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  • Writer's pictureJerry Della Femina


Have you heard the latest woke joke?

Of course you haven’t. It doesn’t exist.

Woke humor is as funny as Nazi humor was in the 1930s.

Woke Nazis never give. They are humorless fools who try to cancel the past. They don’t understand that you cannot cancel history. You can’t change and rewrite the past.

I thought about woke the other day when someone on Facebook mentioned Blazing Saddles and guessed that in today’s dull, woke-dominated world, only seven minutes of that movie would be allowed to be shown.

Blazing Saddles is a hilarious 1974 comedy directed by Mel Brooks, starring a brilliant handsome black actor, Cleavon Little, and Gene Wilder. The film was written by Brooks, along with my good friend, the wonderful Andrew Bergman, and the gifted black comedian Richard Pryor, as well as Norman Steinberg and Alan Uger. It was based on Bergman’s original story and draft.

Blazing Saddles satirized Hollywood’s Old West John Wayne movies by having a black sheriff (Cleavon Little) defending an all-white town against politicians who want their land for a railroad.

At this point I want to warn any woke people reading this to stop reading and get off this page before you read something that might cause your tender snowflake heart to stop.

As a woke person, you don’t have to read this – you can always write on Facebook and accuse me of being a racist for having the nerve to type some of the dialogue from what may be one of the funniest movies ever made.

What’s brilliant about Blazing Saddles is that by using some of the funniest, most racist dialogue and ideas, it exposes racism for what it is and what it has always been: a stupid concept that is practiced by some incredibly stupid people.

What Blazing Saddles does is make you laugh, and it makes you think.

It goes along with something I have always believed.

Want to stop a disgusting racist bastard?

Don’t censor him.

Laugh at him.

Laughter will kill him faster.

Derisive laughter is so much more effective than cancel proclamations that will never work. All they will do is deprive generations to come of our country’s history, for better or for worse.

The Blazing Saddles story starts out when a crooked politician, Hedley LaMarr, decides to take over the town of Rock Ridge by naming a black sheriff, Bart, who he’s sure will be shot down the first day he arrives in town.

When Bart arrives in Rock Ridge to take over as the new sheriff, he’s met with both intense racism and complete shock.

When Bart tries to read the governor’s decree naming him the new sheriff of Rock Ridge he exclaims, “Excuse me while I whip this out,” and reaches into his trousers. Women scream and men freak out, but they relax when all he pulls out is a letter.

Bart is upset that his attempts to be friendly with the citizens of Rock Ridge lead to him being racially insulted. Gene Wilder (the Waco Kid), his only friend, says, “What did you expect? ‘Welcome, sonny’? ‘Make yourself at home’? ‘Marry my daughter’? You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know...morons.”

And this is what Blazing Saddles is all about. A Google search reveals there is a lot more than racism.

People just hate other people out of plain old ignorant tribalism. Yes, most of the white people hate those of other races. But given the chance, they will also hate each other.

When you see Blazing Saddles you’ll see that every race and religion is hit.

The night before saving Rock Ridge, Bart brings the townsfolk together to meet with his friends who are helping to build the railroad. It’s a major moment that brings together people of all color – white, black, Asian, Hispanic. Bart says that in order to save the town they have to work together, and allow people of every race to live in Rock Ridge in peace.

The people of Rock Ridge agree, although they’re clear about the fact that they don’t want any Irish people to live there.

When Hedley LaMarr puts together a gang to terrorize the citizens of Rock Ridge he says, “I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists!”

Bart, disguised as a Klansman, describes his qualifications as a villain: “Stampeding cattle.”

Hedley LaMarr: “That’s not much of a crime.”

Bart: “Through the Vatican?”

Lili Von Shtupp (brilliantly played by Madeline Kahn): “Tell me, schatze, is it twue what they say about the way you people are... gifted?”

[sound of zipper opening]

Lili Von Shtupp: “Oh, it’s twue. It’s twue. It’s twue, it’s twue!”

Gang leader: “I got it! I know how we can run everyone out of Rock Ridge.”

Hedley LaMarr: “How?”

Gang leader: “We’ll kill the firstborn male child in every household.”

Hedley LaMarr: “Too Jewish.”

There’s more…so so much more to enjoy.

Note: The script for Blazing Saddles was riddled with the N word. At one point Brooks questioned whether he had gone overboard in the use of the word. He went to Richard Pryor for guidance. Brooks reports Pryor said the most brilliant thing, “because he was a very good writer and a realist. And he said, ‘You know, Mel, if the racists and the bad guys use it, then it’s perfect. But if good people use it, then you’re in trouble.’”

This is why when it comes to exposing racism as the crutch it is for a lot of weak, stupid failures, I will take Mel Brooks over a million woke Nazis.

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