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The Death of a Comic

We need to laugh more. The Bible says laughter is good medicine. It really is. That’s why we love comics so much. I grew up watching The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show with my parents every week. I still love the classics: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Leave It to Beaver, Get Smart, and that “it really makes you think classic,” The Three Stooges.

Yep, we love our comedy and we love our comics.

That’s what makes this day in history so sad. It was nine years ago today – it’s hard to believe it’s been that long – that George Carlin died. The 71-year-old comedian died of heart failure.

Carlin made his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1962. He became known as a clean-cut, conventional comic. But around 1970, that all changed.

Carlin reinvented himself as one who disdained all things conventional. He became a biting critic and commentator in a successful effort to appeal to a younger crowd. In 1973, the FCC held the comic’s famous routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” to be “indecent,” and the FCC order banning its broadcast was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

This did not curtail Carlin’s rise to fame. In 1975, he was the first guest host on Saturday Night Live. Two years later, he starred in the first of a series of 14 comedy specials for HBO. Carlin continued to perform his HBO specials and his live comedy gigs into the early 21st century.

No, Carlin’s brand of humor wasn’t to my liking. He became too distasteful for me – and millions of others. But he always had his following, and it was a loyal following, to be sure.

Why? Because we need to laugh. Even if what we are laughing at isn’t that funny, even if it’s rather crude – we still need to laugh.

So, while I don’t miss the comedy of George Carlin, I do miss what he brought a generation of Americans. He brought what we need now more than ever. He brought laughter.

The Rushmore Report: Lessons from Tiger Wood’s Latest Failure

Early Sunday morning, Tiger Woods was arrested for driving under the influence. Fifteen hours later, he issued a statement in an attempt to save face. Following the incident 30 miles from his home in Jupiter, Florida, Woods said that alcohol was not involved, and that his condition resulted from “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.” I see four lessons from Tiger’s latest fall from grace.

First, let’s consider his statement. Woods said, “I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.” Woods then apologized to his fans and pledged to “do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.” He closed his statement by thanking the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

So what are we to make of this latest event in the life of the man who sat atop the world golf rankings longer than any player in history? On the plus side, Woods has been a great father and perhaps the most driven and successful golfer who ever picked up a set of clubs.

On the down side, Woods is an admitted sex addict who was unfaithful to his wife through the entirety of their marriage. Add to that previous DUI arrests and huge anger problems, and you have one complicated man.

Tossing the latest failure into the mix, I offer a few observations.

1. Tiger is more like us than we may like to admit.

Tiger Woods was unfaithful to his wife. So are most married men. On occasion, Tiger drinks too much. So does about half of the American population. Tiger is consumed with personal achievement. So are most of us. Tiger Woods has personal struggles. So do we all.

2. There is one big difference between Tiger Woods and most of us.

Here it is – Tiger lives his life on the public stage. I can’t imagine what this must be like. There are three groups of people. There are those who live in total anonymity. Then there are public figures who can retreat to places of anonymity when they so choose. And then there are public figures who are so well known that there is no place to hide. Tiger Woods falls into that category.

3. Life is about what happens after the fall.

Muhammad Ali, the greatest athlete who ever lived (in my humble opinion) famously said, “What matters is not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up.” Tiger Woods has been knocked down more times than any of us can possibly know. He has been knocked down by physical injuries, the loss of his best friend and dad, a failed marriage, addiction, and countless personal flaws. But in life, as with his golf game, he keeps swinging. Last week, he vowed (again) to return to the game that made him famous and wildly successful. It seems that no injury, no personal failure, and no mistake – regardless how great – can keep Tiger down. For that he deserves great credit.

4. God is about redemption.

One of the most poignant things any of us can say, when contemplating tossing rocks Tiger’s way is this – “If not for the grace of God that could be me.” Your failures are probably not Tiger’s failures. But you have failures he does not have. The closer to God I get, the further away I realize I still am. And the more I recognize my own faults, the less I see faults in others. Life is about redemption.

Tiger Woods’ life is an open book. And it is an interesting book. But make no mistake. It is a book whose final chapter has yet to be written.

The Rushmore Report: CNN’s Sad, Shocking Response to Repugnant Display by Kathy Griffin

Tuesday, liberal comedian Kathy Griffin posted a photo of herself holding up a bloody head resembling President Donald Trump, reminiscent of ISIS holding up the heads of beheaded Christians. When criticized for her repulsive action, her initial response was self-defense. “I’m a comic,” she said. While her action has received near-universal condemnation, it is the response of CNN, for whom she hosts the annual New Year’s Eve show, that is both sad and shocking.

Before we get to CNN, let’s consider the response of both friend and foe. Debra Messing said, “What Kathy did is not right.” Chelsea Clinton went further, calling the display “vile and wrong.”

