I guarantee that someone in Universal is either in or getting out of a big meeting about Bruno right now, and not just because the film premieres tonight. The sudden death of Michael Jackson could potentially impact the film, since there’s a (very, very funny) scene featuring LaToya Jackson as one of Bruno’s unwitting co-stars where Michael Jackson jokes are made.
Of course there’s probably some suit who is shitting his pants about this right now, but a Jackson joke is about the least of the film’s glorious tastelessness (four people walked out of my screening in an offended huff). What should be interesting is seeing what impact this has on the film’s premiere tonight, at which I assume Sacha Baron Cohen will appear in character as Bruno. Will he, the biggest button pusher in our culture today, take aim at the corpse of the King of Pop?
God I hope so. The way people get upset about the deaths of celebrities is ripe for satire. It’s insane to see folks get so swept up by the passing of someone they never met, and in this case the death of someone whose contribution to the world had become ‘creepy joke.’ Michael Jackson was a vastly talented entertainer, but the only entertainment he’s been good for the last few decades has been the kind that keeps the gossip vultures going.
And beyond that I have to admit I never got the ‘It’s okay to joke about someone right up to the minute they die,’ thing. I mean, the minute the die is the first minute they are guaranteed not to find out you’re joking about them. It isn’t like I think the remaining Jackson 4 are reading my Twitter feed or the comments on the CHUD board. Should I die on my flight to Canada tomorrow I fully expect people to make jokes, and I fully expect to be far too dead to care about it.
Anyway, keep an eye open for coverage from the Bruno premiere. It could be interesting.