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We as a nation retain our sense of humor.
November 16, 2010 5:35 PM   Subscribe

The Thirteenth Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American humor was awarded to Tina Fey. Here is video of the PBS broadcast of the awards ceremony as well as Ms. Fey's complete acceptance speech.
posted by West of House (78 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I watched it. It was funny.
posted by GuyZero at 5:35 PM on November 16, 2010


Also, you missed an actor in your tags. And that wasn't really Mark Twain.
posted by GuyZero at 5:36 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


When George Carlin was posthumously awarded the prize in 2008, the show's producers spared the ears of the Kennedy Center audience by bleeping out the naughty parts from a video of Carlin doing his famous "Seven Dirty Words" routine.

You've got to be ****ing kidding me.
posted by ODiV at 5:49 PM on November 16, 2010 [15 favorites]


They just blurred Tina's fingers pretending to have sex with each other. I think it's safe to say PBS is a little uptight (you don't say?)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:51 PM on November 16, 2010


Apparently PBS had some issues with a particular bit of Ms. Fey's speech.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2010


'We as a nation retain our sense of humor'

Should be etched in the House Floor with spraypaint, the gravel replaced with a full can of Qounsar.
posted by clavdivs at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those crazy liberals at PBS. First they honor known radical operatives like Tina Fey and Mark Twain in order to make such polarizing views appear to be totally normal, then they edit out the most political part of Tina's speech actually I don't get that part.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to watch this and do work and it's not going well.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:57 PM on November 16, 2010


i liked: “I hope that, like Mark Twain, a hundred years from now people will see my work and think, ‘Wow! That is actually pretty racist.’”

i thought jennifer hudson was pretty cool. and amy poehler.

i imagine they cut the palin part because of the whole anti-npr thing and how it targeted funding of public broadcasting. the 'we cut from everybody' doesn't really play when it's the honoree.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:07 PM on November 16, 2010


They'll fire a racist like Juan Williams, but jokes about Palin make them nervous. Weird.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:11 PM on November 16, 2010


Tina Fey rocked like normal. But Jimmy Fallon is not going to ever win that Mark Twain award.
posted by pecknpah at 6:16 PM on November 16, 2010


Jimmy Fallon's perfect Bono impersonation, complete with the leaning, won me over.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:26 PM on November 16, 2010


"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Presumably our sense of humor, which the Constitution leaves unmentioned, is one of those reserved powers.
posted by dhartung at 7:06 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


That bit she does about Hugh Hefner's 7 girlfriends is insane funny.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:09 PM on November 16, 2010


From shakespeherian's link: Tough choices had to be made, and unfortunately they were forced to snip, in an unprecedented move, the exact 30 seconds from their keynote speaker that had to do with a woman whose defenders tend to number among the most sensitive, vindictive, and loud members of the current political arena. But certainly, "It was not a political decision."

So those cowardly enough to bow in anticipation to Repug political pressure whether or not that pressure would actually be forthcoming, are also cowardly enough to lie about the reasons behind making that decision. Both of these behaviors seem to be absolutely endemic in American broadcasting and journalism, for some reason.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:13 PM on November 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I would have much preferred if PBS cut that muffintop bit instead.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:17 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whoa bad hair style! She looks 25 years older.
That's all I had time to notice.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:29 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really like Tina Fey, but I found the show mostly annoying. Too many of the presenters made their segment about them. And PBS can bite me for cutting from Tina's Palin comments.

Even if I believed them re "it's not about politics." You have time pressure, fine. Cut from the presenters, not from the star.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:30 PM on November 16, 2010


I'm surprised she won that award. She's very funny but I think this is premature. Mel Brooks should get this award before Tina Fey. That being said, Mel Brooks should have received this award at least five years ago.
posted by zzazazz at 7:34 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Irrespective of Tina Fey's qualifications (and I like her quite a lot), Mel Brooks should be receiving this award annually.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:36 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can't find the complete speech in your link to it, am I just missing it?
posted by amro at 7:37 PM on November 16, 2010


Amro, when you click on the first link the complete speech is the second video from the top.
posted by West of House at 7:44 PM on November 16, 2010


That being said, Mel Brooks should have received this award at least five years ago.

