While filling in as the host of Dennis Miller's nationally syndicated radio show last week, Jon Levitz and his guest, fellow comic Dana Carvey, discussed why people get so upset at Obama jokes, noting that liberals label such material as. "hate speech" and, therefore, is unworthy of any further consideration.
Carvey criticized the “sensitivity” people have when jokes are told regarding President Barack Obama and that affect freedom of speech as “scary and dangerous.”
Lovitz is very interested in the topic since he's received intense heat for being one of the few comedians unafraid to criticize President Obama and his continual desire to raise taxes.
The fill-in host asked Carvey what he thought about the concept that certain groups -- including GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) -- attack comedians who tell jokes they don't like.
“Well, I think that’s scary and dangerous,” said Carvey. “I think free speech is probably the coolest thing we have in this country, and again, you can label it hate speech and dismiss it, and then you’re allowed to censor it.”
Carvey added that, modern times being what they are, there’s always someone around recording the things someone says and does, presumably for the purpose of scrutiny.
Later, the comic responsible for the “Church Lady” and co-star of the “Wayne’s World” movies character agreed that there's a certain level of “sensitivity” surrounding Barack Obama since he is the country’s first black president, but that “over time, it becomes kind of knee-jerk and patronizing not to satirize the president.”
Lovitz then asked Carvey what he thinks about the fact that “Saturday Night Live” -- their former stomping ground -- doesn’t make fun of Obama, and what’s more, will only make fun of Republican politicians.
Carvey responded by saying that, in his own experience, he’s had success with Obama jokes when he’s been able to find a particularly funny angle to use as a platform, much like with his widely-known “not gonna do it…. wouldn’t be prudent” George H.W. Bush catchphrase.
But when “SNL” attempted to poke fun at Obama, the gag “bombed.” Carvey noted that the problem was not the joke or its subject so much as the context and the audience present.
Lovitz and Carvey then went on to lament the fact that Obama humor is less well-received than jokes at the expense of George W. Bush.
The guest host then said that in response to those who thought his previous comments regarding Obama were “a bit harsh,” he tweeted: "Last I checked, he's President, not King! This is America! Freedom of Speech.”
Carvey agreed that it was hard to "find an angle" on Obama. However, he specifically criticized comedians who are still making Sarah Palin jokes but apparently won't attempt to poke fun of the actual guy currently in power. "Question Authority," he notes, seems to be out the window.
The two comedians agreed that it’s important and even essential to poke fun at authority figures and those in power, whomever that person or people happen to be.
Lovitz has a great deal of interest in this issue since his vulgar comment about Obama led Lovitz to be criticized by many people, including none other than Bill O'Reilly during “The O'Reilly Factor” last May.
“You were kind of disrespectful,” O’Reilly said. “Do you feel bad about that?”
“No, because you have to put it in context,” Lovitz replied, specifying that he’s a comedian, and the nature of that is to be “just open and honest.”
“I don’t think you meant to be personally disrespectful to Barack Obama,” O’Reilly said, or “to denigrate the man as a human being.”
“No, I respect the guy,” Lovitz replied before going on to dismiss the 1 percent versus 99 percent narrative. “I think it’s amazing what he achieved in his life. But on this issue, I think he is being not honest.”
Before that, Lovitz came under fire from HLN host and television doctor Drew Pinsky, who characterized the comedian's vulgar insult as "a threat against the president" that the Secret Service would be concerned about.