A Stones Throw 3-12-15

26

I think many of my readers know I am a big fan of ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” show.

One of my favorite segments occurs when impressionist Frank Caliendo is part of the show. Caliendo is well known for his impressions of famous actors such as: Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro; politicians George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama; broadcasters John Madden, Charles Barkley and Jon Gruden; and talk show hosts Dr. Phil, Jay Leno, and David Letterman, among others.

My favorite Caliendo segments happen when Caliendo and the person he is imitating square off in a debate. He had debated Donald Trump, Charles Barkley, and many others. Oftentimes, the real person has laughed as much as I have – Donald Trump even claimed Caliendo does a better Trump than he does.

Even Jade enjoys the Frank Caliendo segments.

Knowing how much I enjoy him, Jade bought tickets to see Caliendo at the Lawrenceburg Convention Center last Saturday night. The show was sponsored by Hollywood Casino so it was obviously going to be an adult-oriented show. With this in mind, I was concerned that I would be disappointed with the language.

I was afraid that while I really enjoyed the seven or eight minutes of Frank Caliendo on “Mike and Mike,” an hour or so of him would be too much.

I was wrong on both counts.

The show started with a stand-up comedian. I have to confess, I don’t remember his name. However, he walked on the stage and immediately started telling jokes.

I was ready to listen to gross, raunchy stories.

Instead I heard what, at worst would have been rated PG.

For the first few minutes there was a scattering of laughs and applause. For the last 25 or so minutes, the entire audience was laughing and applauding. He told stories about his problems in school.

For instance, he was in a spelling Bee and was given the word “dumb” to spell. He spelled it “dum.”

The teacher asked him to spell it again. He spelled it “dum.”

The teacher told him he was wrong, that the proper spelling was “dumb” – the “b” being silent.

He told her, that’s what I said – “dum” – I kept the “b” silent. (He said she didn’t buy that.)

He also asked a lot of questions – Like why does it seem that every airport has a store that sells luggage? If you are in an airport, don’t you already have luggage?

I have flown in and out of airports a hundred times or more and I never once wondered why luggage was sold there.

Anyway, while I laughed a lot, I think the most amazing part was that this comedian was able to keep the audience laughing without using vulgar or obscene language.

Then came Frank Caliendo.

Seven minutes of Frank Caliendo is great.

An hour and 10 minutes of Frank Caliendo is even better.

My son Kevin went to the show with me. Once Caliendo came on stage, I don’t think a minute went by when one or the other of us wasn’t laughing – or at least had a big smile.

Frank Caliendo was all I had hoped for – and more.

I would shut my eyes and listen as he went from voice to voice. Each voice was easy to recognize. What came out of the mouth of each voice was what you would expect.

Caliendo would do five impressions in a period of 60 seconds – each voice commenting on what the others had said – only in that voice’s style and reputation.

For an hour and 10 minutes Caliendo was nonstop.

For an hour and 10 minutes Caliendo was funny.

For an hour and 10 minutes Caliendo was clean.

In today’s world, it seems that many feel vulgarity is funny. That vulgarity is fun. That vulgarity is necessary to please an audience.

The Frank Caliendo show proved all of that wrong.

For an hour and 40 minutes, Caliendo and his opening act comedian had the entire audience laughing and applauding.

For an hour and 40 minutes, I didn’t hear a word or a joke that I would not want my 11 year old granddaughter or my thirteen year old grandson to hear. The Caliendo show demonstrated that vulgarity is not necessary to keep 2,000 or so adults entertained.

While I walked out of the theater, my first thought was: “When can I see Frank Caliendo again?”

*

Speaking of “Mike and Mike,” last week Mike Golic went on a rant about sexual and vulgar messages on “Twitter.”

The rant came as a result of “Twitter” responses to a “tweet” from former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Shilling. In his “tweet” he simply congratulated his daughter for receiving a scholarship to play softball in college.

An innocent “tweet” from a proud parent.

Then came the response “tweets.” While most were positive and congratulatory, many were not. Some of those that were not were extremely vulgar and were aimed at Schilling’s daughter – not Schilling.

Curt Schilling usually ignores negative – even hate – response “tweets,” but not when those “tweets” are aimed at his daughter. When he saw some of the vulgar, debasing “tweets,” he took action.

He was able to determine the name of the sender and when he “Googled” those names, He was able to find a few of them. One was a part-time employee of the New York Yankees – He hated Schilling because Schilling had pitched for the hated Boston Red Sox. Schilling took a snapshot of the post and sent it to the Yankees.

The Yankees immediately fired the employee.

Another was a college student – probably trying to impress his friends with his vulgarity. Shilling took a snapshot of the post and sent it to the college.

The college immediately suspended the student.

When Schilling’s actions became news, some pointed an ugly finger at Schilling claiming he had no right to get a man fired or get a student suspended.

After all – don’t we have freedom of speech?

With this, Mike Golic went on a rant.

In essence, Golic said Curt Schilling did not get anyone fired or suspended – those people got themselves fired or suspended. All Schilling did was send copies of the “tweets” to the Yankees and the college.

And, isn’t that what the “tweeter” wanted – publicity?

As Golic went on to say – freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequences. You have to remember that anything you put on the Internet will stay on the Internet – forever.

More importantly, Golic said that anyone who uses vulgar and obscene language to degrade an individual on “Twitter” should have consequences. And – he hoped what Curt Schilling did in chasing down the idiots who wrote the vulgar “tweets,” would send a message to all.

The message that what you post on the Internet is a reflection of you and that it can have consequences.

Of course, Mike Golic said this in a much stronger rant.

For seven minutes Mike Golic ranted and raved. He was emotional. He was mad.

And, he did the entire seven minute rant without the use of one swear word.

Without the use of one coarse word.

Both Frank Caliendo and Mike Golic showed you can get your point across without vulgarity and obscenity.

Why can’t others do the same?

– Mike Cooney