Mel Brooks just won the regular old Kennedy Center Honor in 2009; I think they'll probably either wait or skip the Mark Twain Prize for him, probably on the grounds that he's more than a "comedian."
posted by gladly at 7:44 PM on November 16, 2010


I can't find the complete speech at this link either. Was the link supposed to be to a transcript, or am I reading this wrong?
posted by vidur at 7:53 PM on November 16, 2010


Okay, here (pdf) is the transcript of Tina Fey's acceptance speech.
posted by vidur at 8:02 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found that the transcript doesn't make justice to the speech. The "political" parts esp. sound heavier and meaner than the actual spoken delivery of the joke.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:06 PM on November 16, 2010


Aren't these awards and honors more about drawing attention to the Kennedy Center then recognizing a lifetime of high artistic achivement?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:11 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I found that the transcript doesn't make justice to the speech. The "political" parts esp. sound heavier and meaner than the actual spoken delivery of the joke.

Just imagine that it is Tina Fey delivering the speech.
posted by vidur at 8:26 PM on November 16, 2010


heavier less mean
posted by clavdivs at 8:31 PM on November 16, 2010


PBS doesn't want to scare away its supporters (which, you know, fund it directly) just because a comedian wanted another crack at an already well-cracked subject. And now it has to defend itself against the other supporters who may have wanted the cracks in in the first place. It's a lose-lose situation and I'm a tiny, tiny bit peeved that Fey would make PBS jumps through the hoops that it has to just because she couldn't resist the temptation to make it political.

There are other channels that focus primarily on political ballyhooing. PBS tries to not be one of them. I'm okay with this.
posted by dubusadus at 8:35 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we wouldn't want to give conservatives any reason to stop funding PBS.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:42 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah I'm pretty sure no Palin supporters give money to anything with the word 'Public' in its name.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:58 PM on November 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm a tiny, tiny bit peeved that Fey would make PBS jumps through the hoops that it has to just because she couldn't resist the temptation to make it political.

Yes, it's Tina Fey's fault that they censored her.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:59 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


The comments on the Washington Post Voices piece were horrifying. Tina Fey "owes her career" to Palin? Unfathomably stupid.
posted by gemmy at 9:07 PM on November 16, 2010


I'm a tiny, tiny bit peeved that Fey would make PBS jumps through the hoops that it has to just because she couldn't resist the temptation to make it political.

As the AV Club says, how dare Tina Fey besmirch Mark Twain's name with political humor!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:28 PM on November 16, 2010 [17 favorites]


Yeah I'm pretty sure no Palin supporters give money to anything with the word 'Public' in its name.

"will-ah repUBlikin du fer ya theair mester"
posted by clavdivs at 9:55 PM on November 16, 2010


asshat
posted by clavdivs at 9:55 PM on November 16, 2010


Tina Fey killed it.

Seems like they cut a lot of perfectly good non-political stuff as well -- the Let's Get Small call-out, for one, was great. I guess PBS might have cut the extended Palin bit for political reasons (as shakespeherian's link strongly implies), but it also got less laughs and a much more awkward response than any other part of her speech.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it should have been cut. I wish it had been left in. I'm just not totally convinced it was cut for political reasons. If I were editing only for brevity and punchy, well-received one-liners, I'd have cut that part too.
posted by churl at 10:18 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks Metafilter. I'm glad you told me off like you did. Of course PBS should stand for that beacon of truth and broadcast every snarky comment ever to come out of Miss Tina Fey's mouth. Even amidst all the fears of a Republican majority cutting PBS funding, why oh why should such a noble company ever, ever bow to such pressures? I mean, who cares about their livelihood or the future of existing programming when there's such great pursuits like spinning yet another Sarah Palin joke? My god. What were these people thinking?

