You’re a stand-up comedian about to dive into your routine. You’re totally up for it. You’re prepared for the heckling, the booing, the cheering. But wait … what’s this? Your audience is sitting with its arms tied behind its back and a giant sock in its mouth. You stand, slack-jawed, as your adrenalin immediately legs it off the stage and heads straight for the bar.
That’s what the latest Republican presidential debate was like. With audience participation forbidden, and a moderator who was about as effective as using your butt-hole to open a door, the NBC debate from Florida was about as much fun as, well, using your butt-hole to open a door.
Catching the odd glimpse of these mute spectators reminded me of the scene in Logan’s Run where the people mulled around, waiting happily to go to their death. And, as in Logan’s Run, the promise of sanctuary in this debate was a wicked lie. Newt’s victory in South Carolina had lulled us into a false sense of excitement and now we would PAY.
Moderator Brian Williams’ face was as orange as my first lipstick, his voice as soporific as chloroform. Newt, too, was strangely subdued. He knew that Mittens would have no choice but to divert from his usual strategy of ending every sentence with “.. and so that’s why Obama is a very bad man!“. And divert Mittens did. Like the wounded party in a marriage guidance session, he got it all out of his system. Lobby-bombs, Fannie-and-Freddie-bombs, leadership-bombs and a smattering of “you resigned in disgrace when you were Speaker” flavoured-grenades left Newt deflating like a giant pricked balloon and Mittens with his hands in his pockets, high-fiving his nuts.
After that, it all got a bit boring. Forcing the audience to sit on their hands gave the candidates more time to talk (as if they haven’t flapped their jaws enough over the past six months) and gave the rest of us more time to think ‘this is the best you could do, GOP?‘ Issues varied from immigration and Cuba to the space programme and the sugar industry. Chuck in a bloke with some crazy-arsed sideburns and it would have been like a throwback to the 1960’s, only not cool.
And what of the other two? Ron Paul, his silky hair shining like a beacon of economic truth in a world made dirty by the Fed, indulged in his giggly Grandpa act and spent his time suggesting album titles (my favourite: “All Spectrums Of The Economic Sphere“) and showing off his knowledge of all-things-hypenated (“You talk about Dodd-Frank, but we gave Sarbanes-Oxley”), while Santorum was oddly effective in positioning himself as the true champion of conservatism ie. the acceptable face of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh which, as everyone knows, is his backside.
It was clear from this debate that Newt does best when Newt has an audience to tickle. He’ll no doubt be planning his revenge with some simply ferocious tickling at the next debate in Jacksonville, Florida. Audience, you have been warned.