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July 16, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Gary Oldman Reads from R. Kelly's Autobiography Soulacoaster [SLYT]
posted by Fizz (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love Gary Oldman, and I love R. Kelly (I own Trapped in the Closet only semi-ironically), but the whole thing of reading/reciting something written or spoken in a minority vernacular, but in a plummy, posh, stereotypically upper-class voice, it just comes off as a bit "Oh Ho, listen to how ridiculous this Black person sounds!"

Yes, I know Gary Oldman is dramatic, and I know R. Kelly is ridiculous, but still, it just seems kind of icky.
posted by cilantro at 11:51 AM on July 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Agreed.. this is "white guy humor." Kimmel is kind of a hack. Let's not forget where he came from, The Man Show.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:54 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw a (white) pensioner in my local shop buying two industrial strength bottles of cider wearing a 2pac t-shirt yesterday and to be honest I was more struck by that juxtaposition than this. I thought better of Oldman.
posted by pmcp at 11:57 AM on July 16, 2012


I'd like to see R. Kelly reading from Oldman's autobiography.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:58 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I mostly enjoy Kimmel but he's done this angle before with Josh Groban singing Kanye West tweets.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:58 AM on July 16, 2012


So many white people view R. Kelly not as human, but as some kind of super-mutant avatar of black male sexuality that I think it doesn't even begin to feel wrong when they mock him and disguise it as ironic appreciation.

I feel really bad about it, because he has really made a lot of exceptional music, but half of his "fans" are just there because Will Oldham is cool and Jimmy Kimmel is supposedly funny.
posted by broadway bill at 12:06 PM on July 16, 2012


So many white people view R. Kelly not as human, but as some kind of super-mutant avatar of black male sexuality that I think it doesn't even begin to feel wrong when they mock him and disguise it as ironic appreciation.

That's because R. Kelly sells himself a super-mutant avatar of black male sexuality. I love his work, but he's pretty clearly striving to get the image he's gotten.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:17 PM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Doubtless Mr. Kelly would have been more than pleased to do the reading himself, though probably on a higher-rated show, unless he was already scheduled to do it himself though mabye not on Kimmel, in which case this is excusable but meh.
posted by obscurator at 12:21 PM on July 16, 2012


Man, Jimmy Kimmel and Gary Oldman are racism-tinged idiots.
posted by koeselitz at 12:21 PM on July 16, 2012


It would have been better (or at least bearable) if Gary Oldman did it in his actual east end accent.
posted by dng at 12:23 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


At least the story was kind of a fun little moment of 2pac and R. Kelly each appreciating each other. The Jay-Z/R. Kelly collaboration was kind of a disaster, but I'd like to think that the 2pac/R. Kelly one would have worked somehow.
posted by Copronymus at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


At least the story was kind of a fun little moment of 2pac and R. Kelly each appreciating each other. The Jay-Z/R. Kelly collaboration was kind of a disaster, but I'd like to think that the 2pac/R. Kelly one would have worked somehow.

The story itself was kind of a weird choice for this kind of joke. There's ton of R. Kelly material that works for the kind of racist "old white man reads black people talk" joke, but that was just a nice story about people who respect each other. For a guy who has a song that's five minutes of sex related puns about animals, you'd think you could do better.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2012


I love Gary Oldman, and I love R. Kelly (I own Trapped in the Closet only semi-ironically), but the whole thing of reading/reciting something written or spoken in a minority vernacular, but in a plummy, posh, stereotypically upper-class voice, it just comes off as a bit "Oh Ho, listen to how ridiculous this Black person sounds!"

I tend to read this kind of thing differently -- that it's ridiculing the stuffiness of the upper-class type, or at worst, simply juxtaposing very different cultural styles for comic effect. But maybe that's just me? This reminds me of Rap Lyrics Translated for White People -- funny because "white people are clueless lol" or funny because "ebonics lol"?
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:38 PM on July 16, 2012


This is much, much better.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, fuck, hasn't this joke been done to death already?

Yes, it smacks of tasteless racist humor, even if Kimmel & Oldman didn't intend it that way, and they should have been more astute than that (well, Oldman, anyway).

But screw that: hate this because it's as old and tired as the "Who's on First?" routine, which hasn't been funny since the geniuses who created it passed.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:59 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But screw that: hate this because it's as old and tired as the "Who's on First?" routine, which hasn't been funny since the geniuses who created it passed.

Oh, I don't know if I'd go quite so far as all that... I still quite enjoy dusting off the old Abbott and Costello classic once in a while.

And I do love Gary Oldman, but... sigh.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:57 PM on July 16, 2012


Why is this mocking black American vernacular that's unironically ubiquitous among non-black Americans and not mocking this faux sophisticated affect? I mean, I'm sure there are much more bizarre passages in that book, but they chose a story where he and Tupac are really making a personal connection over a philosophy about music. If they were going for mocking, I think they could have done better.

As a different way of thinking about it, are Led Zeppelin being mocked when the London Philharmonic plays them?

I mean, it's just not very funny, and maybe it's tone-deaf, but as a disgusting example of racism, I think it ranks a notch below a thread about current rap on Metafilter.
posted by cmoj at 3:21 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I tend to read this kind of thing differently -- that it's ridiculing the stuffiness of the upper-class type, or at worst, simply juxtaposing very different cultural styles for comic effect.
El Sabor Asiatico

Why is this mocking black American vernacular that's unironically ubiquitous among non-black Americans and not mocking this faux sophisticated affect?
cmoj

Because culture doesn't exist in a vacuum. There's a very long, unfortunate history of mocking black people by imitating their vernacular for laughs and portraying them as stupid. Old white guy pretending to be upper class while talking in a "black" way has unfortunate implications.

As a different way of thinking about it, are Led Zeppelin being mocked when the London Philharmonic plays them?

If there was a centuries-old tradition of belittling and insulting Led Zeppelin as stupid by mocking their music, you might have a point here.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's definitely an approximately one-century old tradition of classical musicians and aficionados belittling and mocking "lower" forms of music.
posted by cmoj at 5:12 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Steve Allen called from the grave, says that you can let his schtick rest a bit, kthxbai.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:26 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can't top Peter Sellers.
posted by The World Famous at 5:39 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oldman should've whipped out his Drexl persona from True Romance for this one. Does old man Oldman still have the chops for that level of street?
posted by dgaicun at 6:03 PM on July 16, 2012


The awful 50 Shades Of Grey quality of Mr Kelly's writing makes it a worthy target of scorn.

Although it took me ages to work out who Poc was. Is that how y'all supposed to pronounce it, or was that an affectation of Gary's unusual accent.

Really, it needed more Zorg, less Fauntleroy.
posted by Mezentian at 7:36 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just for good measure, here's the more Drexl-y Drexl scene from True Romance.
posted by dgaicun at 7:41 PM on July 16, 2012


Oh, fuck, hasn't this joke been done to death already?

I think it's a modern version of Jesse Jackson reading Green Eggs and Ham... The unlikely combination of celebrity and text read out loud. And it probably has been done to death in this modern age of mass media.

Another version of this from recent years is when Letterman had the old Nobel winner guy reciting Rodney Dangerfield jokes.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:30 PM on July 17, 2012


Can't top Peter Sellers.

Applicable to just about any performance. Full stop.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:41 AM on July 18, 2012


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