You are about to see video evidence that Richard Spencer, the alt-right human punching bag, may be the same person as Waiting For Guffman’s Corky St. Clair:
Here’s how this video came about…
Richard Spencer, the “Alt Right” (translation: white nationalist) leader is most famous for getting punched in the face during a filmed interview on the streets of Washington, D.C., shortly after attending Trump’s inauguration. A masked man landed a right hook to the jaw just as the white nationalist was introducing Pepe the Frog, whose visage adorned a pin on Spencer’s lapel. The face punch launched a thousand memes, videos and think pieces debating the merits of Nazi-punching.
If you read only one “what we talk about when we talk about Richard Spencer” piece, do not let it be this one. But if you’d like to see a video highlighting the kind of remarkable similarities between Spencer and one of the most brilliant comedic characters ever created, you’re in luck.
After being punched (twice, as you’ll soon see), Spencer recounted his “assault” through a Periscope video and I was immediately reminded of Corky St. Clair. Corky is the protagonist of the film Waiting for Guffman, one of the mockumentaries by Christopher Guest, who also did Best in Show and A Mighty Wind.
Corky is a regional theater director who tried and failed to make it in New York City and moved to Blaine, MO. Here he founded the Blaine Community Players and lives with his wife Bonnie—whom we never meet. The film follows him as he puts on a musical review, celebrating the sesquicentennial of Blaine’s founding.
Spencer’s self-aggrandizing speech and agitated tone belying his claims that he is “OK” remind me a lot of Corky’s sensibilities. While their hair styles are far from identical, both Corky’s toupee and Richard’s Third Reichish coif, make quite the statement. At the University of Virginia, where he majored in Music and English, the White Nationalist “became deeply involved in avant-garde theater.” Spencer went on to get his Masters in the Humanities.
Some wonder if Hitler’s failed career as a visual artist pushed him to launch his career as a genocidal megalomaniac. Though Spencer is an underachiever by Hitlerian standards, would a pursuit of theater have prevented his pursuit of racial pseudoscience? We’ll never know.
Nor do we know for certain if an exposure to liberal arts and theater increases the likelihood of white nationalism. Kyle Hunt, who organized the White Man’s March in 2014 to protest white genocide, attended Amherst and majored in psychology, dance and drama.
White nationalism suggests a certain kind of insecurity and egomania Spencer definitely fits the bill. Though I had been wanting to make the mashup for a while, it was Angela Nagle, the author of Kill All Normies, who encouraged me in an interview to live my dreams, much like Corky attempts to do in his own life. When I announced on Twitter that I had edited a mashup of Spencer and Corky for my podcast, Spencer responded 11 minutes later, asking for the time code. I didn’t need to respond because a white nationalist—apparently a fan of the work of this Jewess’s work—tweeted it back right away. An hour later Spencer would deliver his devastating verdict.
“It’s official, Katie,” he wrote. “Women aren’t funny.”
Born, raised, and still living in NYC, Katie Halper is a writer, radio show host, filmmaker, comedian and former history teacher who identifies as a feminist Bernie Bro. You can find her writing and videos at Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Nation, Vice, and catch The Katie Halper Show on on WBAI Wednesdays at 7pm, the podcast on Soundcloud and iTunes and extra bonus content at Patreon, and follow her on Twitter.