I like late-night TV comic James Corden. He might even be my favorite of the night-owl comics. His “Carpool Karaoke” segments rank right up there with David Letterman’s Top 10 Lists in terms of being so consistently funny. (I recently posted one of his karaoke bits, in case you missed it, of him with Stevie Wonder. See here.)
But I was disappointed last night to watch him do a long riff on Payless Shoes going belly up, with plans to shut down almost 400 stores.
Payless Shoes gets all kinds of bargain hunters from all socioeconomic stations in life who are looking to save money.
But the retail giant appeals especially to low-income and poor shoppers. Especially at back-to-school time, when the kids of rich people like James Corden are getting fitted for shoes in Hollywood boutiques, many of them by well-compensated nannies.
Comedy and satire is supposed to be about bringing down the rich and powerful a notch–not the poor and working poor among us.
I’m a fan of Corden and will remain a fan, and he can be forgiven for getting laughs at the expense of those on the bottom rungs. Truth be told, I got a chuckle or two out of the bit myself.
That said, I’m sure the thousands of Payless employees who are now jobless weren’t amused–nor were the spiraling number of retail employees who have been laid off from giant mall stores being moth-balled every week.
The hemorrhaging of retail jobs is one of the most under-reported news stories around these days, right up there with robotic technology putting working folks like coal miners out of work at a fast clip.
Jesus loved the poor, the downtrodden, the vulnerable.
If you can’t bring yourself to love those folks, at least don’t kick em when they’re down.