If you are reading the Las Vegas Review-Journal right now in its printed paper form, that signifies you are a “brighter” and “more sophisticated” person, according to a poll I conducted Wednesday of one person: comedian D.L. Hughley.
“There’s still nothing cooler than picking up a newspaper,” Hughley said. “Anytime I see somebody with a physical newspaper in their hands, I know they’re brighter and a little more sophisticated.”
Hughley wasn’t just trying to butter me up so I would then tell you to go see him Friday and Saturday at The Orleans, but I am telling you to go see him Friday and Saturday at The Orleans.
Sure, Hughley is a stand-up comic, TV and movie star, and syndicated radio host.
But he started his adult life as a sales manager for the Los Angeles Times.
That’s why I asked him what he thinks the newspaper industry should do to stay buoyant in these everything-is-free-online times (because he is richer and more famous than us newspaper people he left behind).
“It has to be smaller and more intimate and more exclusive,” he said.
The ex-newspaper salesman in Hughley appreciates the way The New York Times puts a lot online but leaves much content to buy.
“People take a lot of pride in taking that newspaper and reading it Sunday. I think there should be things you can get only in the physical copy,” Hughley said.
“There are certain columnists you shouldn’t be able to get (online), and certain stories where you have to go pick up the newspaper.”
Hughley said the Internet obviously hurt the newspaper business.
He wonders whether another potential downside of the Internet/tech revolution is that we don’t experience as much human contact as we used to.
“I was reading an article talking about how people communicate so little” in person, Hughley said in a sentence that proves its own point.
“Why talk to somebody when you can text them? Why write a letter when you can email them? Why have a conversation? There are so many things getting us further and further away from human contact.”
Another downer about the Internet is, he said, “everything is a crisis.”
“A 305-pound man can get bullied on his answering machine, and he could make it a national story that dominates the news for a week.”
By the way, Hughley (who has a new Showtime special, “Clear,” coming May 2) has a dad who cleaned planes for a living, so I asked Hughley, as a “son of a plane expert,” where he thinks this missing Malaysian plane is.
He didn’t know.
“This definitely does put things in perspective. I’ll never complain about American Airlines losing my bags again,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines should be more comforting, he joked.
“They just sent out a text: ‘Your family member’s dead. Sad face.’ What the (expletive) is that?
“Every day, they go looking in a new part of the ocean, and it’s wreckage but it’s not THAT wreckage. It reminds me of when O.J. set up that reward for his wife’s killer, and they knew they were never gonna find anybody.”
Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.