What Went Wrong This Week For … Revisionist History

Scaachi Koul is a senior writer at BuzzFeed Canada, formerly the managing editor of Hazlitt. Her debut collection of essays, The Pursuit of...

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Welcome to Well, That Sucked, our weekly compendium of exactly what it sounds like. Thrown in this week’s garbage: trying to make not-funny history funny.

Okay, which one of you assholes gave Russell Simmons a YouTube channel? Was it you? Who did it? Just tell us. Save us all the time of dealing with it and come forward and we can put the whole thing behind us. Well, once you have been punished accordingly, at least.

Earlier this week, somebody uploaded something to Simmons’ All Def Digital YouTube channel called “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape,” in which—get this—Tubman and another slave conspire to make a sex tape with her and her master. There isn’t a lot more to say than that, but I have to fill out about 700 words here, so …

So! Harriet Tubman sex tape. Hoo boy. How about that? Surely there was some sort of logic or thought process or assumption of comedic significance involved that led us to this point, but I … it’s just … Christ, I don’t know. Am I not doing the right drugs? How many drugs should I be doing? Are LSD-laced cookies a thing? Do you know where I can get some? What do I need to ingest if I want to walk this path? Do I need any of Dave Chappelle’s blood to do this? If you see him, can you please ask Dave Chappelle how much of his blood I can have?

Anyway. The video has since been taken down, but this is the Internet and nothing is really ever gone, which is why someone, somewhere is looking at the Geocities site I made in seventh grade dedicated to Orlando Bloom and his smooth, flat chest right now.

Simmons, for his part, has apologized, but maybe the fault lies with us, since he is a notoriously hilarious guy. I mean, I generally don’t feel great about watching an actress play Harriet Tubman while humping a white slave owner, but Simmons was just making a joke. He’s good at jokes! Remember in 2012 when he supported Dennis Kucinich, publicly? Or yesterday, when he held an honorary dinner and housewarming for members of his Foundation for Ethnic Understanding? And then he received a plaque from the City of Los Angeles for his work with, again, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding? Great jokes. Someone give this man more awards.

But if you thought Harriet Tubman getting biz-ay was funny, just wait until you watch this video of a clown guiding children into a gas chamber in Auschwitz. Footage from the unseen 1972 movie The Day the Clown Cried recently became available online. It’s a movie that even Jerry Lewis, its star and President of the He-Man Women Haters Club, knew was objectionable.

The movie was never released, and here’s why: The story is about a German clown named Helmut Doork who gets sent to a concentration camp for making fun of Hitler. (rookie mistake). There, he entertains Jewish children and is promised possible freedom. When he realizes that the children will be killed, he decides to sacrifice himself by leading them into the gas chamber, laughing and hyucking all the way.

The Day the Clown Cried is so wrong, in fact, that Jack Abramoff was backing a remake of it in the early ‘90s. If a movie about a clown hanging out in a concentration camp needs anything, it’s a guy who is unironically dressed like the black agent from Spy vs. Spy.

A modest proposal: Stop trying to squeeze humour out of things that are not and never will be funny—a list that includes, but is not limited to: most things related to slavery; everything related to slaves having sex with slave owners; Holocaust clowns; clowns in general. The only other option I can think of is to take away everyone’s Internet. Besides, you know that somewhere online, someone made a video of people jumping out of the World Trade Center, set to “It’s Raining Men” oh wait here it is Jesus god just take me now.

All of which is to say, please keep an eye on my Vine account for my new series of historical videos, “Dead War Criminals Twerking To Air Supply.” You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! I dare you not to get a boner.

Well, That Sucked appears every Friday.


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