By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Photo by Jack GouldBill Maher is still, two years later, telling Monica Lewinsky jokes. But he can't help it. He's got really good material about the whole thing, and it's hard to let good material die. Just ask any comic who's still doing Heaven's Gate jokes.
Besides, it's not like he's alone. And it's actually still timely, since the far Right won't let the thing go, either. Every time you hear George W. Bush bring up "integrity," it's code for "I won't get no blowjobs in the Oval Office."
Maher brought his traveling sideshow to UC Irvine's Bren Events Center Oct. 4, with a fascinating cast of characters that included The Orange County Register's "family" film critic, Holly McClure; Scream co-star and cuddly pothead Jamie Kennedy; Bill Weir, a cute (and witty! Who knew?) sportscaster from KABC; and, uh, the UCI Associated Student Body president, who wasn't there to do much more than mumble and have his Armenian name mocked by Maher in one of his few jokes that fell consistently flat. College students are against making fun of foreign-sounding names; it smacks of xenophobia. Politically incorrect? Not likely.
(Sadly for the eight people in front of me wearing homemade Tom Arnold fan-club T-shirts, the show did, in fact, not include the fat, boring former Mr. Roseanne. Also, a bunch of frat boys came over to them before the show and—not understanding clever irony even in the slightest—tried to grok their devotion to Arnold. The frat boys' utter stupidity—for some reason, I was under the impression UCI was hard to get into—was perhaps explained when they proclaimed their own devotion to a different Tom: the odious, smug and bombastic radio "personality" Tom Leykis, a shriveled gnome doing his best to liberate the tits of all womankind. But enough about that.)
The lights finally dimmed, and the cheers from the audience of about 1,000 (cute Asian girls with big boobs, blond couples, the aforementioned frat boys and women who looked like deans) were as excited as those of Iowans. The cute little kittens!
Though the panel at first just exulted in its newfound ability to say "fuck"—the poor things must feel so oppressed at work, where they apparently can't call people "snatches," even if they deserve it!—it soon got into some actual issues. Substantive issues! Substantive issues with substance! For those who've seen the televised version of the show, this was a major feat, as it usually impanels cute actors and cuter actresses who wouldn't know gun control from birth control. (The exceptions are when San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown—who's hilarious—and far-right-wing blond hotty/crazy person Ann Coulter are on the show. Coulter is a stuck-up, evil bitch, but at least she pretends to know more about politics than Q Ratings.)
The topics covered, in order, were: blowjobs; Al Gore's pandering to women on Oprah; Gore's being pussy-whipped; Bush's retarded Texas gun law, which gave concealed-weapons permits to convicted criminals; McClure pointing out that "because of the gun laws," a 9-year-old girl couldn't get access to her father's gun to save her younger sisters from the pitchfork-wielding murderer who broke into their home a few weeks ago; everyone making fun of McClure for saying 9-year-olds should have access to guns; McClure denying she'd said that; saving the nation through more guns and more Jesus; blowjobs; rebuilding the military; women on submarines; porn; Eminem (to which McClure said, "Eminem sings some real good songs, I've got to admit"; who's pandering now?); how the witchcraft on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is evil; the Olympics; how gymnasts are the freak-show equivalent of dwarf-tossing; Jesse Ventura; explaining blowjobs to kids, to which Maher said, "I'd tell them the truth: that some very bad men tried to make the president feel bad about getting a blowjob"; Catholicism and how Catholics can't talk directly to God but have to get saints and the Virgin Mother to intercede for them ("It's like the DMV!" said Maher); and blowjobs.
The long-form show (it lasted two hours, including about a half-hour of material Maher did upfront) was really satisfying, allowing everybody but the ASB president a chance to go deep on the topics. Poor McClure—a handsome blonde with TV-ready looks—kept getting booed, though, even when she was first introduced as a critic for the Reg. She must have been booed five or six times. I, being a gentlewoman, abstained.
We at the Weekly had an evil plan. Not as evil as Ann Coulter or the witchcraft on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but evil nonetheless.
It all started when we got a call for nominations to the Red Cross of Orange County's Clara Barton Awards. We decided to call in a favor and have a friend not strictly affiliated with the paper nominate me for Humanitarian of the Year. I would attend the ladies' luncheon. And I would win.
But then a funny thing happened: I'd had some pretty pesky menstrual cramps the morning of Oct. 5, so I popped a Vicodin left over from my surgery. When I got to the Hyatt Regency Irvine (where we had to pay to park; are fancy hotels going to install pay showers next?), I was a little zoned and—could it be?—emotional. Under the soft light from 49 square chandeliers, about 700 people guiltily ate their delightful salmon and sorbet as Princess Margriet of the Netherlands talked (though not by name) of the Taliban, land mines, child soldiers and concentration camps.