Radio and MSNBC host Ed Schultz, he of hefty chip on shoulder when it comes to Rush Limbaugh, could hardly contain his glee over alleged comedian Wanda Sykes' criticism of Limbaugh at the White House correspondents' dinner.
Sykes likened Limbaugh to "the 20th hijacker" on 9/11 for possessing the audacity to hope that Obama fails in bankrupting the nation or leaving America vulnerable to attack.
Schultz told his radio listeners on Monday that he was in the audience at the dinner and got a huge kick out of Sykes' remarks (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: He's the president of the United States but one time a year as you well know the president has to get up and give a few jabs, and I thought President Obama was outstanding. And so was Wanda Sykes, who has got a habit for getting a little filthy and getting a little x-rated. And everybody was wondering, OK, where is this going to go? And I said, look, there's no way she is going to be as clean as can be and maybe a little bit edgy.
So there were a number of people in the crowd that were wondering, you know, what the heck is she going after Limbaugh for? Well why not? He is the 20th terrorist (laughs). I really be-, I think it's funny!
Now this is coming from a crowd who allowed their vice presidential candidate to run around the country claiming that Barack Obama was palling -- palling -- hanging out with terrorists. That was part of their bullet-point culture on the campaign trail. And so now Wanda Sykes comes up and takes a jab at Rush about his OxyContin and how he was actually the 20th terrorist but he missed his flight (laughs) I thought it was great! Why not?! I mean, how is it that these folks are allowed to say this kind of stuff to the lefties but the lefties are swinging back in the arena of all having fun.
Schultz then played a clip of Sykes' remarks --
SYKES: To me, that's treason. He's not saying anything differently than what Osama bin Laden is saying.
SCHULTZ: Now hold it right there. What's happening is is that she started talking about Rush Limbaugh wanted the country to fail. And the culture of the Republicans right now is that they want to see the president of the United States fail. They want to see the country fail under Obama's leadership. So that's where we pick up the sound cut. Here it is again --
SYKES: To me, that's treason. He's not saying anything differently than what Osama bin Laden is saying. You know, you might want to look into this, sir, because I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker. But he was just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight.
SCHULTZ (guffaws): I thought it was great! Well it's not off color, c'mon! Was the guy on OxyContin or not?! Does he hate the president? Yes!
Gee, was it really that funny to Schultz after the second (or third, or fourth ...) time he heard Sykes' routine? In contrast to Schultz's convulsions, the reaction at the dinner was decidedly mixed, at least from what this observer saw and heard (via C-SPAN).
I was reminded of a March 2008 Reader's Digest profile of Tina Fey in which the "30 Rock" star pointed out that "The Daily Show" is often not funny --
RD: What pleases you more, applause or laughter?
Fey: Laughter. You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Myers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, "Woo-hoo." It means they sort of approve but don't really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show.
You also heard that at the dinner after Sykes' cheap shot at Limbaugh. Sykes picked up on it also, as evidenced by what she said next -- "Too much? (pause) But you're laughing inside."
Whenever a comedian says "you're laughing inside," the joke she launched with such fanfare sank like a rock.
(Follow this link for a C-SPAN video of Sykes at the dinner; her comments on Limbaugh start at 11:53 into the clip).
Problem is, Schultz's reaction to Sykes is as boorish and nonsensical as what passes for humor from her. Sykes contends that since Limbaugh wants Obama to fail, he wants the country to fail, ergo he is akin to bin Laden and in effect a 20th hijacker.
At risk of stating the obvious, the president on 9/11 was Bush, not Obama -- and Limbaugh assuredly doesn't hate Bush (I doubt he hates Obama for that matter. Limbaugh hates what Obama is doing, a huge difference). If what Sykes suggests and Schultz seconds possessed anything resembling validity, we wouldn't have waited seven years to hear it.
Schultz also shielded his listeners from Sykes' concluding remarks on Limbaugh -- "I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs a good waterboarding, that's what he needs."
What Sykes said was so beyond the pale that even Keith Olbermann -- yes, that Keith Olbermann, the one Sykes no doubt had in mind when writing her jokes -- reportedly thought Sykes crossed the line.