This article is the opposite of the article that I originally set out to write, which was about Frank Fay, the Nazi-sympathizing fascist vaudevillian who invented stand-up comedy. I mean, it says right there on Frank Fay’s Wikipedia page that “[i]n January 1946, just months after Nazi Germany had been defeated, a rally of 10,000 white supremacists gathered at Madison Square Garden for a pro-fascist event called ‘The Friends of Frank Fay’.” That sounds like a good topic for a White Nationalist Website, right? “Hey, kids! Did you know that stand-up comedy was invented by a fascist?”
If you Google Frank Fay, you can find plenty of articles calling him either a fascist or a Nazi. In “The Warped, Hateful Father of Stand-Up Comics: Frank Fay,” the author mentions that Fay “held a hate rally at Madison Square Garden to support the Nazis, White Supremacists, Fascists and other lovely people.” And in “Fabled and Forgotten Frank Fay,” Ron Fassler calls Fay an “unrepentant fascist and anti-semite.” Since articles like that have already been written, I was going to write one that put a positive spin on him.
But as I was researching the article, I came to discover that while Frank Fay was indeed a raging anti-Semite, he was actually not a fascist, but in fact the victim of a malicious posthumous smear campaign by (((you know who))). As a result, now this article is about the dangers of blindly trusting Wikipedia, the importance of doing your own research, and about how Jews are liars. You probably already knew that last one, but it never hurts to have the occasional refresher. Instead of talking about “Frank Fay the fascist,” I will now be debunking the “Frank Fay the fascist” meme.
Now, we here at Counter-Currents see nothing wrong with being a fascist. However, we do see something wrong with calling people “fascist” who are not, strictly speaking, fascists. Granted, most of the public doesn’t even know what fascism really is, so in most cases, accusations of fascism tend to be nonsense. But here we have a case of someone going above and beyond to smear another as a fascist with out-of-context data, and in some cases outright fabrications.
The origin of this slander against Frank Fay appears to be a 2014 article called “The Fascist Stand-Up Comic” by one Kliph Nesteroff, a bestselling author who specializes in mid-twentieth century pop culture in general and the history of comedy in particular. Nesteroff is a regular contributor to NPR, CBC, and was consulting producer for the CNN series, The History of Comedy. He has been called “the human encyclopedia of comedy” by VICE Magazine, “the King of comedy lore” by L. A. Magazine, and The A. V. Club called him their “favorite pop culture historian.” I call him a fraud and a hack (and you can tell him I said that). Anywho, no article I’ve seen about Frank Fay written before 2014 mentions him being a fascist or a Nazi, while just about every one written after 2014 does. So it’s safe to say that he is the source of this meme.