Comic on CBS 'Early Show': Americans 'All to Blame' for Oil Spill, Being Energy 'Pigs'

Promoting his latest HBO special on Monday's CBS Early Show, comedian Robert Klein turned his attention to the Gulf oil spill and who's to blame: "...we're all to blame. We're pigs. It's a parable for us. American pre-eminence is not guaranteed and unless we learn that this stuff has dangers – where are all those 'drill, baby, drills' now?" [Audio available here]

Those comments were prompted by co-host Harry Smith remarking: "BP would be such a spectacular target for your lampooning." Klein went on to add: "...all that oil that's fouling everything, it probably wouldn't run the automobiles in Texas for one day." Smith chimed in: "An hour." Klein proclaimed: "...it's minuscule, that's how much we use of that stuff. So let's get off it. I mean, and it's coming back to us in bullets, everybody knows this. But Americans have a memory of about 12 seconds."

On CBS's Sunday Morning program, a 'Fast Draw' segment by cartoonists Mitch Butler and Josh Landis similarly scolded Americans for wasting energy. Landis warned: "Our hunger for energy is driving oil companies to drill deeper and more dangerous wells..." Butler remarked: "Thankfully, these days everyone's talking about going green and saving energy. We know to ride bicycles to work instead of driving a car, don't use that air conditioner on a hot summer day. Air travel uses way too much energy. So don't take that vacation." However, Landis lamented: "...most Americans don't make enough of these kinds of sacrifices to save a meaningful amount of energy."

Mitch Butler, CBS Butler noted: "America is only 5% of the global population but we use about 25% of the world's energy." Landis concluded: "And all that oil that's been pouring into the Gulf, the estimated 40 million gallons that's spilled so far, well, that's about the same amount America consumes in a little over one hour." Maybe Klein and Smith were watching Sunday Morning for their energy facts.

On the Early Show, in addition to bashing Americans for their energy usage, Klein described one of his favorite comedic targets: "...one of my main targets are these hypocritical infidelities, politicians who, you know, pray in the morning in their little residence and shtup everybody else's wife at night, you know." He cited former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as an example of the fact that "people believe their own PR" during such scandals. Smith remarked: "Be careful of sanctimony."

Klein then seemed to regret using the New York Democrat as an example of hypocrisy: "Well he wasn't – he was just a little depraved for a moment there, I guess." He identified the real hypocritical adulterous politicians, all Republicans: "But, you know, these guys like Craig and Vitter and Governor Sanford..."

Smith concluded the interview by reminding viewers to watch Klein's HBO special: "...we will look forward to seeing your show on HBO, Unfair and Unbalanced, Saturday, June 12th on HBO at 10:00PM Eastern/11 Pacific Time. Really great to see you."

Here is a portion of Smith's June 7 interview with Klein:
8:40AM EST

HARRY SMITH: As you set about doing a new show like this, do you just let the currents of current events take you where it will or do you usually have an idea ahead of time, this is where this show will go?

ROBERT KLEIN: Well, it's always organic. I mean, I'm getting older now. I started, I'm now a geezer. I mean I've geezer-ized over the years, so my interests change a little. But when I do any kind of politics on my shows, I do it in a kind of historical perspective, not something that'll be forgotten next week.

SMITH: Right.

KLEIN: But, you know, one of my main targets are these hypocritical infidelities, politicians who, you know, pray in the morning in their little residence and shtup everybody else's wife at night, you know.

SMITH: There is that, it kind of never goes away.

KLEIN: You know, people believe their own – Spitzer, I mean people believe their own PR or-

SMITH: Be careful of sanctimony, is always the-

KLEIN: Well he wasn't – he was just a little depraved for a moment there, I guess. But, you know, these guys like Craig and Vitter and Governor Sanford, you know, Argentina, 'tell them on I'm on the Appalachian trail, I'll be back in four days. Senor, my baggage.'

SMITH: You know what, it's only – I almost said unfortunate – but BP would be such a spectacular target for your lampooning.

KLEIN: May I say that, you know, all this who's to blame and all the blame, we're all to blame. We're pigs. It's a parable for us. American pre-eminence is not guaranteed and unless we learn that this stuff has dangers – where are all those drill, baby, drills now? What, was there a dental convention? I mean, I want to see them pay for what – you can't just do it. If you don't have the technology to cap it at that it depth, it shouldn't be done. You know, all that oil that's fouling everything, it probably wouldn't run the automobiles in Texas for one day.

SMITH: An hour.
    
KLEIN: I mean – an hour. I mean, it's minuscule, that's how much we use of that stuff. So let's get off it. I mean, and it's coming back to us in bullets, everybody knows this. But Americans have a memory of about 12 seconds. You know, you couldn't get a Toyota prius, then gas went down. Forget it. Too many Prius's. And you can't stop a Prius. That's another thing.

SMITH: Robert Klein, we will look forward to seeing your show on HBO, Unfair and Unbalanced, Saturday, June 12th on HBO at 10:00PM Eastern/11 Pacific Time. Really great to see you.

KLEIN: A great pleasure, Harry. Thank you.            

SMITH: You bet.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC