Chris Rock and a French TV show make the same Polanski joke in different ways

Chris Rock was on Jay Leno last week and used OJ as a reference point when talking about Roman Polanski:

People are defending Roman Polanski because he made some good movies. Are you kidding me? He made good movies, THIRTY YEARS AGO. Even Johnnie Cochran don't have the nerve to go, 'Well, did you see O.J. play against New England?'

Here's the clip:

Great stuff. This NY Times article on the Polanski case brings up a similar approach taken by a French TV show. The show takes the same basic concept (i.e. it's silly to think a crime is justifiable just because the accused happens to be a good artist or athlete) and bends it in a slightly different way...

“There is a generous America that we like,” [Frédéric Mitterrand, France's culture minister] said. “There is also a scary America that has just shown its face."...

Meanwhile, A popular French cable television satire, “Les Guignols de l’Info,” ridiculed Mr. Mitterrand. Recalling Chris Rock’s joke that O. J. Simpson would have been in jail years earlier if he had been “Orenthal the Bus Driving Murderer,” a puppet on the show depicting the French culture minister referred to “the Beast of the Bastille,” Guy Georges, who raped and murdered perhaps as many as 10 young women in the early 1990s. “If Guy Georges had directed ‘Citizen Kane,’” the minister-puppet said, “I would have let him out.”

Interesting to see the variation there in a joke that's making the same point. Different streams that still wind up in the same river.

Btw, the site Jezebel wrote about Rock's bit on Leno and said, "I'm amazed it took a comedian to say it outright." Really? You're amazed it took a comedian to say a truth that the rest of our culture isn't saying? Uh, start paying more attention to comedy.

I think Rock's bit comparing Sarah Palin to Michael Vick similarly nailed the truth in a way that wasn't being widely discussed in the media:

Maybe Rock isn't as consistent as he used to be. But man, when he's on, it's still awesome to watch.

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