If you read the Daily Gut, you know I've been following this latest Opie & Anthony mess, with the homeless guy who said some nasty things about Condoleeza Rice. I have XM and I listen to O&A, and I listened to the clip that Breitbart put up (with the headline that keeps changing for some reason), but I didn't get to listen to that entire segment until yesterday. I'm going to try to set the scene and provide some context, which is something that's completely missing in most of the coverage of this.
For the first 25 minutes of O&A's 5/9 XM show, they talked about baseball with comedians Jim Norton and Bill Burr. Fast-forward. Then, as they were about to go to a break (they broadcast 5 hours a day, and Norton has a small bladder), Opie asked if there were any fans listening to the show in the other room. They broadcast on CBS Radio for a few hours each day and then on XM for a few hours, and they invite fans to walk over with them the couple of blocks from one studio to the other. Sometimes they invite the fans up to see what the show is all about. That day there was only one, a homeless 47-year-old African-American gentleman named Charlie, who was described as looking like Dick Gregory. So Opie invited Charlie into the studio to see what he was all about.
That was the extent of any planning that went on. It wasn't a skit, Charlie isn't a made-up character, and he wasn't even a scheduled guest. It was all off-the-cuff, which is how the show tends to operate.
Charlie had been on the show once or twice before, but they'd never really talked to him at any length. Over the course of their 20-minute conversation, he gave many strong, free-spirited opinions on many different subjects, not just Condi Rice. I'm going to transcribe some of them here.
WARNING: The following language is very offensive. Again, this was broadcast on a pay service, on one channel out of the over 200 on XM, and the channel can be blocked at the listener's request. It was not put out on the public airwaves; you have to want to listen to it in order to listen to it. (Unless somebody clips a 60-second excerpt out of context and sends the hyperlink to Drudge, of course.) Think HBO for radio.
Okay, here's some of the wit and wisdom of Charlie, also known as "the homeless Richard Pryor." Bear in mind that he was laughing cheerfully throughout the entire conversation:
Anthony: Oh, one of the diamond district guys? What did you get?
Charlie: I got six years!
[And here's the part Breitbart clipped out of context, which started this whole mess]
Charlie: I tell you what, who's that George Bush bitch, Rice? Condaleeza Rice? I'd love to fuck that bitch, dammit. She needs a fuckin' man.
Anthony: I can just imagine the horror in Condaleeza Rice's face as you were just like holdin' her down and fuckin' her.
Charlie: Punch her all in the fuckin' face. "Shut up, bitch!"
Anthony: That's exactly what I meant.
[Editor's Note: See, Anthony is pointing out what a psycho this guy is. They're enjoying Charlie's ranting, and he's got great comedic timing, but he's obviously a nut. Anthony wasn't saying that Condeleeza Rice or anybody else should be sexually assaulted, he was pointing out that this guy is a wackjob. He was making a joke about Charlie. He wasn't saying it should happen. Okay? Okay.]
Charlie: And George Bush's wife? I'd fuck that bitch to death. Oh yeah. She needs a man. Oh, I love them old bitches. I love them old bitches.
Anthony: [Imitating Charlie as Mr. T in Rocky III] "Hey woman! Hey woman! I show you a real man! Why doncha come by my box, I show you a real man!"
Opie: Hey, what about the Queen? Current events, the Queen just finally went back to her dumb castle or whatever...
Charlie: Fuck that bitch! Fuck the Queen. Ya lost, bitch. Why you comin' over here for, ya horse-faced-lookin' bitch? [Neighs like a horse] Fuck the Queen. [What does America] entertain that fuckin' bitch for? Fuck her.
[That's where Breitbart's clip ends, but I think the rest is relevant to the discussion. You know, that ol' context thing.]
Bill Burr: What are you pro-? What are you for? You've done a lot of, you're like, "Fuck everything." What are you for? What do you advocate?
Charlie: What am I for? I advocate freedom. Say what you want...
Burr: This guy has a message!
Charlie: ...do what you want, as long as you ain't hurtin' nobody. This fuckin' country has turned into a bunch of pussies.
Charlie: Do what the f-- Say what you want. You don't like it... fuck you!
Anthony: "As long as you don't hurt nobody." This, coming from the guy that pops old ladies in the head!
Charlie: Yeah, you know, if you don't like it, bitch, walk down another block! You know? Fuck that shit. Fuck that, this is America!
Burr: "This is America!" That's the greatest way I've ever heard that expression used. "I can knock out an old lady, this is America!"
Anthony: "This is America, fuck that old bitch!"
[Editor's Note: Do I really need to point out again that they were goofing on him? I probably do, unfortunately.]
Opie: This is brilliant, man. Charlie, you're gonna be part of the team.
Charlie: I robbed an old bitch one time, she said, "I only got 17 dollars." I said, "Okay, I'll catch you tomorrow, have some more fuckin' money, bitch!"
Opie: He does vaudeville too! Alright, Charlie, we're gonna take a break. You come by anytime and you do your rants like this.
Charlie: O&A! If you don't like O&A, you know what? Fuck you!
Jim Norton: That's a promo.
Now, is any of that stuff nice? Is any of it polite? No. Is any of it funny? That's a matter of personal preference, and I didn't like the Condi Rice thing, but I thought he had a couple of good lines, especially "I got six years!" Is any of it worth trying to get somebody fired from a pay service that is not on the public airwaves? If you say yes, you're no better than Tipper Gore or Al Sharpton or Media Matters or News Hounds or any of these other people who've ever tried to decide for you what you should be able to watch or read or listen to. O&A and the rest of these guys have one job and one job only: Don't be boring. And whatever else you have to say about Charlie, he wasn't boring.
If you're a Stern fan and you're saying, "Those guys are ripoff artists, screw them," what makes you think Stern won't be next? (Despite the fact that he has a fraction of his old audience, you can bet that somebody from Media Matters or one of these other groups is recording him every day, waiting for him to slip up.) Every time something like this happens, it just makes it easier for these groups to do it the next time. Cut it out!Posted by Jim Treacher at May 13, 2007 04:09 AM