I’m Back to Loving Lady Gaga (and it Has Nothing to do with ARTPOP!)

I’m a Lady Gaga fan, but honestly, “Applause” aside, I haven’t gone crazy for ARTPOP.

But her latest appearance on The Graham Norton Show (an excellent UK talk show) reminds me why I fell in love with her in the first place, and it has nothing to do with her music.

Graham talks to Gaga about the devotion of her fans, and then segues into a Skype encounter with one particular uber-fan: a fat, effeminate, very enthusiastic African American guy.

It seems pretty clear that the point of the segment was so that everyone could have a good laugh at this squealing oddball. It’s Chris Crocker 2.0.

(I like Graham Norton a lot, but I don’t like jokes like this. And personally, I really, really hate it when comedians try to get laughs by picking on the weird and/or the powerless. It might be a cheap, easy laugh, but I just don’t find it funny. Basically, I think “bullying” and “humor” and “meanness” are sometimes all tied up together. And I think the world needs less bullying, not more of it. And please don’t tell me I’m humorless or can’t take a joke. This is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.)

But back to Lady Gaga. How does she react to all this? Watch how she deals with the whole encounter. It’s incredible.

Basically, from the beginning, she rejects the whole premise of the set-up. Laugh at this strange person? She does a little at first, mostly because she’s not quite sure what’s happening. But she doesn’t give Graham the opportunity to make jokes at the guy’s expense. Instead, she totally bonds with her fan, praising and empowering him. There isn’t even the slightest hint of condescension or judgment on her part.

Later, with tears in her eyes, she even compliments Graham for giving this guy his moment in the sun, for letting him have his voice. It’s sweet and touching and sincere.

But not only that, in three minutes, Lady Gaga has completely subverted the entire encounter, giving it a meaning that I’m sure Graham and his producers never, ever intended. She’s turned it from “Hey, let’s all laugh at the weird, fat, effeminate guy!” to “No, let’s celebrate difference and diversity, and let’s empower people who might seem at first glance to be ‘odd.’”

Whoa! Talk about a velvet glove. Lady Gaga is amazing, totally the real deal. And I think it’s entirely unconscious on her part; it’s simply who she is.

Like I said, it’s made me love her all over again. She stands for something, and it’s something really important.

Okay, now I’ve totally oversold this thing, and you’re going to be disappointed with the actual three-minute clip. Maybe I’m reading into it, but I don’t think so. Anyway, you should totally watch it:

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4 Responses to “I’m Back to Loving Lady Gaga (and it Has Nothing to do with ARTPOP!)”

  1. David 25 November 2013 at 9:20 am #

    I agree with you're comments about Lady Gaga, but I think you were a little harsh on Graham. He appears sincere In his exchanges with the fan, and I didn't see him trying to make fun of him.

    • Brent Hartinger 25 November 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      You may be right, but I'm thinking more about his greater attitude. He does bits like this a lot. This time, I think Gaga pushed him off-course.

  2. bandanajack 1 January 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    this is why i miss the days of johnny carson on latenight tv. i have never been able to abide the mean spirited mockery of david letterman and jay leno, and the same seems to apply to his competition in varying degrees. any hint of ären't we superior to this person as a means of connecting to an audience turns me off completely. smug,and mean.

    • Brent Hartinger 10 January 2014 at 7:59 pm #

      Yes, David Letterman's meanness really used to piss me off too, but I think he's moderated it somewhat, at least.

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