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney tweeted, “Our politics have become too base, too low, and too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin’s post descends into an even more repugnant and vile territory.” And Donald Trump, Jr. wrote, “Disgusting but not surprising. This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine that a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?”

What makes Griffin’s actions most disturbing is that they were premeditated. She took the time to pose for the photo, then post it. She knew exactly what was coming. And this was not out of character for the comedian.

At the Emmy Awards a few years ago, Griffin said this in her acceptance speech. “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.” Then she said, “Suck it, Jesus. This is my God now!” referring to the Emmy.

Still, CNN continued to pay Griffin ungodly amounts of money for her ungodly hate speech. Never did they (nor any other liberal leaders) condemn her “Suck it, Jesus” comment.

Now, back to CNN’s sad, shocking response to the Donald Trump ISIS/headless display. Having had 24 hours to consider their response and plans to keep Griffin or replace her on their huge New Year’s Eve program, this was CNN’s initial, official response . . .

“We found what she did disgusting and offensive. We are pleased to see she has apologized and asked that the photos be taken down. We are evaluating our New Year’s Eve coverage and have made no decisions at this point.”

Are you kidding me? Evaluating? No decisions at this point? 

Imagine that Dennis Miller, conservative comedian and frequent guest on Fox News Channel, had done the exact same thing to President Obama while he was in office. Imagine Dennis Miller holding up an apparent severed head of Obama as a joke. Imagine the universal outrage. And then imagine Fox making the same statement that CNN made. “We are evaluating Dennis Miller’s actions. We are evaluating keeping him on our most watched program of the year. No decisions have been made at this point.”

CNN, what “decision” is there to be made? Kathy Griffin’s vile demonstration was planned and executed exactly as intended. While her apology (issued only after universal outrage) was a good thing, it certainly didn’t erase what she had done.

CNN may fire Griffin from their New Year’s Eve show. I’m guessing they will, simply out of fear of losing sponsors. They may announce her dismissal before this article is even posted. But to wait 24 hours to “evaluate” her status tells you all you need to know.

Actions have consequences. Unless you are a liberal comedian working for CNN.

FBI Declassifies J. Edgar Hoover’s Extensive File on the Munsters

I just read this story online, so it must be true . . .

Unsealing the dossier after nearly 50 years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation declassified former director J. Edgar Hoover’s extensive file on the Munster family, sources confirmed Monday. “Those 3,600 documents reveal that the California monster family were of significant interest to J. Edgar Hoover during his extrajudicial intelligence-gathering campaigns,” said Andrew Jewett, an American History professor at Harvard, adding that from 1964-66 the FBI chief had obtained numerous tapes of the Munsters and instructed federal agents to transcribe all conversations of the 1313 Mockingbird Lane residents. “According to multiple letters to officials, Hoover suspected that Munster family patriarch Vladimir Dracula, or ‘Grandpa’ was a communist working in his dungeon laboratory to develop chemical weapons to use on American soldiers and civilians. He was also convinced they were using the tower at Munster Mansion to send coded messages to either the Soviets or radical dissident political groups.” Several documents also reportedly showed that Hoover had directed FBI agents to follow the Munster Koach and to recruit neice Marilyn Munster as an informant.

So there you go. Apparently, the Munsters were spies. My faith in Herman, Lily, and Eddie is forever tainted.

On second thought, I’m going to choose to remember the Munsters the way I did as a child. I loved that old show. Every day after school I watched The Munsters reruns. I had friends who favored the Addams Family. Not me. I’ll take Grandpa over Lurch any day.

Childhood memories are a good thing. As I get older, those are the only memories I still have! What about you? Take a few minutes today and think back over the good times you enjoyed as a child. Will it give you a special spiritual boost or make you more successful? I’m not sure. But it will put a smile on your face. And in today’s world, that’s something.

The Rushmore Report: Tim Allen Compares Hollywood to Nazi Germany

Tim Allen, conservative actor and star of the recently canceled television series Last Man Standing, compared Hollywood to Nazi Germany due to what he says is an intolerant liberal bias. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Allen explained that “you’ve gotta be real careful” in Hollywood when espousing a conservative viewpoint. “You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes. This is like ’30s Germany.”

“I don’t know what happened. If you’re not part of the group, ‘You know what we believe is right,’ I go, ‘Well, I might have a problem with that.’ I’m a comedian, I like going on both sides.”

Famous for having the lead role in the 1990s series Home Improvement, Allen’s comments come not long after his latest television program was canceled after six seasons.

Last week, ABC announced that they canceled Last Man Standing though it was a steady performer in the ratings. The program was generally viewed as having a conservative message to its content.