What ridiculous cowards. Of course the real fault lies in with the Republicans, none of whom could ever possibly enjoy such high, intellectual pursuits like classical music, Antiques Roadshow, local programming, history shows, swing bands, cooking, painting, children's education programming or the like. No Republican would personally ever give any amount of money to fund such liberal, hippy chaff; hell, they don't even want to pay taxes for it! Why would they ever think that a personal donation given out of their own hand is anything but encouraging socialism?

I'm just such a silly dunderhead. It's never been so clear to me that every single Republican out there is exactly, perfectly represented by their elected and by media coverage of the Tea Party. Forgive me, I had forgotten, and now I will return to /r/politics in the humble hope of one day becoming as progressively aware as all of you, and only then will I ever enter another comment on the Blue. Apologies.
posted by dubusadus at 10:43 PM on November 16, 2010


Well now that you put it that way dubusadus, I can't wait for the sweet sound of Antique's Roadshow loving Republican's, demanding increased funding to PBS that is sure to rise up. after this incident as a cheerful cohort of Elmo loving, multiculturalism embracing chorus of tolerance and thoughtful tea party temperance and sober articulation tomorrow making the world a sweller place to be and America more free and more American and liberty loving and stuff....
posted by Skygazer at 11:34 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


USA!! fUCK YEAH!!
posted by Skygazer at 11:35 PM on November 16, 2010


Bob Newhart On Chess
posted by clavdivs at 11:44 PM on November 16, 2010


I don't have a dog in this thread but it seems that if they are defending their funding by cutting political jokes then they are lying by saying it was related to the timing of the show - which means they don't have the courage of their convictions. If they are telling the truth (kind of unlikely) then what is there to argue about?

Also, I'm guessing the PBS contract is with the Kennedy center and they have no say who gets honored.

Also, you all know this is show-biz, right?

Finally, from the commentary at WaPo
Tina Fey owes her career to Sarah Palin and should be more circumspect in bashing Palin.
...
I guess it's our fault ... giving women the Vote wasn't such a smart idea after all, was it?
(emphasis mine) If this is a sampling of "conservative" humor then I can almost forgive a show about crazy rich people giving each other vanity awards.
posted by victors at 11:52 PM on November 16, 2010


dubusadus, Republican politicians have been hammering at PBS for ages. Irrespective of the strawman argument that every Republican voter is the same (which of course they are not) PBS is clearly operating under the fear that FOXNews would pick up the 15 second soundbite out of context and run it for days as a call for pulling funding from them. And it is a ligitimate fear, because that sort of shit is exactly the thing, in a way the only thing, that FOXNews does.

But it was still cowardly for them to cut the honoree's acceptance speech for content.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:52 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


HuffPo has the video of the full speech.
posted by NoraReed at 12:17 AM on November 17, 2010


> I don't have a dog in this thread but... if they are telling the truth (kind of unlikely) then what is there to argue about?

From where I sit, it's actually perfectly likely that they're telling the truth. The cut and the uncut versions are both right there on PBS's site in the first link! They cut a lot of bits out of the broadcast, most of them totally benign and better received (the hilarious (to me) Steve Martin dig, the Steve Carrell payout bit, the part where she explicitly says we are probably going to cut this part for the broadcast) than that short political bit they also cut that's made everybody angry right now.

Look, she was totally right! And I agree with everything she said, and I wish they hadn't cut any of her speech. But the fact that thirty seconds of what they omitted was a callout of Sarah Palin doesn't automatically mean PBS cut it because of a deliberate political agenda. I truly don't buy that.
posted by churl at 1:13 AM on November 17, 2010


What I find most offensive is that public funding of rape kits, gay rights and evolution theory are still such matters of question that a woman in 2010 cannot freely speak in support of them.
posted by triceryclops at 2:24 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I was wrong for laughing my ass off.
posted by tommyD at 2:53 AM on November 17, 2010


The model of a modern maiden showrunner.
posted by lazenby at 3:49 AM on November 17, 2010


I hope that, like Mark Twain, a hundred years from now people will see my work and think, ‘Wow! That is actually pretty racist.’”
posted by cjorgensen at 5:14 AM on November 17, 2010


I've been a fan of hers since SNL & watch 30R faithfully (altho' I'm an even bigger Poehler fan-woman). And I've been fighting the liberal fight since almost before Tina Fey was born. To me she's tremendously funny and intelligent but some of her comedy bits come across as more preachy than funny.

