Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XXXV: James Bond vs. Jack Bauer, TV’s Andy Levy breaks the law, and playing for Team Sparkly Bears

Matt Labash Columnist
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Editors Note: Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

Matt, did you ever dream of being a secret agent as a child? If so, are you the Bond or Bauer type? – David Titland (yes, really)

When I was a kid, the only thing I remember dreaming of being was a Sleestak from the Saturday morning show,Land of the Lost.” I wanted to walk through the jungle with lizard-like stealth and hiss at those nimrods Marshall, Will and Holly, who as the theme song reported, were “on a routine expedition,” when “the greatest earthquake ever known, high on the rapids, it struck their tiny raft, and plunged them down a thousand feet below — to the Land of the Lost.” As someone who spends a lot of time on rivers, I know that safety is paramount. But who is careless enough to go white-water rafting during an earthquake? As far as I’m concerned, they got what they deserved.

But yes, I probably went through a secret agent phase, as well. If forced to choose between Bauer and Bond, I’d have to go with James Bond, since like Bond, I enjoy wearing white dinner jackets, brandishing fancy weaponry, and making love to seductive vixens with enticing names like Octopussy. Though that’s not to take anything away from Gary Bauer. He made a fine presidential candidate and did yeoman’s work at the Family Research Council. Would you please excuse me for a moment?………

Okay, my editor is now informing me that you were probably referring to Jack Bauer. But I’d still stick with Bond. I never cared much for Jack Bauer’s style. He always had 24 hours to wrap everything up. When I’m fighting crime, I don’t like to be rushed.
What’s your problem with puns? Did a Punjabi nanny punish you as a child? Do you not like being a pundit? Do you sometimes feel as though you’re nothing but a punching bag? Are you frequently yelled at for not being punctual? Or are you just a punk? – TV’s Andy Levy

Well, well, look what the cat dragged in. Last week, I was sent a question from MSNBC’s Willie Geist. This week, we have a cameo by Fox’s own Andy Levy. Perhaps the Lord will shine His face upon me, and prompt CNN’s Jack Cafferty to send a question next week, so that I can hit for the cycle. All of the sudden, this humble little advice column has become a crash pad for television personalities. It’s like Jimmy Kimmel’s green room in here, except without all the arcade games and slutty models.

Now on to the question, such as it is. Andy, it goes without saying that I’m a fan of your ombudsman work on Fox’s “Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld,” which just so happens to be my very favorite show that airs at 3 a.m. (I watch you guys, and TiVo the Malibu Pilates infomercial.) Last week, however, I was forced to execute a reader for using puns, and laid down a strict no-punning law. Any violation carries a lifetime ban from this column. In one paragraph, you committed enough punning to get you banned for several lifetimes.

But I’m not an unmerciful man, and can, on occasion, show lenience. Which I’ll do for you now, for one reason and one reason alone: your co-star, Greg Gutfeld, is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I’d trust him with my life, or would’ve, before he became an insufferable TV bastard and changed his phone number, which I still do not have. We go way back. When Gutfeld’s family abandoned him as a child in front of that 7-11 (I think they intended to leave him on the steps of the orphanage next door, but missed, since they were distracted by their Slurpees and taquitos), it was me who Gutfeld turned to to teach him man lessons: how to spit, how to whittle, how to tweeze back-hair, how to deny paternity test results.

I can’t cavalierly throw you over, then, even if you are an unrepentant punning offender. There’s just too much history. So out of respect for Gutfeld, I’m merely banning you for a year. If you absolutely must solicit advice in the meantime, I suggest submitting under an alias. Though not under punning names, like Dr. Ben Dover, who keeps writing in to ask if my family is coming over to dinner this Sunday. (You’re real hilarious, mom. I told you that this weekend was the fall foliage driving tour, next weekend is the pumpkin patch, and the weekend after is the corn maze. I’ll see you at Thanksgiving. And by the way, you’re banned.)
When are you and Treacher just going to make out and get it over with? Where will you go on your first date, and who will pick up the tab?  – Wendy B.

Dear homophobe,

I assume you’re making your unfounded accusations because the estimable Jim Treacher regularly promotes this column on his People’s-Choice-Award-winning blog, often writing an amusing squib in which he adopts the deliberately cartoonish voice of a moony-eyed character who takes my advice way too seriously, in order to alert his readers that a new column is up. Where I come from, that’s not called “man love,” that’s called “team spirit.” And if you want to play on our team, which we’ve decided to call the Sparkly Bears, then you’d better come to the same understanding. When Conan O’Brien banters with Andy Richter, is that gay? When Starsky saves Hutch’s hide in a shootout, is that gay? When George Michael has sex with some dude in a men’s room, is that gay? I don’t know what gay people ever did to you, Wendy, but they must have blurred your vision, because you see them even where they don’t exist.

So I assure you that despite your smears, as a married father, I have no desire to snog Treacher. In fact, I think I speak for him when I say we physically repulse each other. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of us – actually, I’ve got that unsightly growth. But we’re just not really each other’s types. We prefer our men to have vaginas. I mean, to be women. Oh, I don’t know what I mean. This sexuality stuff is so ambiguous and confusing.

Anyway, to answer your gay-baiting question, we would not go on “a first date.” Though we might have a purely platonic editorial meeting at Johnny Rockets at the mall. Treacher likes the shakes and onion rings. Whereas I like the ‘50s ambience, so that I have an excuse to wear a tight angora sweater and a poodle skirt. Which has nothing to do with my sexuality. It just transports me back to a simpler place and time.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.