BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – A standing rule passed by the Humor Steering Committee of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and Double Martini Imbibers states that whenever a public figure has been ruthlessly humiliated and made fun of for more than five consecutive days in the national press and on television late night talk shows, thenNSNC&DMI members in good standing MUST write about said public figure in an amusing manner, using such whimsical double entendres, similes, metaphors, ironic juxtaposition and satire as to assure the maximum amount of humor and discomfort may be wrung out of the subject.”
The problem is that the use of U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner as comedic fodder has been underway for the past week at such “shock and awe” levels that even NATO has asked comedians, pundits, talk show hosts and columnists to hold their fire. And, unfortunately for me, all of the comedic ammo has been used up. I only get one shot a week at published humor and I’m sorry to report that all the “weiner” jokes are used up. There simply are no more weiner jokes to be had.
The situation is so bad that comedian Jon Stewart slit his wrist while taping “The Daily Show” yesterday. It had been an agonizing several days for Stewart, who confessed to be a long-time friend of Congressman Weiner. For a couple of nights Stewart went through the motions of making fun of Mr. Weiner but his heart clearly wasn’t in it. While the congressman held to his story that his Twitter account had been hacked and claimed he had not sent out photos of his private parts to various young women of his non-acquaintance, Stewart stuck by his man.
But when Mr. Weiner admitted he had sent the Tweets, sent lewd photos on Facebook and lied to the entire Washington press corps, Stewart apparently couldn’t take it anymore. While performing a fake news conference mimicking Mr. Weiner’s confessional press conference, Stewart cut his wrist with an electric blender allegedly while making a margarita. The brave Stewart soldiered on, continuing the skit while dripping blood all over the set and continuing the show once he was bandaged up.
Reports from the Comedy Central network said it was an accident but you have to wonder whether Stewart was so upset with the moral downfall of his friend and the confusion over whether to stick by him or “rip him a new one” according to the terms of his network contract that he felt some kind of personal penance was due and, well, the blades of the blender were whirling, whirling, whirling and suddenly “The Daily Show” became that “Saturday Night Live” sketch with Dan Aykroyd as chef Julia Child spraying blood all over the place and shouting “Save the liver!”
Stewart could have cut himself by accident but he also might have done it accidentally on purpose because by that time there simply were no more weiner jokes left. I mean, the week was chock full of every weiner joke imaginable, every historical or funny reference to be found by Googling the word “weiner”, every video clip of the Oscar Mayer “Wienermobile” and every weiner/penis single, double or triple entendre imaginable. Even serious journalists like Charles Krauthammer and Brit Hume found themselves inadvertently saying things like “Charges of indecent exposure against Weiner will never stand up in court …”
And that’s the predicament I’m in. As a professional humor columnist bound by the rules of the NSNC& DMI I’m supposed to make weiner jokes but they’ve all been used up. When I posted last week’s Charleyworld column I knew Mr. Weiner was guilty has heck but it was too early to fire off weiner jokes. Instead, I went with a semi-amusing essay on how bad Hawaii driver are. How unlucky is that?
I’m not going to cut my wrists or anything but I refuse to engage in any attempt to get a laugh off of the word “weiner” at this point. I know many, many funny weiner lines. I have a veritable vat of weiner-related humor I could dip into. But people would just accuse me of ripping off David Letterman or Charles Krauthammer. I’ve gone out of my way here not even to accidently use weiner in a funny way. I even had second thoughts about using the phrase in the first paragraph “members in good standing” for fear some reader would think I was being cute. I wasn’t. And that’s why I also chose to treat the congressman’s name with respect, referring him to as “Mr. Weiner” instead of just “Weiner” so people would know I wasn’t getting in a sly dig.
I will point out that there is some controversy as the proper spelling of “weiner.” The congressman spells his name “Weiner” but the word when used in reference to a hot dog is spelled “wiener,” as in the “Wienermobile.” Apparently there is some latitude in spelling when using the term as a reference to a specific male appendage. The “ I before E except after C” spelling rule we learned in elementary school rule doesn’t seem to apply. Some say weiner, some say wiener.
So I’ve done my duty. I’ve written a weiner column. But I’m not happy about it. And I’m keeping my eye on Congress now. If representatives Hank Johnson (Georgia), John Dingell (Michigan), Barney Frank (Massachusetts), Gary Peters (Michigan) or Paul Labrador (Idaho) e-mail pictures of their private parts on the Internet, I’m going to be all over them, so to speak.