Wednesday, April 2

Wondering About Funny: Corey Levitan


“For the record, I apologize to all the readers I offended, even those who aren't prominent rabbis. Offense is never my intent,” said Corey Levitan, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist. Humor always is. And humor is subjective, as proven by the people who somehow find Dane Cook to be hilarious.”

This is part of an unsolicited apology received (I’m part of his e-mail list) from columnist Corey Levitan after he “portrayed” a cantor for his Fear In Loafing column a few days ago. The column features Levitan assuming various occupations and then writing about them. Sometimes he is funny. Sometimes he is not, at least not according to some people.

”Mr. Levitan's glib misrepresentations about Reform Judaism were not just erroneous, but disgusting and hurtful,” wrote Rabbi Kenneth I. Segel in a letter to the editor. “Being a clown and imposter is one thing, but denigrating a religious faith is another.”

If the reader was offended by Levitan’s column, there seems to be little doubt that he would have not appreciated the e-mail apology e-mail, as Levitan states … “Frankly, I just can’t see how anyone can interpret the sarcasm of my condensed Jewish history as anything other than glaringly obvious. (Um, I KNOW that Christmas and Easter are not Jewish high holy days.)”

Levitan also mentions receiving about a dozen phone calls accusing him of hating himself for being Jewish. And later goes on to drop Larry David, Jackie Mason, and Mel Brooks as other humorists he is inspired by as a defense.

Ho hum. While the column was meant to be satirical, it was also obvious, in my opinion, that he held back compared to other articles , hinting that maybe he was less comfortable with this one than others. David, Mason, and Brooks never were, which is why they are funny.

While Levitan is right, people are often too sensitive when humor is presented, one wonders whether his e-mail was the best idea. Certainly it was better than Michael Richards’ attempt to defuse racism but perhaps not so solid as what Chris Rock might have done as mentioned in the Richards post.

It invites others who would never have known to opine, dismisses the complaint in a communication vehicle that generally doesn’t employ sarcasm, and alludes to the notion that Levitan might not be against the idea of using the angst of others as publicity. Of course, that all depends whether the two offended rabbis were privy to knowing that they were the rub of Levitan’s more private correspondence.

If they were not included, then no, not so funny. If they were included, then I hope they’re smiling because that might make it funny.

Digg!

2 comments:

Rich on 4/2/08, 12:30 PM said...

More Words:

As a contrast, last time Corey Levitan used his e-mail to push a message, it took aim at the LATimes. We considered writing about that too, but passed.

Search Engine Optimization on 6/6/08, 2:08 AM said...

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