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IRL News: Kanye West is the funniest man in America

September 13, 2009

Some of our older readers may remember that Kanye West began his career as a musician. No, seriously. And he was pretty good at it, too. But as the years went on, Mr. West discovered a new, subtler talent: a knack for public provocation with a kind of fearlessness this country hasn’t seen since Andy Kaufman. He specializes in minimal, Brechtian “happenings” like referring to himself as “bigger than Jesus,” “the new King of Pop,” or “Martin Louis the King, Jr.” (Louis as in Louis Vuitton. As in, Kanye West is the Martin Luther King Jr. of wearing designer shoes.) In case you haven’t heard, he performed in true form at tonight’s MTV Video Music Awards:

Click for video

Click for video

That’s right, in the middle of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for “Best Female Video”, Kanye ran onto the stage and snatched the mic right out of Swift’s hands. “Yo Taylor, I’m happy for you, I’m’a let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time –” points to Beyonce — “one of the best videos of all time!” He shrugs, as if he were pointing out something perfectly obvious, hands the mic back to Taylor, flips off the audience, and walks off stage. Oh, and he lied when he said “I’m’a let you finish.” He ran out her time.

Kanye’s actually pulled a similar stunt before, at the 2004 American Music Awards when he wasn’t given the nod for Best New Artist [edit: and the European Music Awards in 2006]. But back then, he came up to defend his own work. Here he’s showing a subtler, more mature technique, going onto the stage to tear down the work of a teenager, claiming his friend was robbed as if he were just a neutral audience member shouting at the TV. His timing and delivery, never losing that Kanye strut in front of a hostile crowd, deserve praise enough. But the real genius here was in his choice of target and venue.

She was interrupted while accepting another of her many awards!

Let's all cry for the pretty millionaire teenager who gets paid to do what she loves!

See, Taylor Swift is one of America’s last few icons of teenybopper purity, one of the last few platinum-selling artists who’ve given their audiences an emotional, non-musical stake in buying their albums. Millions of suckers across the country consider Taylor Swift a daughter, or a little sister, or a best friend. But Taylor doesn’t know them, can’t reciprocate their affection, and answers to billionaire record executives who want to milk that relationship to make themselves even richer. But as long as she works within a narrow emotional bubble, her fans never have to take themselves to account over that fact. So Kanye bursts into the bubble during the most vulnerable possible moment, a moment when Taylor can’t possibly come up with a comeback, and talks about something basically unrelated to Taylor Swift.

It’s a powerful message delivered, like all good punchlines, by implication: you, Taylor Swift, do not matter. You, the audience, do not have any relationship to Taylor Swift. All of this is true because I, Kanye West, can do this and it will not change any of your lives.

"I'm not crazy y'all, i'm just real. Sorry for that!!!"

"I'm not crazy y'all, i'm just real. Sorry for that!!!" -- Kanye West, blogging after the fact.

But here, Kanye isn’t just taking a dump on a sacred-cow-burger. He’s mocking one of America’s most overblown institutions: the awards show. Among celebrities, award-show etiquette is the social convention followed most scrupulously and with least reason. Why does anybody need to sit down during the “Video Music Awards”? Do we really need three hours of “Video Music Awards”? And what’s up with Taylor Swift accepting an award for “Best Female Video”? Taylor Swift is not a “female video”. Taylor Swift’s music video is a product written and directed and produced by dozens of talented people who are not Taylor Swift. So why weren’t they on stage? And when Taylor Swift walks on stage and says that she dreamed “all her life” specifically of winning an MTV Video Music Award, isn’t that complete bullshit? These are the questions Kanye West forces us, the audience, to ask. And that is why he’s a comic genius.

The world will little note nor long remember who won any of the other Video Music Awards. But it will never forget what Kanye West did here. God bless America, and God bless Martin Louis the King, Junior.

"I have a dream... of one day winning an MTV Video Music Award"

"You go, Kanye." -- Martin Louis the King Jr. (not pictured)

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9 comments

  1. i agree 1oo percent. he made mockery of the bs


  2. Damn. This makes perfect sense. I’m back to playin Kanye’s joints now!


  3. ek, I have to say you might be the funniest man in America. As with pretty much all your social commentary, this is fantastic. Needs to go viral.


  4. HAHAHAHAHA!!Seriously?!? you don’t even make any sense…if he questions “Why does anybody need to sit down during the Video Music Awards? Do we really need three hours of Video Music Awards?”, that contradicts his own words when he ambushed Justice saying that he should have won the video because he had spent millions of dollar on it, had pam anderson on it, jumped off a helicopter bla bla bla, basically justifying why he should be the one winning the award. He RELIES on the award shows as ONE OF THE WAYS to gain popularity. Same goes to any other superstars. The award shows are there to appreciate their work of arts and at the same time boosting their popularity.

    “And what’s up with Taylor Swift accepting an award for “Best Female Video”? Taylor Swift is not a “female video”. Taylor Swift’s music video is a product written and directed and produced by dozens of talented people who are not Taylor Swift. So why weren’t they on stage?” <<< this is how such shallow minded people like kanye west would question, or rather you ASSUME kanye would question…unless you are kanye himself…pfffttt…

    What does he have to proof to anyone? he wasn't even nominated! Instead of saying that Beyonce's Video is the best of ALL TIME….why didnt he say "People that did Beyonce's Video made the best video of ALL TIME!"

    You see…these dozens of people got paid to do the music video FOR HER anyway. They have their own category and awards shows for them. They are still appreciated. He has nothing to prove!

    He doesn't gain anything by belittling Taylor (apart from a bad rep), she isn't his competitor in the industry, they are both from different genres of music!

    Do you realize now how contradicting your blog statements are with what actually happened?

    Man, you base all this by your own assumption. What millions of people saw on stage that night was fact. He is what he is, a drunk lowly sad boy who craves for attention.

    If he was a genius, he would've thought of other ways to do it without having to crush someone self esteem to boost up his ego.


  5. “He doesn’t gain anything by belittling Taylor (apart from a bad rep), she isn’t his competitor in the industry, they are both from different genres of music!”

    Exactly. It means one thing. Like us, he has his own opinion on who should win, and unlike us, he has a way of making his opinions heard, not on his blog, but live, on stage.

    Should we condemn him? Yes, since it’s uncivilized and totally uncalled for.

    Why the hate on Taylor Swift, it’s not like the world will have an award show for genius obscure artists anytime soon.


  6. hahaha what the hell are you “mr” retards jabbering about


    • apparently something that your brain couldn’t comprehend.


      • You just got trolled, and you seem to think that calling somebody stupid becomes a witty retort when you add a big word to it, a notion most of us outgrew around age 13.

        I appreciate your post above, though, you definitely put more thought into it than I put into mine. You definitely did a great job pointing out the logical inconsistencies in my jokes, and while I could argue some of those points with you, I’d really rather not. I will point out that when you said Kanye “RELIES on the award shows as ONE OF THE WAYS to gain popularity,” you were underscoring the point I was trying to make.


  7. this is hilarious, and great



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