Comedian Natasha Leggero got slammed for an "insensitive" joke she made about WWII vets during the live telecast of NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daly. Instead of throwing herself on the mercy of the Internet and issuing an overwrought "apology to anyone I've offended," she hit back, proclaiming "I'm not sorry" and challenging her critics to do something about the real issues that veterans face.
Let's go to the videotape:
An enterprising reporter at the UK tabloid The Daily Mail did a Twitter search and found at least a few Twitter illiterates who were "outraged" by a joke that was mild enough for a Bob Hope USO special or a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. That reporter then rushed out an exposé that both detailed the controversy and featured some excellent photos of Leggero's fur hat.
No one around here actually watched Carson Daly's New Year countdown, so it's hard to imagine why Daly, Leggero, Jane Lynch and Anthony Anderson were riffing on the outrage that accompanied this tweet from December 7th. Is it insensitive that a dumb social media intern decided to treat Pearl Harbor Day like it's just another minor holiday (like Arbor Day or St. Patrick's Day) and recycle an image from July 4th for the Twitter feed? Sure, and it's likely the kid thought that the "pasta" (sorry, Jane Lynch) reminded them of that statue where the guys in helmets are planting the flag and isn't that from Pearl Harbor, anyway?
(Note to the offended: that was a joke at the expense of whatever corporation owns SpaghettiOs. All of this is exhausting. You can do your own search if you care which company decided to spell "spaghetti-o's" without a hyphen and an apostrophe. Side note: the people on television were also mocking the same company when they made the joke.)
So, comedian makes tired, standard old people joke. The old people in question happen to be WWII vets which leads a British dirt merchant to write an article that accuses her of disrespecting the troops. Guarantee: there were zero actual WWII vets awake at that hour to watch the comments live and possibly be offended at the suggestion that their diet may have shifted to soft foods.
Rather than beg for mercy, Leggero posted a response on her website that calls out her critics and challenges them to make a donation to the Disabled American Veterans foundation. The whole thing is worth reading, so check it out.
Well hello America!None of this answers a few fundamental questions, like "Who is Natasha Leggero and when did she get famous enough to appear on Carson Daly's NYE special?" or "Does she have material that's either edgier or funnier than the old school joke she made or is her schtick just to be a cute girl who does creaky gags recycled from the Catskills?" Or this one: "How big a controversy can this actually be if the all the video copies on YouTube are of such ridiculously low quality?" If you're mad, take a breath and make a donation to the DAV. Even if you're not mad, you should probably consider making a donation to the veterans charity of your choice and making sure you know where your elected representatives stand on veterans issues.
It's been a busy few days but rest assured, I have received all of your messages and have been busy sifting through the different creatively misspelled death threats, rape fantasies and most of all repeated use of the the C word. In the past few days I have been called a cunt so much I felt like I was in a British pub rooting for the wrong soccer team. Click here to see some of my faves!
I wish I could apologize, but do you really want another insincere apology that you know is just an attempt at damage control and not a real admission of guilt? Let me just try instead to be honest.
I'm not sorry. I don't think the amazing courage of American veterans and specifically those who survived Pearl Harbor is in any way diminished by a comedian making a joke about dentures on television. Do we really believe that the people who fought and defended our freedom against Nazis and the Axis powers will find a joke about Spaghetti O's too much to bear? Sorry, I have more respect for Veterans than to think their honor can be impugned by a glamorous, charming comedian in a fur hat.
That's not to say I don't think comedians are a problem in this country, they are a financial drain on the people who date them and talk far too much about themselves. I'm thrilled to see how passionate (death threats against a five foot tall woman are always the height of passion!) people are about our country and our Veterans. I am too. My own father lost his hearing in the Vietnam War so the issue is pretty close to me too. So rather than apologize, let me offer another perspective.
On the one hand you have me, making a joke about how old people can't chew tough foods very well.
On the other hand you have Veterans who receive inadequate care upon their return from active duty, rampant sexual assault against female soldiers, staggering rates of suicide, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, substance abuse and depression among soldiers and political gridlock that prevents these problems from getting solved quickly.
Where do you think your outrage and action would be better served, calling me a c**t or doing something about the above problems?
For those of you that are currently doing both: Kudos!
To our vets: I love you. I truly hope you know that.
To Spaghetti O's: Let's do lunch.
To the Elderly: Chew!
To @nealrscott: It's spelled Human Excrement not Increatment.
To those looking for an active way to address the above problems, do what I've decided to do instead of apologize: Make a donation to the Disabled American Veterans foundation. (link http://www.dav.org)
Ever Yours, Natasha Leggero