Laughing Matters — The Ben Stiller Show, “Kill Doug Szathkey”

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

I was a college radio kid and unyielding proponent of free artistic expression when Body Count’s “Cop Killer” was released. Our station proudly added the track and album to the playlist, and I and my cohorts generally took this side of Ice-T and his bandmates as right-wing politicians opportunistically condemned the rhetoric, openly and ludicrously speculating that it would directly result in murderous assaults on law enforcement officers. Even so, I recognized that Ice-T was being somewhat disingenuous when he feigned complete surprise at the notion that the song’s attacks against the police would be taken seriously by anyone. As usual for that particular year, the best, slyest commentary on that piece of the pop culture came from the sadly under-watched comedy series The Ben Stiller Show.

It is not an exaggeration to state that “Kill Doug Szathkey” is one of my all-time favorite rap tracks.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.

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