Friday, November 21, 2014

"Brokedown Merry-Go-Round" Show of the Week: Black Dynamite, "Sweet Bill's Badass Singalong Song or Bill Cosby Ain't Himself"

At a reverse strip club, the dancers put their clothes back on, which is also how the Hallmark Channel broadcasts reruns of True Blood and Masters of Sex, by showing each episode backwards.
Every Friday in "'Brokedown Merry-Go-Round' Show of the Week," I discuss the week's best first-run animated series episode I saw. "Brokedown Merry-Go-Round," a two-hour block of original score tracks from animated shows or movies, airs weekdays at 2pm Pacific on AFOS.

As a kid, I loved Bill Cosby: Himself so much that other grade school classmates and I would frequently repeat to each other on the bus or on the playground several lines from that concert film, which was a fixture of so many cable channels in the '80s and '90s (including the Disney Channel, whose censors deleted Cosby's entire routine about booze and cocaine addicts from the film). The "I thought my name was Jesus Christ!" bit was particularly popular on the playground. I still do like that film. As Hannibal Buress said in a 2013 GQ piece where he and a bunch of other comedians discussed their love for Cosby's material in Himself, "It's stuff that holds up." But ever since Cosby's infamous 2004 "Pound Cake" speech, my admiration for Cosby--outside of his unquestionable skills as both "a stand-up who sat down" and a storyteller--dissipated.

It dissipated even further after reading this (scroll down to the comments section for stories of Cosby being a power-mad asshole backstage or off-camera) and this and then hearing about one Cosby rape allegation after another (with Cosby now receiving support from Rush Limbaugh--why is Bill Hicks dead while this prick Hicks used to take down so beautifully in his act is still alive?). So I enjoyed Buress' recent rant about Cosby, a routine from his current stand-up tour that went viral last month and has attracted so much media attention even Buress himself has become tired of hearing about it. In the routine, Buress, a lapsed Cosby fan, scathingly slammed both the star of Leonard Part 6 and "the fuckin' smuggest old black man public persona," a side of Cosby that has frustrated Buress and so many other people of color from the hip-hop generation. "He gets on TV, 'Pull your pants up, black people, I was on TV in the '80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!' Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby," ranted Buress.

This whole Brown Hornets fight sequence makes the 'Burly Brawl' from The Matrix Reloaded look like a thumb wrestling match.

"Sweet Bill's Badass Singalong Song," the Black Dynamite episode that pokes fun at Cosby's "Pound Cake"-era persona by imagining his '70s self as a shrill killjoy who schemes to replace blaxploitation movies with much more family-friendly entertainment, was written about a year before the Buress rant helped to turn the public against the once-beloved entertainer and now inevitable Law & Order: SVU episode subject. That's why "Sweet Bill's Badass Singalong Song" barely acknowledges the current rape scandals, although at the very last minute, episode co-writer Carl Jones was able to squeeze a couple of rape scandal references into the final cut (unlike the low-budget South Park, the much-more-expensive-to-animate Black Dynamite doesn't have the luxury of a fast turnaround). But the episode amusingly sheds light on how irritating and hypocritical Cosby's Bill O'Reilly-ish "Pull your pants up" persona has been, and it gives Cosby a lovely comeuppance--in the form of both a scolding and another kind of punishment (which I'll get into in a few seconds) from a frequently bleeped-out Moms Mabley, who's perfectly imitated by stand-up comic Luenell (you might remember her as the prostitute Borat marries at the end of Borat).

This episode is also quite a showcase for guest voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson (outside the recording booth, he frequently stole ABC's short-lived caper comedy The Knights of Prosperity from Donal Logue, but his greatest moment as a performer remains his guest shot as both an elderly Martin Luther King and a lisping bouncer who criticizes Huey's shoes on The Boondocks). He does impressive quintuple duty as Cosby, a bunch of nameless side characters and Melvin Van Peebles, who turns to Black Dynamite, his old friend from "the days of fucking," for help when Cosby's anti-blaxploitation scheme sabotages the filming of Van Peebles' new Jim Kelly/Pam Grier/Antonio Fargas/Rudy Ray Moore movie Blackity Black Black Black and then threatens to inflict on the public both the concept of reverse strip clubs (a marquee for a new reverse strip club reads, "Throw some clothes on deez hoes!") and a poorly cast primitive version of The Cosby Show called The Huxtables (Jim Kelly as Cockroach!). If you have to see one work of television this year that ends with Richardson hilariously voicing Cosby making gargling noises while being forced to orally pleasure Moms Mabley, make sure it's "Sweet Bill's Badass Singalong Song."

Today on Fat Albert, Rudy discovers strip clubs.

Memorable quotes:
* "As you know, there have been many great black films: Black Caesar, Blacula, Black on This Sucka!, You Blacked My Mama, Who You Callin' Black?, Get Black Jack, All That Black and the very popular Some of My Best Friends Are Black."

* Rudy Ray Moore, voiced by episode co-writer Byron Minns, a.k.a. Bullhorn: "I made Godzilla suck my dick while King Kong held the balls! I whupped a skyscraper's ass and made all the London Bridges fall!"

* Moms Mabley to Black Dynamite: "Why the long face, honey? You look like you lost your dick."

* Series composer Fatin "10" Horton briefly brings back the 2009 Black Dynamite film's old gag of song lyrics that describe everything that happens, during the Bill Withers parody "It's All Fucked Up Now": "It's all fucked up now they gone/'Cause the Cos took them away..."

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