Friday, August 31, 2018

A Breakdown of Who is America? Characters

Sacha Baron Cohen pretended to be six characters on Who Is America? Some fared better than others. Here I grade the characters on whether their sketches hit or miss and if it hit, how well did it do. If a sketch hits, it can receive as many as four points and as little as one. I use a baseball analogy, one I'm sure the British Cohen would surely appreciate, so a one-point sketch is a single, while a 4-point sketch is a homerun (HR).

The number of comedy hits versus the number of sketches the character is in is his comedy average (cavg) and the total points divided by sketches is his comedy slugging percentage (cslg). I've also include the number of HRs each character was in.

6) Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr.
.143 cavg; .143 cslg; 0 HRs

I like the Ruddick character in theory and the intro to his sketches are funny, but he struckout nearly every time. Bernie Sanders (Ep.1), NIH Director Francis Collins (Ep. 6), and Jill Stein (Ep. 6) came across as polite and knowledgeable in their interviews with Dr. Ruddick to little or no comedic effect. There was a lot of potential with Corey Lewandowski (Ep. 5), but Ruddick kept going a little too far and it made him look like a halfway sane man. Ted Koppel (Ep. 2) and Howard Dean (Ep. 6) were indignant, but not in a funny way. The only hit was Barney Frank (Ep. 7) and his indignation; Ruddick essentially played the straight man and let Frank's reaction take over. Still, the interview was only goo enough for a single.

5) Nira Cain-N'Degeocello
.333 cavg; .833 cslg; 1 HR

I thought Nira was funnier, but the numbers say otherwise. Too often, Cain-N'Degeocello said outlandish things and people reacted with grace. The South Carolina Republican couple (Ep. 1) Bone Krusher (Ep. 3) come to mind. That Utah Republican (Ep. 4) was less understanding, but he didn't take the bait that would've made that interview a success. The battle rap (Ep. 3) was had a feel-good moment when the one halfway decent line that Cain-N'Degeocello landed got some love, but it wasn't particularly funny.

When he gave birth (Ep. 6), that was funny for how much the guy believed it and there were some funny lines, but only enough for a single. The Arizona town hall was a homerun. The townspeople';s bigotry came shining through and Cain-N'Degeocello did a great job of trying to spin it to something more tolerant at which point the locals doubled and tripled down.

4) OMGWhizzboyOMG
1.000 cavg; 1.333 cslg; 0 HR

This character has been panned by the critics, but I like him. Yes, Joe Arpaio (Ep. 4), David Clark (Ep. 5), and Jan Brewer (Ep. 6) have said crazier things. But he still got Clark to say he would be against anti-fascists in 1930s Germany, and Brewer to allow a homicidal Shopkin to have a semi-automatic weapon. Sheriff Joe said that he would accept various sexual acts from the president, which was a double in my book.

3) Rick Sherman
.667 cavg; 1.667 cslg; 0 HR

I'm surprised Sherman, ranked so highly. I didn't really like the character and his introduction (Ep. 1). Yes, an art dealer gave him her pube, but otherwise, she seemed like a gentle understanding person during the piece and my sympathies were with her. Sherman then went after a better targets and scored better. DJ Jake Inphamous (Ep. 5) loved Sherman's bizarre musical set and so did his nightclub, which was good enough for a double. Get a faux food critic (Ep. 6) to wax poetic after eating sausage he believed was softened in a man's anus and thanking the family of the Chinese dissident her had just eaten was almost a homerun.

2) Gio Monaldo
1.000 cavg; 2.500 cslg; 2 HRs

Gio's success also surprised me. After an underwhelming start, pranking a former Bachelor contestant (Ep. 2), a skit that was funny in spots for the contestant's desire for fame but made me a bit uncomfortable, Gio came back strong. After exposing a yacht dealer's desperation to make a sale, Gio hit two homers by getting Mahbod Moghadam to hilariously show his racial prejudice and by punking O.J.

1) Erran Morad
1.000 cavg; 3.000 cslg; 5 HRs

Conservatives are apparently quite trusting of a former Israeli Mossad, I mean not the Mossad, agent. when it comes to terrorism. The Colonel was the funniest character by far. His weakest sketch was with Roy Moore (Ep. 3), still funny just for the fact that he used a fake pedophile director on him. Dick Cheney (Ep. 2), the anti-Muslim office demonstration, and the Real Housewives sit were good enough for 3 doubles.

Morad had more homers than all the other characters combined. The quinceanera (Ep. 3), Guns For Kids (Ep. 1), the courses with Dan Roberts (Ep. 5), Jason Spencer (Ep. 2), and the Liberal contest and women's march infiltration (Ep. 7) were the homeruns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Power Rankings of World Leaders

Here's the new power rankings of world leaders. The last one was posted on July 24.

Rank Leader Country Previous Rank
1 Xi Jiangping China 1
2 Vladimir Putin Russia 2
3 Kim Jong-un North Korea 3
4 Ali Khamenei Iran 4
5Moon Jae-in South Korea Not Ranked
6 Mohammad bin Salman Saudi Arabia Not Ranked
7Abiy Ahmed Ethiopia 8
8Donald Trump United States 10
9 Justin Trudeau Canada Not Ranked
10Imran Khan Pakistan Not Ranked

1. The escalating trade war with the U.S. isn't helping too many people, but between the Belt and Road Initiative and the U.S.'s withdrawal from a position of dominance on the global stage, Xi has China in position of preeminent influence.

2. After making Donald Trump look like a Kremlin stooge in last month's U.S.-Russia summit, the Russian dictator had Trump inviting him to the White House. Even the American Director of National Intelligence was flabbergasted by that invitation.

3. Kim has been one step ahead of the U.S. since Trump took office. He dictates the game. He continues to send overtures of peace to South Korea, but only on his terms.

4. The Trump administration's hardline policy on Iran has served two purposes for Ayatollah Khamenei. It marginalizes moderates such as President Hassan Rouhani and provides a foil in the U.S. as anti-government protests persist.

5. The scene of long-separated Korean families reuniting, even if just for a few hours, was moving. President Moon helped to make that happen and he just might usher in an era of peace on the Korean peninsula. His legacy depends on it.

6. MbS has now picked a fight with Canada after the country's government called out his arrests of women activists. The Saudis tweeted out a 9-11 type threat against Canada on top of other symbolic gestures. It's like if Pharma Bro was the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. MbS runs his foreign policy like Trump if Trump had no checks or balances and was the least bit competent.

7. Besides finding peace with Eritrea and overseeing one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Ahmed is opening up space towards a free media.

8. Trump is reimagining American foreign policy as he cozies up to strongmen and distances his country from its traditional alliances. He's asked some interesting questions about America's involvement in far off civil wars and the cost of maintaining a military presence in over half of the world's countries. But those moments of lucidity seem accidental. For the most part, Trump has dealt with each foreign policy issue as if it were in a vacuum. It doesn't help his standing that his former campaign manager was convicted of fraud and his former attorney signed a plea agreement today.

9. Trudeau was in a spat with MbS and came out looking good by standing up for human rights. After a stunning rise onto the global stage, Trudeau has had his setbacks. This bizarre kerfuffle is the first start to redemption for Trudeau.

10. No one really knows where Iran Khan stands. The Aaron Burr of Pakistan has promised to root out corruption and set out a vision for peace with India. Whether the new prime minister can follow through on these promises is another thing. But, for now, the charismatic leader is saying the right things. And, perhaps more importantly, he's someone new.