Second Amendment supporters should give comic Jordan Klepper credit when it comes to the gun debate.
While some liberals insist they have no intention of taking away our guns, Klepper is more forthright. He wants them gone.
His new Comedy Central special, “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns,” makes that abundantly clear. What’s also obvious about the hour-long special? It’s hopelessly biased against the 2nd Amendment, the NRA and anyone who supports gun ownership in 2017.
Or, dumb red state types who cling to guns, Church (gasp!) and bald eagles. Because that’s what Klepper thinks of when he’s asked to identify with conservatives. Here’s betting the liberal bubble he calls home is bullet proof.
The production values are undoubtedly slick, even if the comedy dry spots are gargantuan. Klepper has solid comic timing and offers some choice ad-libbed comments. Too bad he’s deathly afraid of talking to someone savvy on the “other side” of the gun control debate.
The special, which aired June 11, is like a Whitman’s sampler of liberal bromides, misleading statistics and out and out bias. “Common sense” gun laws and “universal background checks” are mentioned repeatedly with no further details.
That’s not the biggest problem here.
At no point does Klepper let a smart, rationale gun rights expert counter the show’s battery of vague arguments and context-free statistics. Instead, we get some eccentric militia members and former Army Special Ops Soldier Pat McNamara. He’s a YouTube celebrity and a true character but he’s not prepped for a debate challenge. Or the show’s producers avoided that at all costs.
The best “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns” can do is deliver microscopic arguments to attack his case.
One pro-gun protesters shouts about how often gun massacres occur in gun-free zones. It’s never addressed beyond that 3 second sound bite. Isn’t that an important piece of the puzzle when you’re trying to stop the next gun massacre?
The “good guy with a gun” argument is cast aside without merit, even if the headlines say otherwise.
Klepper weaponizes the gun violence roiling Chicago as proof of how guns are harming the nation. Let unsaid? The city boasts some of the strictest gun control laws on the books.
The horrors of the Pulse nightclub attack last year are quickly brought up. Not mentioned? That it was a terrorist attack by a radical Islamist. Can’t get too angry about that omission. Even The Washington Post memory holed that inconvenient truth this week.
The host doesn’t mention culture as a reason for gun violence. Broken homes. Fatherless families. The kind of dysfunction that leads young people to consider gangs and the mayhem they leave behind.
Nothing funny there. Nor does that fit Klepper’s narrative. Guns are bad. End of story.
The special trots out Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist who turned against the organization with his book “Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist.”
Some of the comedy moments look good on paper. Take a “Bachelor” style spoof where Klepper hopes to woo one gun moderate to change his views on the subject.
Comic payoff? Nil.
The special’s sober through line? Attacking the NRA. It’s all that organization’s fault. The group lobbies too aggressively and spends too much money to be defeated. It employs “buttloads of fear” and “patriotic manipulation” to get the job done.
Never mentioned? The Brady Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety and Michael Bloomberg’s massive war chest supporting gun control initiatives.
Why, it’s like the special is being disingenuous on the subject.
We’re even treated to Klepper interviewing an expert on why some people just can’t change their minds on an issue. The host undergoes a brain scan complete with a naked butt shot for cheap comic effect.
The irony that he’s deathly afraid of hearing a sane soul on the other side of the issue, or changing his own mind, is lost on him. And the special.
Sen. Cory Booker is interviewed early in the show. The New Jersey Democrat wisely defends the Second Amendment while Klepper hopes to send it into the dustbin of history.
The show’s defenders might say that “Solves Guns” does let gun owners speak. Klepper indeed meets several of them, rubbing elbows and sharing small talk. At times it even marvels that they’re nice people.
Yet none of these guests are allowed to debunk his arguments or fully explain the NRA positions under constant assault. Even “Cousin Pete,” Klepper’s kin who pops up repeatedly in the special, isn’t offered a soapbox. He’s just a regular guy who likes guns.
He needs to be convinced how wrong his views are. Nothing less will do.
It hardly helps that Klepper might be the most smug comedian of the modern age. The fact that he repeatedly acknowledges that fact can’t change reality.