I'll be the first to admit that Rocky D is my favorite local funny man, beating out the improv-loving folks at Theatre 99, trivia host and blue-humor aficionado Bill Davis, and Harve Jacobs, whose recent report on cell phone text predators was a Class-A send-up of nightly news programs and their fear-mongering ways.
Seriously, as far as satire goes, the piece crafted by Live 5's May Sweeps manhunter was spot-on perfect. That Jacobs was able to open his report without laughing at the bombastic simplicity of the words coming out of his mouth — "For teens, it's the in thing to do, sending text messages to communicate. But cops say teens aren't the only ones texting. For sex offenders it's a way to talk to your children and get to them." — is a testament to his comedic control. When knee-deep in absurdity, a comedian should play it straight. You know this. Harve knows this.
He also knows when to step back and let his interview subjects deliver the gut-busting goods. Like Charleston City Police Sergeant Trish Taylor, who summed up the role that negligent parents play in handing their children over to text predators. Taylor said, "It's like going into your kid's bedroom and opening the window and leaving it open and saying, 'Hey, here's my child. You're welcome to come in whenever you want.'"
Jon Stewart, we've found you a new correspondent.
But if laughter is the best medicine, then the host of Radio Free Rocky D on 1250 WTMA is like a medieval apothecary applying leeches to sickly bodies to bring balance to the humors. In spite of himself, Rocky D delivers.
And perhaps no other day is a better example of this than Rock's Cinco de Mayo yuk-fest, featuring Charleston City Council member Larry Shirley, a guy who also knows a thing or two about delivering punch lines. (Like this gem about negligent moms: "We pick up stray animals and spay them. These mothers need to be spayed if they can't take care of theirs." That line would have killed them at the Goose-steppers Comedy Club in 1939.)
Listening to Monday's show, I couldn't help but think that not since Michael Richards out-Kaufmaned Andy Kaufman — stunned audiences didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or get angry at Kramer's epithet-heavy rant — has a routine so straddled the line between comedy and performance art. Somehow Rocky D managed to do it.
First up, Rocky offers up a little bit of observational humor, and, believe you me, this one should shame Jerry Seinfeld right out of the business: He asked, why do Hispanics park on the lawn and stand in the street?
I know. Good stuff. And Rocky knows it, too. In fact, he repeated the same joke in some form or another throughout the show. After all, funny is funny, and what was funny the first time is downright hilarious the second time — like The Big Lebowski or the Bush presidencies.
However, delivering the same joke over and over requires a little bit of work. You have to add to it — like suggesting that Hispanics stand in the street, because in their slummy villages in Mexico the only thing in the streets are goats and burros. (Shirley and Rock tag-teamed on that one after yukking it up about the inability of "morons" to speak English or to cross Ashley Phosphate Road without getting, well, you read the paper.)
But amid all the clever south-of-the-border accents, the good-natured mocking of the Mexican people and their history, the uncanny ability to repeat the phrase "Cinco de Mayo" over and over again to fill up dead air, one joke and one joke alone stood out from all the rest, and it went something like this: Everywhere illegal aliens gather, animals disappear.
What kind of animals, you ask? According to Rocky D, cats, dogs, and fowl. Why? Apparently to eat them.
Ladies and gentlemen ... the Aristocrats.