Uncle Ruckus -- no relation -- is one of the funniest parts of Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks cartoon. He's the ultimate black white supremacist, as eager to appease every caucasian he ever met as he is to denigrate any non-white who steps within an eighty-eight mile radius of him. He's thrown a brick at Martin Luther King Jr., tried to exorcise a black ghost with tactics straight out of 1955, and starred in his own reality show. This week, McGruder and friends have launched a Kickstarter for The Uncle Ruckus Movie, a live-action take on everyone's favorite racist starring Gary Anthony Williams, who provides the voice of Ruckus.
You would think I'd be excited to get more Ruckus in my life, but I'm not. Not yet. Right now, I'm cautious.
The thing about racial comedy is that there's a very, very fine line between people laughing at you and people laughing with you. Chappelle's Show mined racial humor to great effect for years, but Dave Chappelle, while working on a sketch about racist fairies, found himself in a situation where he realized that people were probably laughing at his racial humor instead of laughing with him. The stereotypes became the funny part, instead of the situations those stereotypes were put into. He did the only sensible thing a man can do in that situation: he hit the eject button and left the show to find some semblance of peace and re-center.
Uncle Ruckus is brutally funny. I've been rewatching The Boondocks, and as far as character concepts go, he has a stunning amount of depth. But he's also the character who most needs the context of The Boondocks -- the effortless satire, the fearless approach to humor, the wide variety of black characters -- to make sense. Removed from that context, Ruckus isn't much but a white supremacist's wet dream.
McGruder and company have a big challenge in front of them. The Uncle Ruckus Movie is, at the moment, an idea. There's no studio involved, and their hope is to raise $200,000 to produce and release an "R-rated theatrical comedy" written and directed by McGruder and starring Williams.
I won't lie: I'm a little worried about how this movie will end up, assuming it gets made. These guys have walked the tightrope with Ruckus for three seasons now, so I should have more faith, but I can't shake the feeling that The Uncle Ruckus Movie could very much end up being the racist fairies moment for The Boondocks. The line between a really good joke and a really ugly joke can be thin, and giving Ruckus his own spotlight seems like an almost-surefire way to tilt things toward ugliness.
Backing the project for $25 (the "Clint Eastwood" level) earns you a DVD of the movie, a backer button, and a selection of photos and music featuring Uncle Ruckus. Backing it to the tune of ten grand, the "Ronald Reagan" level, gives you a co-producer credit, a spot in the movie, tickets to the premiere, a signed script, and more.
Hopefully they can stick the landing on this one. I feel like if they don't, I'm going to have to deal with another few years of dudes quoting the movie at me at parties in an attempt to show how cool they are. If they do stick the landing... well, it wouldn't be the first time I cried with laughter while watching The Boondocks. Just check out the video below, which is absolutely NSFW.
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