Before I'd heard of his stand-up comedy special, Unelectable, the words 'funny' and 'Glenn Beck' didn't exactly have what you'd call a magnetic relationship to each other in my mind. After watching the whole thing on DVD, this remains the case.
This is because Glenn Beck is - you'd better sit down for this - not very good at comedy.
I say that not as a liberal, but as a person who enjoys comedy and laughing and things that are humorous. If there are jokes in Unelectable, I didn't see 'em. Sure, there are comedyesque things here – wacky facial expressions, props, observations, rants – but the way Beck executes them bears as much resemblance to comedy as kids playing house does to actually being married with children.
Economist George Stigler once quipped that the plural of anecdote isn't data. I'd like to propose a comedic corollary to that: The aggregate of whine isn't humor. It's annoyance - at least for me. Most comedy specials are a merciful ninety minutes or less, but Glenn Beck's brings the same lack of empathy to his 'entertainment' as he does to his politics. Unelectable has an unconscionable two-hour running time and it's hard not to be claw-your-eyes-out bored by ten minutes in. It's a plodding slog, a never-ending parade of every single thing that gets Beck's easily gotten goat. The main thread of Unelectable is how – you guessed it – unelectable Glenn Beck would be as a politician because he just can't stop telling so much damn truth. Humble, this one. Then there are the threadbare themes like liberals love terrorists, liberals hate America, liberals want to protect widdle owls over jobs, liberalszzzzzzzzzzz. Remember the 2004 Bush campaign? Good, you won't need to rent this, then.