However she seems as polarizing as Palin - teabaggers think she's goin' to hell while her most diehard fans think she walks on water.
posted by NorthernLite at 5:31 AM on November 17, 2010


Of course PBS should stand for that beacon of truth and broadcast every snarky comment ever to come out of Miss Tina Fey's mouth.

I don't know if PBS makes a habit of broadcasting everything Miss Tina Fey says, and I doubt anyone here is making that argument.

But at a ceremony awarding Miss Tina Fey the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, maybe they could broadcast what she says at her own award ceremony, if they're covering it.

And if they're going to censor her comments about Sarah Palin, and leave everything else in, at least come up with better/plausible excuses.

I'm just such a silly dunderhead

I don't think you're a silly dunderhead. But I think you're being just a little silly, in general.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:46 AM on November 17, 2010


They'll fire a racist like Juan Williams, but jokes about Palin make them nervous. Weird.

Well, NPR News and PBS (television) are different enclaves within the wild wacky world of public broadcasting. And anyone who believes their editing out the rape-kit comment was not political is naive.

Previous winners of the prize, in case anyone else is interested.
posted by aught at 5:54 AM on November 17, 2010


OK, watched the whole (uncut) thing. Laughed at every joke she made, except the Palin stuff, which: (1) I had spoiled by reading this thread first, and (2) had poor timing, and her first punchline delivery ruined by audience applause.

Folks, PBS cut that part because it was WEAK. Never mind that the "message" was important, political, clever, right-on, stickin' it to the Man, whatever... it wasn't entertaining. If you're taping a show for TV, and you have 57 minutes and 00 seconds to fill, with 72 minutes and 37 seconds of first-draft video, You Cut This Section.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:03 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, NPR News and PBS (television) are different enclaves within the wild wacky world of public broadcasting

Duh. You're right, of course.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:16 AM on November 17, 2010


and you have 57 minutes and 00 seconds to fill, with 72 minutes and 37 seconds of first-draft video, You Cut This Section.

You know what? I don't. Particularly when we're talking about PBS. I watch a lot of PBS. Their shows *never* fit neatly in to the hour/half-hour units of television programming. There's always some left over time they have to fill with shorts and several-minute-long promos for upcoming programs.

So I still call bullshit, because they could have kept that 19 minutes and filled to the next half-hour mark with "Slo-Mo Waterfalls of the Fingerlakes Accompanied by Tinkling Piano Music," the way they do after Masterpiece only goes 1:40 or MI-5 only goes 51 minutes or whatever.

I think because there was the possibility of political humor in this show they kept stricter attention to a standard show length than they do with many other PBS offerings, so that they would have the excuse to snip stuff that would make Mitch McConnell's face turn red.
posted by aught at 7:08 AM on November 17, 2010


Oh good, a palin thread.

Here is Willow Palin on facebook, calling people faggots, making fun of people's disabilities, and generally being low class.
posted by empath at 7:13 AM on November 17, 2010


and to add to aught's clarification about NPR/PBS, i was under the impression PBS is still the stronghold of Bush appointees that Obama hasn't gotten around to bipartisanshittingly get rid of.
posted by liza at 7:29 AM on November 17, 2010


Here is Willow Palin on facebook, calling people faggots, making fun of people's disabilities, and generally being low class.

There's something a little distasteful about a national political blog posting exerpts from the Facebook page from the 16-year-old daughter of one of their political enemies.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:14 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Folks, PBS cut that part because it was WEAK.

