There is nothing funny about Kim Jong-un’s funny haircut.

Just ask North Korea. They take their supreme leader supremely seriously. Their official state line is this: “Our military and our people regard the supreme leader as more precious than their own lives.”

Apparently this preciousness applies to his funny haircut.

Just ask Kiram Nabbach of the M&M Hair Academy in South Ealing, west London. He put up a poster of Kim Jong-un and his funny haircut in his salon’s window with the question, “Bad Hair Day?” Sooner than you can say “Kim Jong-un has a funny haircut,” he was visited by two members of London’s North Korean embassy who called the poster “provocation” and not only demanded it be taken down but also demanded to know who put it up.

Nabbach, his dander up, did not back down, telling the officials, “Listen, this isn’t North Korea, this is England; we live in a democracy so I’m afraid you’re going to have to get out of my salon.”

You tell them, Vidal Sassoon!

There is nothing funny about a Seth Rogen movie, in particular a Seth Rogen movie called The Interview where he and James Franco play two bumbling CIA agents sent to North Korea to off Kim Jong-un and his funny haircut.

Needless to say, North Korea did not find this funny. They gave the movie two thumbs down before it was even released, calling it “the most blatant act of terrorism and war [that] will not be tolerated [and] if the US administration allows and defends the showing of the film, a merciless countermeasure will be taken.”

This countermeasure was nothing short of “all-out war.”

North Korea also tried to hurt Seth Rogen’s feelings by calling him a “gangster filmmaker” who had let loose “gusts of hatred and rage” throughout the hermit kingdom.

(Imagine the unholy apocalypse and name-calling they would have unleashed if they saw Rogen’s The Green Hornet.)

Seth Rogen was unfazed by the threats of a nation fond of military panoply and shooting ICBMs sideways. “People don’t want to kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it,” he said.

North Korea did not stop at Seth Rogen. They decided to go after Sony Pictures by hacking into Sony’s computers and releasing, among other things, all kinds of emails in which all kinds of Hollywood people said all kinds of unkind things about one another. 

Declaring themselves the Guardians of Peace, Kim Jong-un and his ilk demanded the movie not be shown or else there would be continual threats of really bad grammar: “Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us. And, Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism . . . You, SONY & FBI, cannot find us. We are perfect as much.”

Today, Hollywood. Tomorrow, the world!

Hollywood surrendered. It cancelled the movie. In other words, the largest military organization in the world and its 6,600 tanks, 2,500 armored fighting vehicles, 1,600 self-propelled guns, 3,500 pieces of artillery, 700 multiple-launch systems, 460 jet fighters, 149 fixed-wing attack aircraft, 99 transport aircraft, 165 trainer aircraft, 203 helicopters, 20 attack helicopters, 1,061 naval vessels, 9,495,000 active and reserve soldiers and a few nuclear weapons won its first war.

North Korea 1.  Hollywood 0.

All this outrage from North Korea about mocking their supreme leader is a bit odd since Kim Jong-un himself has boasted, “The days are gone forever when our enemies could blackmail us with nuclear bombs.”

Yes, that’s a stretch, but apparently the days of blackmailing them with jokes about Kim Jong-un’s funny haircut and funny movies about goofballs killing him are definitely still with us.

Kim Jong-un doesn’t even like it when friends make fun of him. China likes North Korea, but North Korea didn’t like a video by the Chopstick Brothers, a Chinese pop group, that showed their supreme leader dancing and kung fu fighting. The video contains scenes of Kim Jong-un getting KO’d by President Barack Obama, getting pushed into a pool with a garbage can on his head, prancing hand in hand with Osama bin Laden through a field and having his pants fall down. In an effort to even things out, the video does contain a scene in which Kim Jong-un kicks a soccer ball through a bus to score a goal. 

This one scene did not smooth things over in Pyongyang. North Korea demanded China halt the spread of the video because it “seriously compromises Kim Jong-un’s dignity and authority.”

China declined. 

There is, however, a tad of precedent that says it may be wise not to fuck with Kim Jong-un. This is a man who had his uncle, Jang Song-theak, shot for “attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.” 

North Korea’s supreme party and state also called him names. They called him “despicable human scum.”

It could have been worse for the uncle; it was originally reported that Jang was fed to a pack of 120 hungry dogs.

