Who is Sarah Ball and why is she saying awful things about Emo Phillips? And, why is she not saying awful things about Robin Williams? I.E., if she is going to bash those twelve, she ought to also be brave enough, and have the critical eye required, to take on sacred cow comedians like Williams and George Carlin.
Okay, first, let's run down the twelve she does go after:
1) Larry the Cable Guy: Is funny to the type of people who think Larry the Cable Guy is funny. And, he's likable, likable, likable. That's how he Git(s) Er Done.
2) Carlos Mencia: Ms. Ball got this one right. (If Carlos Mencia didn't steal jokes he'd be the unfunny-ist comedian since ... Carlos Mencia.)
3) Howie Mandel: Is not doing stand-up when he's hosting Deal or No Deal - he's a game show host. To say that he is not funny based on the venue? Howie Long is retired from the NFL and is now a studio analyst with FOX Sports. Does that mean he currently sucks as a defensive end?
4) Dane Cook: The super finger won't get Dane into the Hook Hall of Fame alongside "I don't get no respect" and "take my wife, please," but it will get votes - and, Rodney and Henny never had a Garden full of fans doing it with him unison.
5) Gallagher: For a prop bit, early Sledge-O-Matic demonstrations were funny. Second point in his favor: a pretty good definition of decent funny is when people will pay to your brother do your act. But, if you want to see the prop act who really brings the fun, check out the Legendary Wid.
6)Andrew "Dice" Clay: With him, funny/not funny, is besides the point. What's important is Dice confused making jokes about getting an anvil dropped on your head, with dropping anvils on heads. And, whatever happened on CNN, on Dice Undisputed he revealed himself to be quite a sweet fellow.
7) Emo Phillips: Enjoyment of comedy delivery is, of course, subjective, but writing, "if you saw Emo Phillip's jokes on paper you'd probably laugh," is, ipso facto, to say that he is funny. And, another thing - check out this clip. You will laugh. Outloud.
8) Jay Leno: Sure, the Tonight Show monologue and the Tonight Show's 10 PM offspring is easy to slam. But, before the Peter Principle of Rising to a Station of Comic Venue Beyond Your Comfort Zone got his delivery in a vice, Jay was one of the most monster funny club comics around. When The Jay Leno Show finally gets canceled, he will be again.
9) Jeff Dunham: Agreed. And, how Dunham is a star and Otto and George are not, is worthy of a special on the Mystery Channel.
10) Pauly Shore: Personally, I think he's funny. But who cares what I think. What's undeniable is that his career is funny.
11) Carrot Top: No reason to kick a man while he's orange.
12) Yakov Smirnoff: What, did Ms. Ball do - drive out to Branson, to confirm he's still not funny? In any case, he's not bothering anyone and this is no way to treat an immigrant.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this column and the bashing of George and Robin. As a prelim - if I didn't let put up my own days in stand-up and let you decide if I belong in the Unfunny 12, I'd be quite the comedy coward, so, if you'd like, take a look.
Follow Jonathan Leigh Solomon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Solomonisms