Brown Pants: The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Seen in Person

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

In my life, I’ve had a great many truly memorable experiences. I’ve spent time with Muhammad Ali, a man who was – for probably 20 years of his life – the most famous man in the world. I watched my favorite band, R.E.M., play the last song they ever played together on a public stage – and that stage happened to be Carnegie Hall. I saw Wayne Gretzky have a five point game and John Elway throw four touchdowns. I’ve seen a platypus in the wild.

Nothing I’ve ever seen has stayed with me like watching from the gallery as the House of Representatives voted to expel Rep. Jim Traficant (D-OH) in July of 2002 (for bribery, racketeering and tax evasion). It wasn’t the somber mood or gravity of the occasion that I recall. It’s one portion of Traficant’s farewell speech that stuck with me – a story he tells. It was the single funniest thing I’ve ever heard. I’ve probably thought about it at least once a week since I heard it a decade ago.

Watch the video here. The funny story begins at 1:38 and goes to about 3:05.

The best part was watching members of Congress slowly get it and then put their heads down trying not to laugh while Traficant pauses for comedic timing and, to a dead silent room, said “think about it.”

Beam me up…

Drew Johnson



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15 Responses to “Brown Pants: The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Seen in Person”

  1. #1 |  noseeum | 

    Here’s a funny story: Editor accuses politician of quid pro quo, an offense punishable by jail. Politician writes letter to the editor demanding a retraction and defending his vote. Editor writes guest blog post trying to convince readers that politician is terrifyingly squelching free speech. Readers balk and tell him he’s nuts. Editor deletes guest blog post.

    Now THAT’s a funny story.

  2. #2 |  karl | 

    Yup. That’s funnier than Traficant’s story. But it’s not funnier than his hair.

  3. #3 |  Mark Z. | 

    I’ve had a great many truly memorable experiences. I’ve spent time with Muhammad Ali, a man who was – for probably 20 years of his life – the most famous man in the world. I watched my favorite band, R.E.M., play the last song they ever played together on a public stage – and that stage happened to be Carnegie Hall.

    Oh, Drew, I love it when you name-drop.

    I was hoping that after you memory-holed your last post, you’d spend some time reflecting on your sins. Maybe say a few Our Fathers, or sit on a mountaintop in the rain for a night. But no, you’re back to regale us with the notable* things that other people have done in your presence. Or at least to talk about where you were sitting at the time, and then link to the video of someone else telling a funny story.

    Let’s talk about the funniest thing I’ve ever watched a video on the Internet of someone else watching a video of and talking about. It was during the debate on the health care bill, when Barbara Boxer got up on the Senate floor and retold a joke that she (or more likely one of her staff) had seen on The Daily Show. The joke relied on physical comedy, which Boxer had to narrate. Jon Stewart then showed the footage of the original joke, and then of Boxer stumbling through her retelling of it, and then Boxer explaining the joke, and what it had to do with the health care bill, and then Jon showed a mock advertisement for a 12-hour DVD collection titled Senator Barbara Boxer Meanders Through “The Daily Show” Like One Of Your Mom’s Friends. And now I’ve just narrated that joke to you, building another tier on this ziggurat of weird meta-comedy.

    All of which is to say: if you’re going to tell a story about an interesting thing someone else did, strive to make the story itself interesting. “You had to be there” is not a punchline.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    * in the Monday Night Football color-commentary sense, where “the most field goals ever kicked in the first half of a game by a team from the Midwest, since 1986” counts as notable

  4. #4 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Well, it’s not entirely memory-holed. It will be in cache for a while:

    I could always pastebin the text version with more of the comments preserved, as well. Some were rather entertaining.

  5. #5 |  Bronwyn | 

    You had me at R.E.M.
    And now I’m all choked up.

  6. #6 |  delurking | 

    I would appreciate it if you would replace the post about Lamar Alexander. There were comments there that I didn’t get a chance to read. Also, I don’t appreciate being censored by someone who complained that a letter to the editor is an outrageous attempt to silence critics.

  7. #7 |  La Rana | 

    So apparently if you complain that Drew Johnson is making deliberately misleading accusations he will either accuse you of attempting to censor him, or attempt himself to censor you!

    Whats the next rung on the internet asshat ladder? sock-puppetry? Outing anonymous commenters?

  8. #8 |  noseeum | 

    Seriously, Mr. Johnson, you cannot high jack a blog all day with a post like that, allow it to accumulate 30 responses, most of which disagree with you, and then just delete it as if it never happened, especially when your post is arguing about free speech and censorship.

    If after reading the responses you decided perhaps you over reacted to Mr. Alexander that’s fine. Leave the post up and update it.

    If you disagree with us that’s fine too. Leave the post and update it with your reasoning.

    If perhaps someone else removed it or asked you to remove it, that explanation would suffice as well.

    But pretending it never happened? I don’t get it.

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The Lamar Alexander post/deletion issue is very good as performance art. Let’s agree that is what it was. Well played.

  10. #10 |  Christopher Swing | 

    I can fix it up to comment #22:

    I didn’t manage to have the page up with any comments beyond that before Johnson deleted it.

  11. #11 |  CB | 

    >Nothing I’ve ever seen has stayed with me like watching
    >from the gallery as the House of Representatives…

    Hmm. Really? Yeah–guess you had to have been there!

  12. #12 |  Christopher Swing | 

    I guess Johnson also (eventually) figured out that using The Agitator for his own personal gain was bad behavior for a guest:

    Though I would have hoped someone would know that *before* they went ahead and did it.

    (Besides, there’s a Daily Caller piece now predictably spinning the story just the way Johnson would like them to, so now he doesn’t need to sully this blog’s rep doing it himself.)

  13. #13 |  gill | 

    Hey that’s my joke. Except I tell it as follows:
    Back 100 years, or so, ago the British and French were having one of their wars and the French captured an English Officer. When they brought him in for interrogation the French officer said, “Before we begin, I have to ask you. Why do you wear the red coats as it makes you easy targets”. The British Officer replied, “We wear the red coats in order that our men will not become disheartened if we are wounded during battle”. And from that day forward, to this very day, the French have worn brown pants into battle.

  14. #14 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    gill: France lost over a million men in World War I. As a percentage of their population, their death toll was among the worst. They fought and died just like everyone else in that war. I’m sure there was plenty of blood on their uniforms.

  15. #15 |  gill | 

    It’s a joke! Besides, it is the French we are talking about. I have heard that they are selling a collection of vintage WWII rifles. They have never been fired and they have only been dropped once.