Racist? Jack Benny meets a ‘Mexican’ at the airport (video)

by ANNE YEJO on July 18, 2013 in Cultura, Video


This classic Jack Benny routine with Mel Blanc from the 1960s make for major LULz. But is this vintage comedy sketch racist, just old school or both? Mel Blanc talks in a “Mexican” accent but does his portrayal demean Mexicans? How about his wardrobe? What do you think?

{ 7 comments }

Annie July 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

The character of Sy appeared when Jack Benny was on the radio when folks had to imagine what characters looked like. I think the reason this is more old school than racist is that most characters that were on the show (especially Rochester) were used to emphasize Jack’s penny pinching, toupee wearing,egotistical character. Probably the worst thing the show did (by today’s standards, it was not at all nice) was to poke fun at Don Wilson’s weight. Still, I highly doubt Benny could get away with this if he were alive and had a show today, but even if this aired today, I wouldn’t be offended because most of the humor demeans Benny’s character than anyone else.

Chale Knickerbocker July 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Mel Blanc had a hella career as a voice actor. His other Looney Tunes voices included Bugs Bunny!

No Somos Tonto July 18, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Mel Blanc: 1950’s. Funny + funny hat on his head. Previous bar set by: Speedy Gonzalez. Johnny Depp: 2013. Not funny + dead bird on his head. Previous bar set by: Jay Silverheels. Drop the mic. Si Sy Puede!

Gurkman July 19, 2013 at 12:43 PM

It actually sounds vaguely Mexican, not just your one-size-fits-all “Hispanic” accent.

No Somos Tonto July 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Gurkman: Si.

Chale Knickerbocker July 19, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Everything Mel Blanc says is one syllable until the last line, a setup for a Jack Benny Is Cheap punchline based on airline charges for overweight bags back in the day, so it’s not so much a Mexican accent as a Mexican intonation. So?

Oh, look! David Letterman interviews Mel Blanc (1981) and Mel performs a one-man version of the Si/Cy/Sue sketch with a completely different punchline.

Richard Lopez August 7, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Mel Blanc:Genius. Jack Benny:Genius. Bill Dana: second banana who got lucky by impressing white people with their idea of what a Puerto Rican sounds like.

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