Allentown, PA — Conservative columnist and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer surprised patrons at Wisecrackers Comedy Club last night with what some are now regarding as a failed attempt at stand-up comedy. Mr. Krauthammer was not listed on the marquee and only few club workers knew that he would be performing.
“When the boss told us that he was going to be performing tonight, I had no idea who he was,” said bartender Dustin ‘Dusty’ Brown who works weekends at the popular Allentown comedy club. “But then he showed me the press kit with his picture, and I recognized him from when I visited my Grandpa in Scranton. Grandpa always has the TV on to Fox News. I was like, ‘oh yeah, that guy.'”
Mr. Krauthammer, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a Doctor of Psychiatry, is not known for stand-up comedy but has been known to deliver wry, one-line “zingers” in both his columns and in his appearances on television. Although he did not provide any reasons for his attempts at humor on the stage, many believe this was on his “bucket list” of things to do before he died. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, Krauthammer will probably not be repeating his dismal performance any time soon.
“It might have been the worst performance I’ve ever seen,” said area comedy-goer Mark Dells who immediately recognized Krauthammer as he was wheeled on the stage. “I mean, nothing was funny. There were a couple of sympathy laughs from audience, but no one felt comfortable heckling him because, well you know, of his condition.”
Krauthammer became permanently paralyzed after a diving accident while in his first year studying at Harvard Medical School. After spending 14 months recovering in a hospital, and although wheelchair-bound, he returned to medical school, graduating to become a psychiatrist involved in the creation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III.
His material included cracks at big government, politicians and a lengthy attempt at injecting humor into an old topic of his, Walter Mondale, whom Krauthammer served as his speech writer in 1980. When it was clear to both him and the audience that his jokes were falling flat, he switched to a series of ‘knock-knock’ jokes which at least engaged the crowd.
The only real laugh of the night came at the end of his performance. As he was leaving, his wheelchair became tangled in the microphone cables.
“I can’t stand being in a wheelchair,” shouted Krauthammer, after which there was a noticeable gasp in the audience. “It’s OK to laugh, you know. That was a joke.”