The League

Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

First Rule of Funny. Be Funny.


There has been a lot of debate about Martellus Bennett's "Black Olympics" video that recently jumped into the sports blogosphere's consciousness. I'm not sure I've seen anyone out there has come out to say they enjoyed the video. Some have gone so far as to say they thought it was offensive and racist. So the debate has centered on whether or not the video was inappropriate.

I just think it wasn't funny. Perhaps inappropriately un-funny.

That's the thing with being funny. If you're not funny, don't try to be funny. And if you are funny, be funny.

Does that make any sense?

I'll take this on a personal sidebar. When I was a kid, I thought I was funny. I'd crack the occasional one-liner but always felt my strength was in observational humor, being -- as the kids say -- quick with the wit. My problem was, simply, I tried too hard to be funny. If I said 15 funny things a day, I'd be throwing 60 out there in hopes of laughs. That's a terrible humor percentage. Just dreadful for an up-and-coming yuckster like myself (at the time). One day I realized that even though people were laughing at my jokes, I didn't have the moniker of a 'funny guy.'

It was all about the percentages. Saying 15 funny things only works if you try 25, not 60. And while my chuckle-inducing quips dropped from, say, 15 to just 10 per day, my laugh-to-wise crack ratio soared through the roof.

I was playing the percentages.

As I grew up, I realized, I'm just not all that funny. So I pick my spots on the show, and in what I write. I can't dunk a basketball, so flailing at the rim won't do me any good. It's the same thing with comedy.

Which leads us back to Bennett's video. It just wasn't funny. In fact, none of his videos have been funny. He's trying too hard. His percentages are terrible. "Black Olympics" wasn't entirely offensive to me. In fact, there wasn't anything remotely offensive other than the complete lack of comedy.

If the brothers Bennett were trying to have fun and be funny, they should have made the effort to be funny. There is no way they could watch that video and think there is a second of humor in it. It was just a waste of everyone's time, and to some extent because the conversation is still on-going, continues to be a waste of everyone's time.

Don't just film something because you have a camera and a Mac Book. Take the time to think it out and be funny. Yelling "Black Olympics" during each 'competition' isn't funny, it just reminds us that you're trying to make it funny and failing.

Is there a double standard with this video coming from two black athletes and calling it the "Black Olympics" while eating chicken and watermelon while drinking a glass of Kool-Aid? Of course there's a double standard. Imagine if Matt and Tim Hasselbeck (only picked because they are brothers and one plays for Seattle, not because of any racist leanings) made the "Black Olympics" -- they might be suspended from the league. But just like the episode of Seinfeld where the dentist converts to Judiasm for the jokes, if it's your people, it's somehow more accepted, just as long as it's funny.

Speaking of that, I heard this great joke yesterday. A rabbi, a mohel and a cantor are running a marathon... let me know if you've heard this one before...

By Dan Levy  |  July 16, 2009; 9:29 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Dan Levy , NFL , Race , Seattle Seahawks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Ignorant or Uplifting? | Next: Awareness Fail


Please email us to report offensive comments.

I can't really say it was racist. It was sooo boring, you can't put a label like that on the video. However, as a white southern male, I would just like to say, I would have smoked their behinds in the fried chicken eating contest.

Posted by: dougw3 | July 16, 2009 9:30 PM

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