FunnyMaine’s bit is tired, and AL(dot)com’s praise of him is just sad
Alabama’s worst local media outlet is in the middle of a series praising “Alabamians who made a difference in 2020,” and this weekend they bestowed that honor on a guy who makes YouTube videos and — allegedly — incites riots.
Jermaine Johnson is regionally famous, and apparently marginally funny for some people.
He has two claims to fame:
- His name rhymes with “FunnyMaine,” which means he is a comedian in the same vein that Bill Nye is an expert on all things science because his name rhymes with “The Science Guy.”
- He made some YouTube videos where he talked about Alabama football.
Johnson’s accolades from AL.com are based on his Birmingham speech shortly before rioting broke out over a Confederate monument in Linn Park not being taken down soon enough — and Johnson getting away with it.
It all started when George Floyd died during an arrest in Minneapolis; all historic monuments came under scrutiny and most immediately needed to come down.
This doesn’t just mean Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, but the man who vanquished Lee, President Ulysses S. Grant, and our first president George Washington also have to go, apparently.
Why? Because racism, that’s why.
Alabama was never going to escape this trend.
In our state, these Confederate monuments have started to come down, but earlier this year, Birmingham’s monument in Linn Park did not come down soon enough for the local YouTuber.
The city wanted it down, the citizens wanted it down, and the media definitely wanted it down, but a pesky law required that a process be followed before the monument was removed or obstructed.
Because there was legal debate over the status of the monument and it was not torn down quickly or violently enough, multiple protests took place at the park.
At one of these protests, a local hero would emerge when Johnson apparently attempted to incite a riot.
He believes he did not, reasoning, “FBI, BPD and JCSO disagree and therefore the charges were dropped.“
While that’s one of his best comedic bits (not how things work), unfortunately for him, public opinion and the obvious facts are clear.
Johnson clearly enjoys this controversy — a trial and conviction would have been great for his “brand,” and he could move past his one-trick-pony status.
Unfortunately (for everyone), he was never going to be convicted of anything, but his words are pretty clear.
Johnson wanted Birmingham to join the national movement of destruction by saying, “We’ve got a lot of cities around the country. They’re tearing down Target. They’re tearing down city hall. We can’t do that. We gotta protect our city. But while the whole world is on national TV tearing stuff down, we need to tear something tonight. They need to see Birmingham, the home of the Civil Rights Movement, tear some shit down tonight.”
Johnson told protesters, “We can’t tear down 16th Street Baptist Church. We can’t tear down the civil rights museum. We can’t tear down Carver. We can’t tear down A.G. Gaston Plaza. But what I’m not telling you to do is walk to Linn Park. I’m not telling to walk to Linn Park after this rally. I’m not telling you to tear something down in Linn Park. I’m not telling you that I’m going to be over there after this rally.”
He’s a comedic genius.
He continued, “That’s what I’m not telling you to do because the law says I can’t tell you to do that. I cannot tell the police to look away. We don’t see you,’’ he said. “I cannot tell the police to march us over there. I can’t tell you that, so I’m not telling you to meet me at Linn Park at 7:30 p.m. Central tonight. I’m not telling you that.”
This is clearly a call to action — a totally unfunny one.
Oddly enough, AL.com’s recognition of this really truly funny guy leaves most of this out.
He clearly is calling for things to be torn down. People did just that; they tore shit down.
They tried to tear down the monument but couldn’t.
They decided to find something else to tear down and settled on a few local businesses, and 10 people were charged with looting while we all know many more participated. Unfortunately, reporters — including one from AL.com — were also violently assaulted during the rioting in Birmingham.
Did FunnyMaine incite a riot? Yes, as underlined by the initial charge against him.
He then passed the buck and blamed others.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
Alabama law states the following: “A person commits the crime of inciting to riot if he commands, solicits, incites or urges another person to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct of a kind likely to cause or create a grave risk of public terror or alarm.“
Did he get away with it? Obviously. We all see this.
It is not a surprise that AL.com chose to honor this joker after he incited a riot; they are probably jealous that he made something happen their employees couldn’t after many years of trying. They are chasing the clout of a YouTuber.
That’s what is funny here.
Alabama had a rough year. The coronavirus pandemic obviously took a toll on the state and its citizens economically, mentally and emotionally, but there was another seeming never-ending controversy that the state could not shake. The protests that took place in Alabama had nothing to do with Alabama, yet opportunists like AL.com and Jermaine Johnson used them to hurt the state and its people.
So, they both made a difference, but no one should view their impact as positive.