Furthermore, my mom always tells me, “Sticks and stones will break Kim Jong-un’s bones, but words will really piss him off and could lead to getting shot, all-out war or getting fed to a lot of dogs, so watch your mouth, son.”

So, despite the potential of a merciless countermeasure, all-out war, being fed to ravenous dogs mean-spirited name calling and the advice of my mother, I decided to plow ahead with an art series called Kim Jong-un Is a Big Fat Sucker! It featured the supreme and supremely sensitive leader as a giant lollipop in no less than 10 delicious flavors.

I had reason to feel somewhat safer than Messieurs Nabbach, Rogen and Jang. In 2007, as part of an attempt at an art show called Bad People Have to Eat Too, I included a series called Kim Jong-il Is a Big Sucker! He, like his son, was depicted as a giant lollipop in 10 flavors: tangerine, piña colada, cherry, blueberry, licorice, lemon, lime, root beer, grape and watermelon. 

Fortunately, I escaped the wrath of North Korea. Unfortunately, I did not escape the wrath of some reviewers. One reviewer called the work “grating, shallow and self-satisfied.” Good thing for this reviewer I am not Kim Jong-un or who knows what merciless countermeasure may have come her way.

All wasn’t bad. A high-school history student really liked my Kim Jong-il suckers, writing, “Oh my Goodness, what are these giant lollipops! They’re all rainbow-colored too. Here I was at Vermillion Art Gallery and I had no idea who the giant head belonged to on all of these lollipops until I read the caption: Kim Jong-il is a big sucker! I was not sure who Kim Jong-il was, but I sure knew that I had never wanted a lollipop so bad in my life, than how I wanted one right then!”

Dear polite lollipop-loving high-school-history student, here are a few things to know about Kim Jong-il:

Kim Jong-il’s biography says his birth was “foretold by a swallow and heralded by a glorious double rainbow and the appearance of a new star.”

Kim Jong-il had a lot of nicknames: General, Leader, Great Leader, Brilliant Leader, The Dear Leader, Guiding Sun Ray, Shining Star of Paektu Mountain, Guiding Star of the 21st Century, Party Center, Sun of the Communist Future, Iron-Willed Commander and High of Revolutionary Comradely Love.

Kim Jong-il was a really short dictator. Kim Jong-il was 5′3″ short. Kim Jong-il wore lifts to make him 5′7″ short.

Kim Jong-il, like any dictator worth his salt, was sadistic, paranoid, antisocial, narcissistic, schizoid and schizotypal. Despite these faults, North Korean media claimed Kim Jong-il was the most loved living statesmen and countries all over the world celebrated his birthday with really big festivals.

Kim Jong-il was a really big Elvis Presley fan. Like fat Elvis, Kim Jong-il was fond of ill-fitting jumpsuits, really big hair and really big glasses.

Kim Jong-il spent $900,000 a year on Hennessy. Hennessy’s advertising slogan is Never Stop, Never Settle. Anyone consuming $900,000 worth of Hennessy a year is doing anything but never stopping consuming Hennessy. 

Kim Jong-il was a really big movie buff. Kim Jong-il’s favorite movies were Rambo, Godzilla and Friday the 13th. Kim Jong-il had a really big movie collection of over 20,000 titles. Kim Jong-il had South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choi Eunhee kidnapped to help build the North Korean film industry. The couple managed to escape while location scouting in Austria. In an effort to head off any future defections from his film industry, Kim Jong-il ordered his Ministry of Culture to “make more cartoons.”

Kim Jong-il invented the hamburger. Kim Jong-il, the Guiding Star of the 21st Century, according to North Korean media, created a new sandwich called “double bread with meat” in an attempt to “provide really good food to university students.”

Kim Jong-il is the greatest golfer in history. North Korean media said the first time The Highest Incarnation of Revolutionary Comradely Love played golf, he shot 38 under par and made five holes in one.

Rumor has it this led Tiger Woods to utter, “I am Kim Jong-il.”

Kim Jong-il had pteromerhanophobia. Pteromerhanophobia is a really big word for fear of flying. Kim Jong-il dealt with his pteromerhanophobia by having a private armored train built for him. Kim Jong-il had the train routinely stocked with fresh lobster while in the mid ’90s as many as 3,500,000 North Koreans starved to death. Kim Jong-il died on his lobster-filled armored train on December 17, 2011.

Got it, polite lollipop-loving high-school-history student? 

Urban Dictionary, in part, defines sucker as “a person, ranging from white trailer trash to upper class, who will take everything possible from society.” Anyone who gulps almost a million dollars worth of cognac, feasts on lobster, cheats at golf, wears elevator shoes, pimps his train with armor, has 20,000 movies, goes by no less than 12 nicknames, claims divine birth and says he invented the hamburger all while his nation starves is a big sucker—a really big sucker.

Kim Jong-il was a big sucker, a really big sucker—a really big fucking sucker.

As an aside, I will give Kim Jong-il this: he had tougher skin than his flabby-skinned son. The self-proclaimed Iron-Willed Commander suffered no less than the wrath of Trey Parker and Matt Stone in Team America. Jesusfuckingchrist, the two fathers of no-holds-barred and no-sacred-cows South Park turned Kim Jong-il into a fucking singing puppet who sang, off key, to such ditties as:

 I’m so ronery
So ronery
So ronery and sadry arone
There’s no one
Just me onry
Sitting on my rittle throne
I work rearry hard and make up get prans
But, nobody listens, no one understands
Seems rike no one takes me serirousry
And so, I’m ronery
A rittle ronery
Poor rittle me
There’s no one I can rerate to
Feewr rike a biwd in a cage
It’s kinda siwry
But, not reawry
Because, it’s fiwring my body with rage
I’m the smartest, most crever, most physicawry fit
But, nobody erse seems to rearrize it
When I change the worrd maybe they’rr notice me
And untiwr then, I’wr be ronery
Yeaaaaah, a rittle ronery
Poor rittle me
I’m so ronery

Hell, the Sun of the Communist Future should get another nickname for that—perhaps, Super Strong Great Leader Who Survived the Merciless Tauntings of Imperialist Capitalist Gangster Cartoonists Trey Parker and Matt Stone! But, unlike a hair stylist and Seth Rogen, they were not threatened with “all-out war” or called names. 

In other words, Kim Jong-il could take a joke.

Kim Jong-il 1. Kim Jong-un 0. 

Nevertheless, Kim Jong-un definitely has some big sucker shoes to fill. So, what kind of sucker is his son?

Kim Jong-un’s birthday is already a national holiday. Kim Jong-un’s birthday is January 8. Elvis Presley, David Bowie and Stephen Hawking were also born on January 8. Elvis, Bowie and Hawking are all fine and dandy, but none of them were a head of state, let alone a head of state at 28 years old. 

Kim Jong-un is the only person who can be named Kim Jong-un in North Korea. It is illegal for anyone to name a newborn Kim Jong-un and anybody currently named Kim Jong-un must change his name. I suggest Jim Jong-un. 

Kim Jong-un has a lot of nicknames, but not as many nicknames as his father: Great Successor, Outstanding Leader, Young Master, Young General and Brilliant Comrade. Kim Jong-un’s nicknames do not include either ’Lil Kim or The Young’uns.

Kim Jong-un thinks Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Dennis Rodman are FAN-taaastic! Kim Jong-un says he “spent hours doing meticulous pencil drawings of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan” when he was a little boy. Kim Jong-un’s favorite current NBA player is Kobe Bryant. Kim Jong-un had a brief bromance with Dennis Rodman when he invited him to North Korea on February 26, 2013. Kim Jong-un even invited The Worm to his private island. “It’s like Hawaii or Ibiza, but he’s the only one that lives there,” said Rodman.

Kim Jong-un is the world’s greatest trash-talker. Kim Jong-un has called President Obama a “clown,” a “dirty little fellow,” a “wicked black monkey” and a person “who does not even have the basic appearance of a human being” and who “still has the figure of a monkey while the human race has evolved through millions of years.” Kim Jong-BOOM!

Kim Jong-un’s funny haircut is regarded as the most stylish haircut in North Korea. Kim Jong-un’s funny haircut has not one name but two names: The Youth or The Ambition. Take that, Kiram Nabbach! Kim Jong-un cuts his own hair because he is afraid of barbers. There is no psychological term for fear of barbers. Chaetophobia is the fear of hair.

Kim Jong-un had cosmetic surgery to look more like his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. Yes, his grandfather is designated by the North Korean constitution as the country’s “Eternal President”; yes, his birthday is the nation’s most important holiday and is called the “Day of the Sun”; and, yes, there are over 500 really big statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea, but who in the world wants to look like their grandfather? 

