When Sean Spicer made that surprise cameo at the Emmy Awards a couple of weeks ago, making fun of himself as the angry, lying press secretary brilliantly lampooned on “Saturday Night Live,” I laughed out loud.
Wow. Takes a big man to make fun of himself in front of a worldwide audience, I thought, watching Spicy steer a rolling podium onto the stage a la Melissa McCarthy.
In the days that followed, I was reminded of a pesky little detail: Sean Spicer went to work every single day until he didn’t and lied to every American about everything from crowd size to national security over and over again.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
Spicy has an agent now, which is no real surprise. First comes the agent, then comes the ghostwriter, then comes the book tour ... Sean Spicer, whom absolutely no one had ever heard of, will be a very, very rich man. He will get invited to all the best parties. He will hold court, dazzling eager listeners with tales of how it feels to have your wardrobe cruelly criticized by a boss whose own sartorial mishaps are legendary (Granny panty tennis wear, mismatched suit jackets and pants, etc.)
Sean Spicer, who more than anything looks like your lawn-mowing neighbor whose wife shrieks at him to take a break every 30 minutes because of his angioplasty, is going to be – may God have mercy on our souls – an A-lister.
It’s so unfair.
Spicy’s Emmy performance parodied his own lies about the size of the inauguration crowd (downright quaint compared to all the rest). Some of the audience looked gobsmacked, some laughed, most probably thought, Hollywood-style, that he was a “good get.”
As someone who has mostly written humor for nearly 30 years, I’ve always been hypersensitive about the hypersensitive. I’ve spent an entire career not just defending, but embracing, humor that is occasionally crude, offensive, insensitive and obnoxious. I didn’t care whose ox I gored as long as it was funny. Funny, to me, is powerful stuff. It gets the conversation started, it can change minds.
But Sean Spicer, who looked every bit as rested as anyone would while enjoying sumptuous weekend accommodations in Hollywood, shouldn’t get rewarded with even our most awkward laughter.
A sweet spot on Jimmy Kimmel’s show the week before his Emmy turn – in which he glibly defended lying as just being a loyal foot soldier for his boss – was shorter on yok-yoks but, looking back, I see Spicy’s plan to launch his new brand (now more CUDDLY!) was already being put into action.
Regurgitating ridiculous lies to the American people one month, schmoozing the very “elite West Coast libs” he slammed before being canned ... What a long, strange trip it has been. And now he wants to take us for a ride. Pass.
Sean Spicer hasn’t earned our affection. He doesn’t get to be the affable game show host happily dispensing parting gifts to plucky contestants. Why? Because he has exactly the same amount of remorse as O.J. You want funny? Watch “Robot Chicken.” Sean’s no joke.
Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and humor columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.