It happened again.
We were taping a not particularly memorable episode of Morning Bro when someone referred to Kathleen Sebelius — the outgoing HHS Secretary who was recently pushed out of her job — as Obama’s “fall gal.” Without missing a beat, I replied: “Well, she can always go do a TV show with Lee Majors!”
I might not have expected this line to be received as fall-out-of-your-seat hilarious, but a chuckle would have been appreciated.
Instead I got … *CRICKETS*
It turns out not one of my colleagues* is familiar with the stylings of Colt Seavers. This happens all the time with Millennials. They don’t get 1980s references — which is a problem since 97.4 percent of my jokes involve them.
This isn’t new. It really hit home to me last summer when President Obama said (or implied) something about Mitt Romney being born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and it quickly occurred to me that nobody in my office was the least bit familiar with the TV show Silver Spoons.
(Note: If they weren’t familiar with Sledge Hammer! 0r Sidekicks, I wouldn’t be happy with it, but I would at least understand it. But the Fall Guy and Silver Spoons were pretty popular shows with famous television stars; each also had a terrific opening theme song — which can still be enjoyed if only for ironic purposes.)
Look, I get it that some of you were born around the time these classic TV shows first aired. But that’s really not an excuse. Do you think I was sentient when The Andy Griffith Show or even Sanford & Son, One Day At a Time, etc., were on prime time?
Of course not. And yet, somehow I am vaguely familiar with their existence. Such is the burden of being an educated American.
I’m not sure who’s to blame — whether this says something about our fragmented media market — or is an indictment on our education system (is it too soon to blame Common Core?). Either way something needs to be done about this.
Because the messed up thing is that — even though they are the ones ignorant of our shared history — I’m the one who feels stupid as my jokes hit a brick wall.
I am the comedic Fall Guy.
* Actually, this criticism does not apply to Will Rahn, who is culturally literate, and thus, aware of 1980s pop culture.