The Bell Curve: Political comedy in Costa Mesa

October 20, 2010|By Joseph N. Bell

Every good comedy team has a straight man and a comic. The straight man is the logical and patient half of the duo; the comic is the jokester who pulls the plug after the straight man sets him up. Abbott was the straight man to Costello, as George Burns was to Gracie Allen, and as Hardy was to Laurel.

And now that Costa Mesa politics has become the local branch of Comedy Central, the city's supply of comics is emerging loud and clear. I'm pleased to be playing straight man to the most recent of the comics to make a Daily Pilot headline.

I don't often agree with Costa Mesa City Councilman Eric Bever. Maybe almost never.

That's why it was so satisfying to read in a recent Pilot piece that Bever has found a bridge to a weapon I've sought unsuccessfully virtually all my life. Ever since I read my first box score some 80 years ago, I've been searching for some means of casting a spell over the despicable New York Yankees, a problem similar to the one Bever seemed to be facing with the Costa Mesa police union when he told a Pilot reporter "I don't recall anything quite this drastic."


Bever's description of how he stood his ground when provoked by two cops in a police car while Bever was putting up a Jim Righeimer campaign sign before a supporting cast that included the candidate, his attorney and Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach was not only deeply moving but offered me the weapon I've been seeking all those years. According to Bever it is called "stink eye" and reduces victims to jelly just by staring them down. Bever, who called this behavior "chilling," courageously fought it off. But it has occurred to me that the Yankees might find it beyond their evil powers to resist. At least it's worth a try, so I'll be at Angel Stadium next year to turn my stink eye on the Yankees, all the while remembering Bever with gratitude.

For what it's worth, all this reminded me of a game similar to stink eye from my junior high school years. When we were victimized, we responded by waving a hand fearlessly in greeting to the perpetrator or simply sticking out our tongues.

If Bever had tried either of these responses he might have scored some Comedy Central points in the process and made an official investigation unnecessary.

And, oh yes, if you aren't up for comedy in your local government, there is another candidate running for that vacant City Council seat named Chris McEvoy.

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