Archive for July 8th, 2009

Ra-ra-ra-raaaaaaaandy: Aziz Ansari’s Brilliant Balance of Parody

For those of you not yet aware, Judd Apatow has a new movie, Funny People, about comedians in Los Angeles coming out in a few weeks. As part of the promotional material for the movie, the fictional projects of the fictional comedians in the film have become, well, slightly less fictional. Clips from nonexistent movies starring Adam Sandler’s character “George Simmons” (who seems to be a fictional version of Sandler himself) are available on YouTube, NBC.com has clips of a fake show called “Yo Teach!”, and Aziz Ansari has been doing stand up as his character, “Randy”.

Now, all of these projects are essentially parodies: The fictional films seem a lot like send-ups of actual lowbrow comedies, the fictional show lampoons “Welcome Back, Kotter”-style shows (“Do you guys know who the greatest rapper of all-time is? William Shakespeare!”), and “Randy” seems to be a parody of Dane Cook: 

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America’s Worst Pastime*: The Pledge of Allegiance

*I’m glad I said arguably the last time I used this title because this definitely takes the crown.

Imagine going to a foreign country and visiting its schools to get a sense of the country’s culture. Now, further imagine that, before class every day, all of the students across the country simultaneously stood up, posed uniformly, thoughtlessly acknowledged God’s existence, and expressed slavish devolution to their country. This sounds quite reflective of a totalitarian culture, doesn’t it?

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