptions of "My dad, Earl,...", a bit that George also hates.

Well, this comment went in a different direction than I expected it to when I started typing it...

The Plainsman said...

Excellent and perceptive comment, Christy, although if I'm reading you correctly I think we're in disagreement. I do believe that (1) the bit is a show-kililer and should be abandoned, and (2) if George laid out every time it would go away. It would indeed draw attention to the bit -- but it would be unfavorable attention. Your points about their motives are terrific; I just think their motives need to change toward making the show better for listeners.

Anyway, your informed and lucid comment is exactly what I hoped to attract with this page. Hope you will check in again soon.

Christy said...

When I started my original post, I wanted to throw out reasons why George answers each and every time. If the post had continued in that direction, I would probably have made the point that the whole thing - the dialogue you brought up between Gordo and George - is a bit. Even if George genuinely dislikes the bit, he understands his role as the "conservative, straight-laced" voice on the show in contrast with the Devil's Own Gordon Keith. This dynamic is one of the underlying themes of The Musers Show and is probably a major contributing factor in what has made the show so successful. So George plays along with his role for what he and perhaps everyone involved believe is the good of the show.

Side-note: Another reason why George responds to Gordo's baiting him might be he just cannot let Gordo have the last word. He feels he needs to stand up to Gordo and so he responds (even though the results are rarely in his favor). This is a slight variation on my second point above.

As the post went on, however, I thought about what would happen if George did what you're asking him to do. I don't think we're in disagreement with your first point above that it should be abandoned. I wish George would stand up to Gordo in a more productive and successful manner, and your suggestion just might work.

Here's a side-note question, however: do you have the same issue when other hosts ask each other why they're making a certain gesture with their hands when they're talking about women? ...one hand is a fist while the pointer finger of the other hand goes in and out of the fist... Dan/Donovan typically ask Bob or each other this question, and the Hardline accuses everyone on their show of making this gesture. I haven't paid attention to whether it stops the show down, but it's another example of hosts baiting each other in an overused, derogatory manner.

As for your second point, I just wonder what the outcome would ultimately be since we're dealing with someone as unpredictable as Mr. Keith. Would the particular baiting bit go away or would it motivate him to be even more abrasive? This is the same man who took the elementary school boy approach and started kicking Corby in the groin area while Corby was interviewing Davis Love III because Corby took his headphones away (audio podcast: http://theticketpodcasts.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html#5244904590268441596).

The Plainsman said...

Christy, thanks for another solid blast.

To answer your question -- I don't much care for any bit or gag that relies on one host attributing off-air (or visual) gestures or positions to another. I don't have a moral objection to it -- it just isn't amusing, it's grossly "overused" (your word), and it's a stopdown because the other guy has to deny something that we all know isn't true to begin with. The layout is the best way to break the cycle of bad bits.

Sure, Gordon's always going to be naughty, and he should be. I don't know about the naughty Earl stuff, but I do think the scurrilous George-baiting would abate if it just hangs out there with no reaction.

Thanks for checking again, Christy.