Remember The Three Stooges? Moe, Larry, and Curley performed vaudeville and acted in one-reel comedy shorts for Columbia Pictures back in the 1930s. They had their detractors, but most of the stage- and movie-watching public found them hilarious.
A new trio of Stooges made its comedic debut recently at the Nelson Mandela Memorial Service. The leader of the act is Barack Obama, who demonstrated a genuine flair for the absurd with his mugging for selfies at such an otherwise solemn event. The warm-up spot was ably filled with the inspired choice of a sign-language interpreter signing gibberish. Fun stuff, if only for the hearing impaired. The New Three Stooges performed to global front-page reviews. Barack flashed his white-toothed grin, while his two compadres were masterful as the brainless bimbo and the Big Bang New-Cool Nerd. Along the way they did a hilarious impression of three world leaders: the President of the United States, and the Prime Ministers of Holland and Great Britain. The thankless straight-person's role was played by Michelle Obama, who did a commendable job of looking pissed as hell at the idiotic proceedings.
The selection of Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service as the choice of venue to debut a comedy act in the first place has drawn its share of criticism. Some consider the entire episode an egregious example of unacceptable bad taste in media, a la Miley Cyrus and her reptile- like protruding tongue. Experts in the art of comedy, however, are quick to point out that contrast heightens comedic effect, and no greater contrast can be made than between legendary statesman Mandela, and these three grinning buffoons. The only thing missing from their repertoire is the Triple-Face-Slap made famous by the Original Stooges. Michelle Obama looked ready to deliver one, but for some reason held back. We sincerely wish she hadn't.