Kamala Harris Can't Stop Laughing at Her Own Joke That No One Can Find

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Somebody in the West Wing decided that Kamala Harris needed to go out in public again, and the result was no joke.

Seriously. She was supposed to tell a joke. Or tried to tell a joke. But after poring over this clip, I still can’t find the joke.

The Alleged Vice President was speaking to a friendly audience in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and the audience seems just as clueless as I was about what they were supposed to be laughing about.

Whatever it was, Harris certainly thought she was funny, as you’ll see in this clip.

Here’s the VodkaPundit Quick & Dirty Transcript™:

That unlike for some of us, the thing of Encyclopedia Britannica is a thing of a long time ago and now the [giggles] kids need to be online to help get their homework done [still giggling].

Broadband wire, why do we care about that? [still giggling] We’re going to lay it across the country because we know that our seniors [seriously, still giggling] might need the benefit of telemedicine if it’s too fa… hard [I think the giggling has stopped] to get to a hospital, our small business owners access to high-speed broadband to run those small businesses that are part of what fuels America’s economy.

Would you like your remarks with the vinaigrette or the creamy Caesar?

But the important question is this: What was the joke?

The GOP War Room headlined this clip with “Kamala Harris Tells A Joke, Then Forgets To Stop Laughing.”

But what was the joke?

If you had to guess — and you really do — it’s that first line: “Unlike for some of us, the thing of Encyclopedia Britannica is a thing of a long time ago and now the kids need to be online to help get their homework done.”

Where’s the funny?

I think what she’s trying to say is that those of us who are older used to grab a volume of Encyclopedia Britannica to help with our homework but kids go online for help.

Um … rim shot?

Maybe the funny was the part where she said, in essence, that the thing of the encyclopedia is a thing.

Yeah, I’m still not feeling it, are you?

Or maybe Harris was going for something a little more ’90s Hack Standup: “Kids these days with their web surfing! What’s up with that? Amirite?”

Although it hardly seems possible, that one was even worse, wasn’t it?

Whatever the joke was supposed to be, Harris failed to deliver it. It’s easy to imagine her speechwriter doing (yet another) double facepalm and muttering, “That’s not what I wrote. Why won’t she say what I wrote?

It’s even easier to imagine Harris’ speechwriter not giving a damn any longer, and sending her out there with a lazy collection of unseasoned word gumbo.

Who knows, maybe that’s exactly what happened.

Here’s where I have to put the kidding aside and try to figure out why Harris is so bad at easy speeches in front of friendly audiences.

I’m sympathetic when a joke bombs, having given more than a few speeches and written and delivered a few stinkers myself.

The trick is knowing your audience. A crowd that basically likes what you have to say and how you’re saying it will generally at least give you a polite laugh on the jokes that didn’t quite work.

When a gag does bomb, you move right along and try to pretend like nothing happened.

ASIDE: This rule of thumb doesn’t apply to actual standup comedians generally and to Johnny Carson specifically. Carson would usually have one stinker built in to each night’s monologue. He’d get more laughs working his way out of a bomb than a lot of comics got out of their better jokes.

But that’s not what happened in Harris’ case.

She didn’t tell a joke that bombed. She either mangled a joke so completely out of recognition that no one but her could tell it was a joke, or she was winging it without a clue about what might be funny.

Since you could kinda-almost see the structure of a joke buried in there, I’m going with the former.

Having mangled the joke, Harris didn’t just move on. Instead, she did that fake-nervous laugh to cue her audience that they were supposed to laugh. It didn’t work. She kept on fake-nervous laughing.

You know who does that?

Speakers who are unprepared, inexperienced, or both.

Kamala Harris rose to the upper echelons of California politics without ever needing to get good at the basics of politicking.

She got to the top in part because California is a one-party state, in part because of her color and sex, and in part because she was seemingly willing to do most anything to climb the greasy pole, as our British friends would say.

Please forgive me for using that idiom in this context, but I just couldn’t help myself.

From there, Harris rose to the highest elevations of national politics because Joe Biden talked himself into a black-female corner on his veep selection, and it was either Harris or the certifiably insane Stacey Abrams.

Someone that lucky might have thanked their stars, gotten serious about the job, and worked hard at getting better at the pretty meager responsibilities a veep has.

Nah. She’ll just wing it again and get another pass from the press.

P.S. Here’s how it’s done.


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