Old folks are hilarious; this is fact. There are countless stereotypical geriatrics who draw unintentional laughter thanks to the comedy of senility — curmudgeonly stumbling from one baffling and uncomfortable non sequitur to the next. Betty White destroys this platitude like it’s an easy-level crossword puzzle in the Tuesday morning Times. Here are 9 reasons why this 90-year-old woman is still the funniest person in show business.
1. 90 and still cognizant.
Betty’s wit, delivery, and timing are consistently razor-sharp on screen, which is no small feat even for a cynical twenty-something who dropped out of Harvard.
2. She plays beer pong.
Not only did Betty accept Jimmy Fallon’s challenge to engage in a game of beer pong (twice), but she also lost to him (twice). Meaning: She drank a lot of beer on late-night television (twice).
3. Cleveland seems kind of fun now.
After Lebron James took his talents (talent?) to South Beach, Cleveland was left with nothing but bad weather and Colt McCoy. Then Betty was resurrected and took her talents (talents!) to the shores of Lake Erie — or probably a studio in LA — where she stars as Elka Ostrovsky in Hot in Cleveland.
4. Obama approves her message.
If there’s one thing President Obama has changed in Washington, it’s the comedic culture. He embraces — and dishes out — jokes with trademark charm and grace. Betty’s visited 1600 Pennsylvania on multiple occasions. Perhaps to secretly work on a pilot called The White House and based on an old lady accidentally being appointed Chief of Staff?
5. Equal parts grandma and vixen.
I don’t know whether to ask her out or ask her for money to bail me out of Canadian jail. I don’t know whether to hang a poster of her up on my wall next to Anna Kournikova or frame a smaller image and endearingly place it on my desk at work. Help.
6. Seven Emmy Awards.
Betty owns more Emmy trophies than Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig combined – and equally as many as Tina Fey. Few comedians -- regardless of gender identity -- can stand beside her and not be dwarfed by her professional accomplishments.
7. Facebook Hall of Fame.
We all thought social media was for the young and computer literate. Oops. In 2010, Betty successfully parlayed a Super Bowl Snickers commercial into a viral Facebook campaign that landed her a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.
8. On screen since 1939.
From an eponymous gig in the 50s to The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 70s and a cameo on Community in 2010, she’s masterfully maneuvered the unforgiving comings and goings of popular comedy.
9. Honored in the UK.
In Yorkshire, England, there stands a lovely statue dubbed either “The White Cross” or “Fat Betty.” For my purposes, let’s call it “The Phat Betty White Cross.” This boundary stone was potentially constructed during the Golden Girls years as a tribute to Betty. There’s a round portion at the top, which symbolizes the poofy, white old-lady ‘do she’s rocked since the 80s. Squint a bit. You’ll see.