Bad Comedy Gone Worse

« January 2007 »

Memo to the Morning Rave crew: YOU ARE DUMB.

I hate this story. I hate it in every way you can hate a story. Because it features three of the things I hate the most in this world. In hate order, those things are console shortages, tragic death, and morning DJ's.

If you haven't heard the story, it happened in Sacramento, and it's awful. A drive-time radio show held one of its stupid contests. The prize was a Nintendo Wii. And the name of the contest was "Hold Your Wee For A Wii". The contestants kept drinking water, and whoever peed last got the game system.

Jennifer Lea Strange entered the contest to win a Wii for her three kids. She placed second, and was found dead later that day. The cause of death was "water intoxication", which means that you drink too much water and your brain swells up and you die.

Like I said, an awful, awful fucking story. Maybe Strange took part in the contest because she couldn't afford a Wii, but it's equally possible it's because she couldn't fucking find one. And believe me, I know how difficult it is. I'm a huge gamer geek, and I still haven't found one. Largely because the retail community has apparently lost the technology we had Back In The Day, in which a pencil and paper were used to record names and phone numbers, then those people were contacted, in the order in which their names were written down, when stock became available.

As a result, drinking a shitload of water to further the careers of people nicknamed "Trish", "Maney", "Lukas", "Carter", and "Fester" seems like a reasonable alternative to going from store to store in the hopes of randomly hitting a ten-minute shipment window, or bringing a lawn chair and blankets to your local Best Buy at four in the morning. If it weren't for my hatred for morning zoos and my comically tiny bladder, I might have been tempted myself.

The other thing that drives me fucking nuts about this story is that here we are, in lawsuit-happy 2006, when every single corporate and public activity is screened for any potential liability or danger. But three DJ's and their staff are allowed to just start making people drink larger and larger amounts of water, and nobody thought there might be a problem?

I mean, fuck, I didn't know about water intoxication either, but you'd think someone would have checked with a doctor about kidney problems or bladder ruptures or something. Morning DJ's are constantly getting into trouble, due to the combined factors of "thinking they're funny" and "being fucking morons". If I ran a radio station, I'd ride herd on them like they were crack-addled toddlers. Mainly because they ACT LIKE CRACK-ADDLED TODDLERS.

Not to mention the fact that we've all been doing the Wii joke since last MAY. The dick jokes, the pee jokes, and the admittedly under-represented first-person plural jokes. Even by morning DJ standards, counting from the release date, the joke is exactly fifty nine days old*.

For some perspective, at fourteen days old, a joke starts to smell a little funny, and most people realize if they're gonna tell it, they'd better tell it soon. At 30 days, the joke has fuzzy spots that, if you're careful and desperate, you can excise, salvaging a smaller amount of comedy that won't actually make anyone ill. At fifty-nine days, you don't even OPEN the joke. You throw it out along with its container. Even if you're starving due to lack of comedy, the natural condition of the morning DJ, you don't use a fifty-nine day old joke.

No charges are being filed, because Strange did voluntarily take part in the stupid, stupid contest. Everyone involved has lost their jobs, which is fair, although we don't get to know their real names, so if some other market decides to hire them on, odds are we'll never know that Cleveland's "Jimmy Pants In The Morning" is someone who opened up a spoiled joke and killed a mother of three. I mean, sure, we can hope that they all feel awful about it and wouldn't go back to drive-time wackiness, but that'd require a substance far more common than water, but which no morning DJ actually possesses. Shame.

*I did have to count that out. I haven't been tracking the number obsessively since launch. I don't care if you believe me or not, you know.