I had a feeling that this was going to happen. A few days ago I posted Austan Goolsbee’s stand up bit, which came to me from the Wall Street Journal with the title Austan Goolsbee, Stand-Up Economist. Now, there is in fact such a thing as The Stand-Up Economist, who claims on his web site to be the first and only of his kind. (Sidenote: I keep thinking of “stand-up” as in “stand-up guy,” i.e. respectable and whatnot, in which case “stand-up economist,” or more importantly “only stand-up economist” takes on a whole new snarky meaning. Maybe it’s just me.) So you can imagine that Yoram, aka said Stand-Up Economist, was not entirely pleased when he came across the video. In fact, he took it upon himself to write an open letter to Austan Goolsbee, which I have reproduced below:
AN OPEN LETTER TO AUSTAN GOOLSBEE
Dear Austan: You might think that it was quite a shock for me–”the world’s first and only stand-up economist”–to find a Wall Street Journal blog with the headline “Austan Goolsbee, stand-up economist”.
But in fact I was not shocked, or even surprised. You and your colleagues in the Obama administration have been quite active in redrawing the line between the public and private sectors, and it would not have been rational for me to expect that economics comedy would be immune from the onslaught.
Now, I could take your comedy endeavors as a threat and respond by hiring lobbyists to protect my turf, or by making an appearance on Fox News as “Joe the comedian”. But unlike plumbers or insurance executives or most other private sector businesses, stand-up comedians oppose barriers to entry. Although it pains me to remember the times I was crushed in comedy competitions by high school drop-outs telling fart jokes, I also remember that those crushing defeats made me stronger.
So I welcome the competition, even from the government (heck, especially from the government!) and in fact this letter is an open invitation for you to come join me in performing at the American Economic Association humor session in Atlanta on January 3, 2010. The humor session is free and open to the public, and will also feature Hugo Mialon of Emory University, Jodi N. Beggs of economistsdoitwithmodels.com, and country music legend Merle Hazard. University of Wisconsin professor Ken West will be emceeing, so you can RSVP to him or to me, or just show up unannounced and wait for Ken to invite you onstage. We even have a title for your presentation: Stand-Up Economics: The Public Option!
Regards, and hope to see you in Atlanta,
yoram bauman phd, standupeconomist.com
“the world’s first and only [private sector] stand-up economist”
Cute. And I’m all for anything that brings a crowd to the humor session, so Austan, if you’re listening…bring it. 🙂