While other, more liberal shows were also discontinued by ABC, many looked at the refusal to grant Last Man Standing a seventh season as suspicious and possibly an attack on conservatives.

“If comedy ‘remains a priority’ for the network, as it said on Tuesday’s call, why would it cancel its second-highest rated comedy series?” asked Breitbart.com.

“Is there any other show in history that has not only retained its audience but has beaten most other comedies of its type that has been canceled as abruptly? Ever?”

Others, however, including one column on The Daily Banter, argue that the decision to cancel Allen’s show had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with good business practice.

“According to Vox, the show was getting increasingly expensive with each season, and it was popular with audience members over 50, which isn’t the most profitable advertising demographic,” read the column.

“On top of that, ABC’s recent acquisition of American Idol blew a sizable hole through their programming budget and schedule forcing them to ax several other shows as well.”

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said they had to make “tough calls” and “cancel shows that we’d otherwise love to stay on the air.”

“Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me because it was a steady performer in the ratings. But once we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Friday, that was where we landed,” he said.

Several online petitions were created demanding that the show be returned for a seventh season, including one on change.com that as of Monday afternoon had over 380,000 signatories.

“I will no longer be watching any ABC shows. I have canceled the DVR settings for the other ABC shows that I regularly watch. If you want to help try to save Last Man Standing, I encourage you to do the same,” read the petition.

About the Author

Michael Gryboski is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: First Grammy Awards – This Day in 1959

The Grammy Awards have become an American institution. But it hasn’t always been that way. There was a time when there was no such thing as the Grammy Awards. That all changed on this day in history – 58 years ago. Televised by ABC, hosted by Mort Sahl, and held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the awards night recognized musical accomplishments for 1958. Let’s have fun – these were the winners.

Record of the Year – Domenico Modugno for Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu

Album of the Year – Henry Mancini for The Music from Peter Gunn

Song of the Year – Domenico Modugno for Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu

Best Recording for Children – Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. for The Chipmunk Song

Best Country & Western Performance – The Kingston Trio for Tom Dooley

Best Jazz Performance – Ella Fitzgerald for The Duke of Ellington Songbook

Best Album Cover – Frank Sinatra for Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely

Best Vocal Performance – Perry Como for Catch a Falling Star

Best Performance by a Dance Band – Count Basie for Basie

 

The Rushmore Report: Ailing Glen Campbell Says ‘Adios’

Glen Campbell announced plans to release his final studio album, six years after the country singer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “Adios” will cap off the singer’s more than five-decade long career and will include songs Campbell has always wanted to share but never got around to recording. So it is fitting that the 80-year-old star would offer his final good-bye his way – through the music Americans have enjoyed for generations.

Campbell recorded “Adios” in Nashville following the 2012 “Goodbye Tour” which he embarked on after he was first diagnosed with this dreaded disease.

“Glen’s ability to play, sing, and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011,” the singer’s wife Kim Campbell said in a press release. “A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never.”

The 12-track album will include songs from Campbell’s longtime collaborator Jimmy Webb and a new version of his famous song “Postcard from Paris” with Campbell’s children Cal, Shannon, and Ashley singing the line, “I wish you were here.”

“What you’re hearing when listening to ‘Adios’ is the beautiful and loving culmination of friends and family doing their very best for the man who inspired, raised, and entertained them for decades – giving him the chance to say one last goodbye to his fans, and put one last amazing collection of songs onto the record store shelves,” Kim said.

Campbell’s health has deteriorated greatly since his 2011 diagnosis. His wife revealed in March that the singer can no longer play guitar and struggles to sing.

Kim continued, “Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God. That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone.”

The Rushmore Report: Tony Romo – ‘This Matters More than Football’

It was a sad day for football fans across America – a day few saw coming. Tuesday, the 14-year veteran of the Dallas Cowboys announced his retirement from the NFL. With the Houston Texans standing in the wings, offering Romo the chance of a Super Bowl which has eluded him all these years, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is leaving the football field to be an analyst for CBS.

What drove his decision? Why would Tony Romo step away from the game he loves so much when his best shot at football’s ultimate prize was right in front of him? Playing for the Texans was tempting, he said. But there is one thing that matters more to Tony Romo than football.

Tony Romo believes in God. In fact, he says that many of his life’s deepest struggles are what caused him to turn to Christ as his Savior. But he hasn’t always been so strong in his faith.

Antonio Ramiro “Tony” Romo was born on April 21, 1980. He was raised in a military family and became active in sports at a young age. He was active in church, but did not surrender his life to Christ until he was in college. Romo says, “I grew up in church, in Sunday School. But I had never known how to give myself over to the Lord. You could say, I never thought deeply about it. To me, Jesus was Santa in some ways.”

