Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kennedy Assassination Jokes

There aren’t many laughs associated with the Kennedy assassination. This is as it should be.

Of course, there are always those undeterred by matters of good and bad taste. And humor can be a defense mechanism. So naturally there is a lighter side to the issue.

Mark Lane, for example, wondered why the Warren Commission's Hearings and Exhibits included the dental records of Jack Ruby's mother (Vol. XXII, p. 395, at right). Those wouldn't be relevant, he quipped, even if Ruby had bitten Oswald to death.

In introductory material to her comparative study Accessories After the Fact, Sylvia Meagher related this anecdote: "It has been said jokingly that the Dallas police are not so bad – look how quickly they caught Jack Ruby."

But comic attempts are made at the speaker's peril. In 1964 Vincent J. Salandria briefly and informally debated Arlen Specter, when the latter was feted by the Philadelphia Bar Association for his work with the Warren Commission. 

Salandria told Specter that the Commission had a duty to demonstrate the shooting performance it attributed to Oswald could be duplicated.

"He asked whether I would have them kill a man," Salandria recalled. "The joke fell upon ears which detect no humor in murder."

Now, with the passage so many years, we can get away with more than we could in 1964. Which brings me to comedian Bill Hicks.

Bill Hicks was an 1980s and 90s-era comedian with a popular stand-up act. He made numerous appearances on late night talk shows and seemed poised to break out to greater things when cancer killed him in 1995.

Hicks had an interest in the JFK case and expressed it sometimes onstage. (In the video below, he obviously references the Sixth Floor Museum, though calls it something else.)


  1. It has been said that JFK is Oliver Stone's favorite of his films, and I can understand why. In many ways, it is his best. It is certainly his most ambitious. Even if taken only in terms of its visuals and editing, this was an ambitious undertaking. And he's taken it a step further.

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