It was a night to celebrate celebrities and their contributions to society and the arts. The 45th annual Kennedy Center Honors had some of the biggest A-listers in Hollywood and in the White House and Congress in attendance, and all the glitter and glitz expected at such an event. Any time Tinseltown or politicians gather, there are sure to be some dramatic moments, too, and the evening didn’t disappoint. From Julia Roberts wearing a freaky stalker-ish gown emblazoned with framed images of George Clooney to a standing ovation for the Pelosi family and anti-semitic talk calling out Ye and Donald Trump for anti-semitic talk, the Sunday evening (Dec. 4) event was apparently a success.
Kennedy Center Honors
For their contributions to America’s culture, county western singer Amy Grant, actor George Clooney, soul singer Gladys Knight, composer Tania León, and the band U2 were honored. Guests included actors Don Cheadle and Matt Damon, President Joe Biden and wife Jill, Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Douglas Emhoff, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her husband. Paul Pelosi wore a black hat and a black glove, perhaps reminders of the trauma he suffered when their estate was broken into and he was attacked. For this, he and his wife received a standing ovation.
The honored stars had been wined and dined the night before at a gala dinner that featured Garth Brooks as the host and Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken as honorary chair where they were given medallions as mementoes of their accomplishments. After an evening of giving and receiving praise, they attended the main event the next night.
Sacha Baron Cohen, a British actor who is also Jewish and known for his role as Borat Sagdiyev, a journalist for the Kazakh television, decided his time was best spent roasting former President Donald Trump and rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. “I know the president of US and A is here,” he told the audience in his character’s accent. “Where are you, Mr. Trump?” He added, “You don’t look so good. Where has your glorious big belly gone? And your pretty orange skin has become pale.” He then suggested Vladimir Putin and novichok, a nerve agent, were responsible for Trump’s ‘unhealthy’ look.
But he was far from done, and as Cohen continued his “comedy” act, some people laughed while others seemed uneasy:
“Before I proceed, I will say I am very upset about the antisemitism in US and A. It not fair. Kazakhstan is Number one Jew-crushing nation. Stop stealing our hobby. Stop the steal! Stop the steal! Your Kanye (West), he tried to move to Kazakhstan and even changed his name to Kazakhstanye West. But we said: No, he too antisemitic even for us.”
While some people shifted uncomfortably in their chairs, the actor continued, singing the U2 song “With or Without You,” but changed the lyrics to “With or without Jews.” He broke off the tune to ask the audience, “What’s the problem? They loved this at Mar-a-Lago. They chose Without Jews,” referring to the dinner Trump hosted with Ye and Nick Fuentes, a Holocaust denier.
Jill Biden could be seen laughing during his performance, but others did not seem to appreciate the humor. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) said, “I was surprised to see him [Borat],” then left quickly after being asked by the Guardian what he thought of the actor’s act. The president’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, chose not to refer to Borat and said instead, “I think I like U2.” And Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) responded, “Not much.”
Remember when Dave Chappelle was condemned for talking about trans in his comedy act? He was villainized, and loud voices demanded Netflix cancel his show. Borat’s performance at the ceremony obviously made plenty of people squirm, but will he be penalized for his anti-semitic remarks, even though they were supposed to be a joke designed to condemn those who used such language? It is doubtful. Just another sign of the imbalance between the left and the right, and who is wrong and who gets excused.
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