Keep it coming, Monica
Everyone’s talking about Clinton and Monica, but you’d never know it from Britain’s apolitical comics. American stand-up Scott Capurro wonders why
When I flew out of San Francisco three weeks ago, Americans were basking in the warmth of an economically glowing summer. But by the time the plane hit the tarmac in London, Monica Lewinsky had produced her stained dress. The stock market crashed and the The Washington Post began chorusing for a presidential replacement. Unless those stocks rise soon, the American public, suddenly anxious about house payments and expensive vacation plans, may join the press in its next impeachment surprise.
The oddest element of the story is that British comics aren’t joking about this current political turmoil. At least not at the Edinburgh Festival. Perhaps these comics are too afraid of risking their Perrier potential. Or maybe their middle- class, male sensibilities are offended by sperm in the Oval Office.
“How dreadful!” They might say to one another in the Observer Assembly bar, while sipping a pint bought by a female fan they will probably forcibly handle later. “We must keep sex out of politics, and in the public school toilets, where it belongs!” British comics are just not as political as their American counterparts. Which is strange, since American audiences are notoriously less politically savvy than the average British punter.
But one must remember that on the alternative comedy scene here in Britain, the comic is not necessarily performing for the audience. He might instead be workshopping some feelings, working through past traumas. New lads are now permitted poetry and introspection.
Stories are then more important than jokes, especially if the comic wants to gain some self-knowledge, no matter the cost, which, for the bleary-eyed Fringe lover, is about 7. It’s more important for these boys to discuss some demanding slapper they’ve just shagged than to write jokes about a well-educated woman, like Monica, who is challenging sexual abuse in the workplace, and in so doing, is changing the way Americans, and the rest of the world, perceive the role of perhaps the most powerful person on Earth.
Writing jokes about this would be hard for the lads. They’d have to find women interesting and worthy of respect. Better just stick to needy bitches.
But if only the British boys would look a bit deeper, they’d find disapproving elements of the female sex within the Lewinsky/Clinton debacle. Take it from me, a fame- seeking white trash loud-mouth: while the questions she raises about impropriety are important, Ms Lewinsky, though steady and cool as a corpse, is a bit of a media whore. I mean, what kind of girl keeps a date- soiled dress in a bag for 18 months? A poor girl with no money for dry cleaning? Or perhaps the tackiest, most glory-hungry monster to hit the headlines since Olympic figure-skating hopeful Tonya Harding had her boyfriend attempt to eliminate her horse-faced competition, Nancy Kerrigan, with a tyre-iron. That story, seething in lasciviousness, provided reams of material for many award-winning comics.
And this Lewinsky matter is just as ripe. The dress is Monica’s tyre-iron. If the DNA test proves conclusive, that spunky cotton sheath will bring Clinton to his knees. Or perhaps the existence of such evidence will bring Lewinsky down. She already seems to know too much. I’m worried that if that husky girl doesn’t shut up, she might wind up in a neck brace. Or worse. The President has some powerful friends. In school, they were called `bullies’. In Washington, they’re called the Secret Service.
My un-alternative, poetry-hating take on it goes like this: I don’t want to impeach Clinton for shagging women other than his wife. I want to impeach Clinton for shagging ugly women. Paula Jones? Maybe, if it’s late and he’s drunk. Other than that, he shouldn’t have bothered. And Monica Moo-insky. She’s as big as a house. She’s a blow- up doll with a helmet. I mean, he could do better. He’s the King of the World, for chrissake. His choices make American women look bad.
Maybe Clinton wants to be the pretty one in the relationship. And who doesn’t? I know I do. Which means I’ve had some pretty ugly guys in my lifetime. I have shared a bed with men who were so ugly I couldn’t sleep. They looked like there should’ve been a foundation named after them. After I came, I wanted to donate something. Like a kidney.
I think I speak for the comedy world when I say, “Thank you, Monica. Just keep it coming!”