It did kinda seem like it didn't go over that well, whereas a lot of her material was hitting right on target. I thought it was pretty funny when I read it, but watching it, there was definitely a little awkward moment after people started to applaud the set-up, and then had to readjust to it being a joke... Ideally they'd have been shocked she'd say that, and you'd get relief laughter when she delivered the punch line, but that wasn't the crowd's reaction.
posted by mdn at 8:18 AM on November 17, 2010


There's something a little distasteful about a national political blog posting exerpts from the Facebook page from the 16-year-old daughter of one of their political enemies.

yea, true. but then sometimes you have to do distasteful things when exposing homophobia that leads to teen suicide. no? or should we restrict this kind of exposure to only tasteful means?
posted by victors at 8:22 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought it was pretty funny when I read it, but watching it, there was definitely a little awkward moment after people started to applaud the set-up,

yea, I kind of agree - she didn't deliver it with the same punch as the rest of the her speech. I'll change my "kind of unlikely" to "totally feasible"
posted by victors at 8:23 AM on November 17, 2010


There's something a little distasteful about a national political blog posting exerpts from the Facebook page from the 16-year-old daughter of one of their political enemies.

There's something really depressing about what's considered normal discourse for 16 year olds, too, though. (I doubt that's how chelsea clinton would have expressed herself...) And while revealing private communications is a bit questionable, these are people who willingly have a reality show about their lives. Whether it's fair or not, you have to know once you put yourself in the spotlight that if you say something inflammatory on a semi-private forum, it's pretty likely to make its way to the public domain...
posted by mdn at 8:25 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm guessing the PBS contract is with the Kennedy center and they have no say who gets honored.

You're right.

"The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor has been awarded by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts annually since 1998. ... The first two years of The Mark Twain Prize (Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters) were taped and broadcast on Comedy Central. Since then, the award presentations have been taped for broadcast on PBS [by local affiliate WETA]."*
posted by ericb at 8:33 AM on November 17, 2010


Here is Willow Palin on facebook, calling people faggots

Wonder where she gets that from.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kudos to Tina Fey on America's highest honor for comedy and humor; but I can't help but feel the award has lost some [all] of it's value since Billy Crystals got it in 2007.
posted by wcfields at 9:25 AM on November 17, 2010


I can't see how Tina Fey has time to DO all this stuff (all of which is excellent and not very easy to pull off) and still have a life, and family. Her hub must be one of those saints.
posted by Danf at 10:24 AM on November 17, 2010


Here is Willow Palin on facebook, calling people faggots

Wonder where she gets that from.


Her peers, most likely. How many teenagers get their slang and cuss words from their parents?
posted by straight at 10:26 AM on November 17, 2010


The Palin impression is pretty much the least funny thing Tina does.
posted by rocket88 at 10:35 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Too many of the presenters made their segment about them.

I was under the impression that everything in all the clips was material that Fey had written, so when the presenters were sharing, it was about the work they had done with Fey both on and off screen.
posted by hippybear at 10:45 AM on November 17, 2010


[Please do not make this thread about Sarah and/or other Palins. It's a textbook not-okay derail. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:54 AM on November 17, 2010


I can't help but feel the award has lost some [all] of it's value since Billy Crystals got it in 2007.

I can't help feeling that they do it pretty much for the money.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:46 PM on November 17, 2010




And you thought Republicans didn't have a sense of humor!
posted by IndigoJones at 5:21 PM on November 18, 2010


In related news, House Republicans have announced that they will force a floor vote to eliminate taxpayer-funded support for NPR in response to the firing of Juan Williams.

This is related news how, exactly?
posted by hippybear at 11:44 PM on November 18, 2010


Republican push to defund NPR fails.
posted by ericb at 7:40 AM on November 19, 2010


I can't see how Tina Fey has time to DO all this stuff (all of which is excellent and not very easy to pull off) and still have a life, and family. Her hub must be one of those saints.

Danf, you could ask the same question of President Obama, Warren Buffet, Sting, Stephen Colbert, the late Jim Hensen, and about a gazillion other successful guys... except you'd have to change one little word.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:02 PM on November 19, 2010


OK, two.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:03 PM on November 19, 2010


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