Grilling Sacred Cows
What's a disaffected blue-collar white guy supposed to do for a laugh in a world full of gay, handicapped and ethnocentric comedians? Come on down to Jeff Wayne's right-of-center one-man comedy show, Big Daddy's Barbeque.
"I never say conservative or liberal because that's very divisive with people," says Wayne, whose mother was a Republican and father was a Democrat. Big Daddy's views "certainly aren't PC, let's put it that way."
Big Daddy is unapologetic about his hamburgers, for one thing, and he lampoons California as the kind of place that will outlaw cigarettes but create marijuana smoking sections in restaurants. At the height of the PC movement the show was subtitled "It's O.K. to Be a White Male," but now that it's almost politically incorrect to be politically correct, the show has been subtitled "It's All My Fault" to keep with the times. Big Daddy now jokes that Osama bin Laden should have turned himself in because he "could have pulled the O.J. jury and gotten off." He says Bush didn't send Jesse Jackson to Afghanistan because "we don't hate them that much."
The director of the show is Ted Lange, the actor made famous by his portrayal of bartender Isaac Washington on The Love Boat. Though that association has provided the show with some protection from offended critics, Wayne says Lange's skin color had nothing to do with his selection. "He was the best man for the job," Wayne says.
Big Daddy is too likable to be hated. Time and again reviewers have noted that black people -- particularly women -- laugh the loudest at Wayne's routines. Big Daddy is not so much threatening as revealing of a new American reality. White people are slowly losing their majority status to become but the largest in a nation of minorities. Perhaps it's inevitable that they would turn into what conservatives hate most: yet another vocal ethnic group touting their cultural identity.
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