Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fred Armisen - time to ante up

In comedy, there are always safe bets.  Sometimes a comedian tries new material, and it bombs. For instance, talking about someone's race or a "too soon" joke may be risky.   But cracking on New Jersey?  It's an old forumla that continues to work well for Saturday Night Live:

I have written about these instances before. Read instance 1 and instance 2.  

It seems to me that the "safe comedic bet" continues to be the North Jersey Gateway Region Italian-American.  

Similar to how West Virginia gets stereotyped for being full of rednecks, New Jersey gets busted on for being mafiosos and guidos, not to mention some of the physical attributes like the turnpike and its environs. And in New Jersey: the Movie, we try to show that New Jersey is NOT just the opening scene of the Sopranos

However, I have friends that do embrace this stereotype.  They went to a high school packed with guidos and say simply, "That was MY New Jersey."  And they're damn proud Tony Soprano wandered around here. 

But for many New Jerseyans, that New Jersey is as foreign as Armisen's hometown on Long Island.
Why is this relevant?  Well, The Real Housewives of New Jersey is going to be premiering on Bravo next month.  And with surnames like: Guidice, Laurita, & Manzo  - it will further cement this New Jersey stereotype to North America:

What is strange is that all the other housewives series were named after the county (Orange County) or the city (Atlanta, New York City).  

So why does Bravo lump a state together for the first time?  Why is ALL of New Jersey in the title when the series maybe should be called, "The Real Housewives of Bergen County?" 

I think we need an apology for all of this.  Not so far as, Be Nice to New Jersey week; but something else.

Here is my proposition:

I have no doubt that Fred Armisen is the brains behind these writings on SNL.   He grew up somewhat locally and appeared in all 3 of the linked SNL skits above.  And I'm pretty sure you will see NJ parodied again on SNL  . . . once the housewives show hits the airwaves (and no doubt Armisen will be involved).  

So, I want Fred Armisen to ante up.  I would like to see him do some sort of apology to New Jersey on SNL.  For a state that has (rightly or wrongly) provided him with this bounty of jokes, it is the least he could do . . . seriously, Fred.

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