Pitching a fit
Goldberg finds his CNNiche
adapted from (c) 2012 Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license
[A charmless glass-enclosed conference room at CNN headquarters in New York. ANDERSON COOPER, wearing a blue work shirt under a flocked cream sweater-vest, ironed blue jeans, and Blundstone 500 Chelsea boots, sits at a small conference table with a mug of tea and reads a Kindle. JONAH GOLDBERG enters, dressed in an ill-fitting blue suit with a black turtleneck and sneakers, his Sig Ruman beard neatly trimmed, and carrying a gigantic travel mug.]
GOLDBERG: Hiya, colleague!
COOPER: [Unenthusiastically as he closes his Kindle] Hello, Jonah, how are you.
GOLDBERG: I am PUMPED! I am so excited to be working with you maniacs! It’s gonna be crazy! And guess what, Andy — you’re my first choice to get a load of old Jonah!
COOPER: I’ve told you not — hey, is your mug leaking?
GOLDBERG: [Looks at mug, looks at COOPER] Are you kidding? This is a BrüMate Toddy XL, son. Got it as present when CNN gave me the go-code. It don’t squeak and it don’t leak. Look!
[GOLDBERG turns the mug upside down and an enormous amount of liquid pours onto the table. COOPER leaps to his feet, backs up.]
COOPER: What the hell! What did you just do! [Noticing his Kindle on the table] My Kindle!
[COOPER grabs the Kindle and, holding it gingerly by a corner, puts it on a dry part of the table. GOLDBERG has meanwhile run to a nearby couch and grabbed a cushion, with which he starts to sop up the liquid on the table.]
Hey! HEY! What the hell are you doing?
GOLDBERG: We can put it back wrong side up — no one has to know!
COOPER: What do you mean “we”? Alright, forget it —
[COOPER grabs the pillow.]
— give me that.
[COOPER sets the pillow on a trash can.]
I’ll call facilities. [Sniffs] What was that, soda?
[COOPER hits a button on a console.]
CONSOLE: Yes, Cooper.
COOPER: Hi someone made a mess, can you send Larry and Tige up here? [To JONAH] OK, let’s forget it, so, Jonah, what did you want to see me about?
GOLDBERG: Just what I said, Andy. Now that I’m on —
COOPER: Anderson. My name is Anderson, it’s not Andy, it’s Anderson.
[COOPER pulls his sweater vest up by the hem and inspects it.]
GOLDBERG: C’mon, lighten up, Anderson. See, I’m just what your 360 show needs, a little levity. A little schwah de veever. Someone who sees the humor.
COOPER: We have quite enough levity, Jonah. More than enough. Yesterday I talked about Wordle with Monica Lewinsky for five minutes. [Points at GOLDBERG.] And I definitely do not want to hear any Monica Lewinsky jokes from you.
GOLDBERG: Are you kidding? People would love that! We could do banter. Like you be Monica Lewinsky, OK?
COOPER: I’m not going to be —
GOLDBERG: [Archly] “Hi Monica, so — you — you uh — uh — are you still a big whore?” OK, I didn’t have anything prepared, but I could though, because you know what I bring to the table?
COOPER: A half gallon of root beer?
GOLDBERG: Content! Because I’m a writer. You’re great at what you do, Anderson, no question, but one thing you’re not is a writer.
COOPER: I have five Emmy nominations for writing.
GOLDBERG: Like for instance, check this out, I can do a whole thing on Joe Rogan and the n-word. Timely, right? OK, so listen — I saw a friend on the street the other day and he yelled to me, “Hey, what up my nibber!” Now my friend is white — needless to say! — so everybody on that street stared at him. Now the thing is, my friend has a speech impediment, and he was just trying to say “neighbor,” only it came out sounding kinda like what has become, sadly, a very controversial word. But these people assumed he was being racist, and you could just tell by the looks on their faces that they all wanted to cancel him — cancel him with extreme prejudice, as Harrison Ford said in Apocalypse Now, which is not so great a movie by the way.
[GOLDBERG freezes. His eyes widen. He touches his forehead.]
Oh and hey — wow — know what’s weird? “Prejudice” is just what they were going to accuse my friend of!
[GOLDBERG fumbles in his jacket pockets, produces a small notepad and a pen.]
Oh mommy, I was just thinking on my feet there and I came up with a real gem — I’m gonna write it down so I remember it! Now watch and learn, Mr. Emmy Loser! “Ex-treme…”
[Holding the notepad up near his face, GOLDBERG starts to write, but his pen snaps in half and sprays black ink on his face. GOLDBERG screams, drops the pen and pad, covers his face with his hands and rubs.]
COOPER: Jonah? My God! Are you alright?
[GOLDBERG pulls his hands from his face, revealing it smeared with black ink, and hold them out in a “stop the music” gesture.]
GOLDBERG: Wait, wait, Anderson, so here’s the good part! So all these people probably think they’re not prejudiced, because they were in New York where everyone is constantly virtue signaling and some of them are black, but in reality they’re the biggest most prejudiced people of all because they cancelled my friend for saying “nibber”!
[Two African-American maintenance men, LARRY and TIGE, enter behind GOLDBERG, who does not notice, and stand silently looking at him.]
And you probably think I’m prejudiced because I’m saying “nibber”! Even though I’m just saying what somebody else said to make a point, like Mark Twain and Mel Brooks. If I was an artist like Tarantino I could say “nibber” all day long. But because I’m not part of the protected liberal artist class, even though it takes great creativity to do what I’m doing, if I say “nibber,” or “don’t let the sun set on your black ass, nibber,” or “I don’t want my kid to go to school with nibbers,” I’ll get in trouble and if some nibbers beat me up you’ll say I deserved it. Well, I stand with Joe Rogan and Rick Perry and all the other white rap artists and you can’t stop me! Take that, nibber-lovers! Nibber nibber nibber nibber nibber —
[GOLDBERG turns for emphasis and finds himself face to face with LARRY and TIGE, who continue to silently stare. Beat. Suddenly GOLDBERG runs and, in an attempt to give LARRY and TIGE a wide berth, tries to staircase the couch, but hits it wrong and falls over it with a thud. Pause.]
[From behind the couch, weakly] This is of course central to my point.