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Friday, March 23, 2012

Mad Men Keeps Up With the Kardashians, Thanks to Jon Hamm

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM


The new season of the runaway hit Mad Men premieres Sunday on AMC. One of the major reasons -- if not the reason--- for the show's success is the dreamy Jon Hamm. He is full of charisma, a great actor, funny, and "worst of all," he doesn't take himself too seriously.

He's like a young Alec Baldwin without all that other brothers baggage. And he even has something else in his back pocket. He is beloved by the alternative comedy community. He's been on WTF with Marc Maron, Between Two Ferns with Zach Galfianakis, and in the movie Bridesmaids. All of this basically means he has been certified cool.

Recently in an interview in Elle UK -- even British people think he's the dog's bollocks -- Hamm decided to voice his opinions about celebutantes and reality television.

Whether it's Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated. Being a fucking idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture because you're rewarded significantly.

As you would expect, Kim Kardashian picked up her stylus, dipped it in ink, and used her best parchment to compose her response...

I just heard about the comment Jon Hamm made about me in an interview. I respect Jon and I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that not everyone takes the same path in life. We're all working hard and we all have to respect one another. Calling someone who runs their own businesses, is a part of a successful TV show, produces, writes, designs, and creates, "stupid," is in my opinion careless.

OK, fine. She actually posted that on Twitter.

Hamm has since stood by what he mansplained, even when "confronted" by the velvet spatula that is The Today Show's Matt Lauer. And Kim's BFF has jumped into what must be the best looking scrum ever.

And all of this has led me to say something that I never thought I'd say...

I ... agree ... with ... Kim ... Kardashian.

I know. I know. I have just basically thrown away any cool points I had. But it's fine. I never accumulate that many, and they usually expire before I have a chance to redeem them anyway. And I don't really have a cat in this fight. I think about Kim Kardashian about as much as you have to if you live in America. I don't watch her show, but I certainly know who she is and where she came from. And as for Mr. Hamm ... well ... I am on record -- actually CD -- describing how I feel about his show. Long story short, it is far too challenging for me to watch a show about how the 1960s was a rough time in America ... for white people ... for white-collar white people.

I just don't see why I am supposed to accept Hamm's underlying premise that his show, Mad Men, is empirically better for society than Kardashian's show -- er, shows. To me, they are just different sides of the same coin. Both shows are popular in part because people live vicariously through the stars. Both show you that just because someone's life looks fabulous on the outside doesn't mean they don't have real-life problems like divorce and living double lives. Both shows are putting forth a skewed image of the era they portray. And both definitely affect their audiences.

Kardashian is inspiring young women everywhere to own businesses and create their own industries. Mad Men is inspiring people to wear tailored suits and find out that they don't like the taste of martinis. But neither one of them is Planet Earth or The Daily Show or Alex Haley's Roots or even The Wire. They are both distraction television, and they both seem to be doing a good job. But then I really wouldn't know. As I said, I don't watch them.


Kamau's Komedy Korner is a weekly blog column about San Francisco comedy and related pop-culture and political goings-on by W. Kamau Bell. Check back next week for more.

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W. Kamau Bell


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