It was a quite eventful weekend for me in Washington, D.C. I had the honor of emceeing shows for Patrice O’Neal. Normally I would not be jazzed to be emcceeing, but a comedian of Patrice’s stature generally draws a good and big crowd and all five shows were sold out. Now I have opened for many headliners of different levels, but Patrice was the like playing in the major leagues after a career in the minors, with all due respect to the people I have opened for. It was an incredible experience. The man is so funny, raw and honest with the crowd that it is both intimidating and inspiring. He does things that I try to do at open mics, but he has the skill, experience and courage to do it in front of 300 paying customers every show. It is cool when as a comic you can watch the headliner and be turned into a comedy fan instantly, laughing like you’ve never been exposed to comedy before.
We were also fortunate this weekend not to draw too many Glenn Beck fans to the club. He was holding his white power rallies at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend and I know at least on the Friday late show there was a group of women (white, obviously) who were in town for the “Enhanced Rights For Dumb, White People” event on Saturday. But I did not see them walk so perhaps they were not as offended as I thought they’d be (perhaps a black headliner is given a little more leeway from the Beck crowd because entertainment is an acceptable job for black men, as opposed to President).
Overall the weekend was a great success. All shows were great, all my sets went well and I never had direct contact with any of the legion of Beck-and-Palin-loving old white men and white families on the red line (the only train line deemed safe enough for the out-of-towners by the Beck-ers) in. And then I received a Tweet at 11 pm announcing that Mad Men had won its third straight Best Drama Emmy, beating Breaking Bad for the second consecutive year.
I think the only problem with America greater than its collective stupidity is when they heap awards on shows like Mad Men because it makes them feel smart and cultured. The show is fu*king boring! Does no one else recognize this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! Breaking Bad manages to do what Mad Men has generally failed to do – it creates realistic characters while building tension and interesting plots. Mad Men’s cache as a glimpse into a bygone time is over – we get it – people were white, women were subservient and they smoked and dressed well. But into its fourth season now all Mad Men is has pretentious people still boosting it because they are afraid to appear uncultured or stupid for not liking it. It is The Emperor’s New Show.
Breaking Bad is the best show on television. End of discussion. The best shows on television have never won though. Six Feet Under lost to The Sopranos and The West Wing, worthy opponents for sure, but the brilliance of SFU will outlast those other two shows. The Wire was never even nominated, but lots of black people obviously scare Emmy voters. Arrested Development did win best comedy once, but it should still be winning just for repeats it was so good. But Modern Family has already taken home the award for Best Comedy Series. It is a funny show, for sure, but it is also as if some television executive pitched it like this:
“Alright, remember that show Arrested Development? What if we took away 60% of the subtlety, added some cop out heart felt moments and put it before Cougar Town?”
Despite that Modern Family is one of the best comedies on television right now so I cannot hate the player. But Breaking Bad has been royally fu*ked over. If you have not watched it you should. And if you watch Mad Men and think it is the best show on television stop fooling yourself. People, including my mother have asked me if I own stock in Breaking Bad. No, but in the last 15 years, partly because of reality television forcing more talented writers onto fewer original shows (my theory), we have lived in a golden age of television. But we still seem to settle for second best. It is as if every year the Emmys give the Oscar to Dances With Wolves instead of Goodfellas or to Forrest Gump instead of The Shawshank Redemption. You may think I have overreacted, but do yourself a favor and watch Breaking Bad – you’ll see that I am at least right.