While playing at Eastern Illinois University, Romo realized God had been trying to get his attention. In college, he became a true disciple of Christ. He says, “I had never known how to give myself over to the Lord. I remember in college a few people talking about their faith in Jesus Christ. It was then that I became a real believer. It was so freeing to finally know that someone other than me was sovereign over my life and I could rest in that.”

Reflecting back on his career, the Cowboy record-holder says, “I’d love to say that my life was magically perfect after I came to the Lord, but it doesn’t work that way. You still sin, it’s still hard. But I keep getting back up and praying and asking for forgiveness and keep my faith. And he gives me peace.”

Romo is a family man, married to 2008 Miss Missouri USA Candice Crawford. He told reporters, “I think one of the most important things you’re going to do in your life is hopefully be a spiritual leader of your family.”

As for his future, Romo says, “I want to let people know I feel blessed. I don’t want to squander a gift that’s been given to me to do this. I want to give back the way the Lord intended when he allowed me to have these abilities.”

So after an exciting 14-year NFL career, Tony Romo is retiring. He is leaving the game he loves so much in pursuit of the one thing he loves even more – his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

As a Houston Texans fan, I’m bummed. But as a follower of Jesus Christ, I get it. And I’ll be rooting for Tony Romo more now than ever.

The Rushmore Report: Selena Gomez Goes Public with Her Faith

Pop star Selena Gomez took a break from her busy schedule to watch one of her favorite pastors, Judah Smith, preach a sermon that inspired her to quote the Apostle Paul. “Today, I watched a sermon from one of my favorites,” the young pop star wrote in her Instagram page. She capped off her pastor shout-out by sharing a Bible verse with her legion of fans. It’s found in Romans 7:15.

She quoted, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

The 24-year-old didn’t explain why she chose that verse to go along with her post about the Los Angeles-based City Church pastor, but many of her fans said they were encouraged by her public display of faith.

“Wow, bless you for being a Christian in Hollywood, must be difficult,” one comment read. Others questioned whether or not she was talking about regret over her past relationship with Justin Bieber or her new boyfriend, The Weeknd, but she did not respond.

This was not the first time Gomez put her faith on public display. Last year she surprised fans at Hillsong Church’s Young & Free Revival Concert in Los Angeles when she sang an original worship song for the first time.

“I got to perform my first worship song I ever wrote. So grateful for His grace and understanding,” she posted.

In a world where it is politically correct to defend radical Islam and rebuke mainstream Christianity, it is refreshing to have a young star such as Selena Gomez share her love for Christ from the midst of a thoroughly secular pop culture.

Good job, Selena! May others be emboldened to follow your example!

The Rushmore Report: Rising Conservative Star Tomi Lahren Suspended for Pro-Choice Comments

Tomi Lahren has become the biggest media star among young conservatives. Her daily blogs and appearance on The Blaze have attracted millions of rabid followers. With weekly appearances on such Fox News shows as Hannity and The O’Reilly Factor, she has given voice to a new generation of conservatism. Lahren has become a conservative darling – until now.

Tomi was suspended by The Blaze for one week following the controversy that swirled around her expression of an unsuspected pro-choice position in an interview on The View.

Her comments brought immediate condemnation from Glenn Beck, founder of The Blaze. He found Lahren’s comments offensive to the conservative cause. In her own defense, Lahren said it was hypocritical to be both pro-life and for limited government.

Lahren, age 24, is a big supporter of President Trump. Her exact words on The View: “I’m someone that is for limited government, so I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government, but I think that the government should decide what women do with their bodies.”

She added, “Stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”

She later clarified on Twitter that she does not advocate for abortion, but maintained her pro-choice stance despite criticism.

Beck, who is a Mormon, offered his views in an article on Monday, explaining that he very much believes that one can be both pro-life and for limited government.

“The founders were really, really clear. The preamble of the constitution clearly states to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Well, who are our posterity, if not our unborn children and grandchildren and great grandchildren?” he wrote.

Nicole Russell echoed those views when writing for The Federalist, when she said that limited government is not the same as no government and anarchy, where there are no laws.

Russell argued that legalized abortion “enables the powerful (grownups) to prey on the weak (unborn babies). This kind of predatory tyranny is exactly what a constitutionally limited government that guarantees equal fundamental human rights to all is supposed to prevent.”

Lahren responded to the suspension in a series of Tweets, some jokingly. “So I’ve got some ‘me’ time tonight. Anything good on TV?”

In another Tweet, she wrote, “This life can be lonely. Thank you to those on all sides of the political spectrum – for your support. Agree or disagree, it means the world to me.”

Despite Tomi’s success – she has 4.3 million followers on her Facebook page alone – there have been rumors that she might be cut from The Blaze altogether, as there are rising tensions between her and other hosts.

About the Author

Stoyan Zaimov is a writer for The Christian Post.