Kim Jong-un launched the first girl band in North Korea in July 2012. Kim Jong-un personally picked and coached each member. In other words, Kim Jong-un is the Phil Spector of North Korea, only creepier.

Kim Jong-un has his own theme song. Kim Jong-un’s theme song is called “Onwards Toward Final Victory.” Kim Jong-un’s theme song has a video filled with images of marching soldiers, nuclear missiles on parade, tanks, ships, aircraft, artillery, torpedoes and rockets being fired and a few shots of mountains. The Guardian’s music critic, Alexis Petrides, commented favorably on the song’s “sheer ferocity,” and said, unlike other North Korean songs, it was not “boring as hell.” 

Kim Jong-un stars in his video game. Kim Jong-un’s video game is called Glorious Leader! Kim Jong-un rides a unicorn and a narwhal and defeats “American swine” in his video game. 

Kim Jong-un is the youngest military leader in the world. Army man-child Kim Jong-un has threatened to bomb Austin, Texas—yes, Austin, Texas. 

Kim Jong-un is the only fat person in North Korea. In 2012, Kim Jong-un spent $645,800,000 on bling, including cosmetics, handbags, lots of stuff made of leather, watches, electronics, fancy booze and fancy food and added to the world’s largest personal collection of Nikes. Kim Jong-un spent all this money on himself while 84% of North Korean households didn’t get enough food to eat, some feasting on soup made from grass and weeds. Apparently, to paraphrase the North Korean state line, people regard their supreme leader’s stomach and bling more precious than eating.

Like father, like son. In Kim Jong-un’s case, anyone who declares his birthday a national holiday, whistles his own theme song, hangs with Dennis Rodman, has five nicknames for himself and two for his hairdo, lives on his own island, has more Nikes than Michael Jordan, manages a girl band, has more bling than his country has electricity, spends $1.3 billion dollars a year on catawampus ballistic missiles, threatens to bomb Austin (yes, Austin) and fattens himself up on gourmet food and booze while a lot of his people dine on soup made from grass and weeds qualifies as a big sucker—a really big sucker.

Kim Jong-un is a big sucker, a really big sucker and—as the only fat person in North Korea—a really big fat sucker.

And as such, he should be mocked.

Of course, all this begs the question, “What’s so funny about a man who, among other things, declares his birthday a national holiday, whistles his own theme song, hangs with Dennis Rodman, has five nicknames for himself and two for his hairdo, lives on his own island, has more Nikes than Michael Jordan, manages a girl band, has more bling than his country has electricity, spends $1.3 billion dollars a year on catawampus ballistic missiles, threatens to bomb Austin (yes, Austin), fattens himself up on gourmet food and booze while a lot of his people dine on soup made from grass and weeds and feels threatened by a barber and Seth Rogen?”



Yes, I know the North Korean government won’t agree with me and neither would my mom.


North Korean state media today released the following statement: “If the arrogant human scum Jim Riswold, oblivious of the tremendous might of the KPA, makes even one Kim Jong-un Is a Big Fat Sucker in any flavor, especially cherry, an order will be given to destroy not only him and his leaky studio but also his lackey daughter’s pitiful apartment with a view of a wall, his son’s homosexual den in Hoboken and his ex-wife’s anti-socialist house in the Eastmoreland neighborhood of Portland.”

This, needless to say, upset my mother.

“Son, did you piss off Kim Jong-un?”

“Mom, I’m fairly certain getting called ‘arrogant human scum’ and having me and my leaky studio and my children and their respective dwellings threatened with destruction by the ‘tremendous might of the Korean People’s Army’ pretty much means I’ve pissed Kim Jong-un off.”

“I told you not to make fun of Kim Jong-un, but you never listen. I hope you know all this hullabaloo over your Kim Jong-un Is a Piece of Candy that nobody will ever buy has really upset your father. He’s in the backyard digging a bomb shelter, and you know at his age he should not be digging a bomb shelter.”

“It’s called Kim Jong-un Is a Big Fat Sucker!


“It’s not called Kim Jong-un Is a Piece of Candy. It’s called Kim Jong-un Is a Big Fat Sucker!

“Is that supposed to make North Korea or me feel better? Why can’t you just paint nice pictures of trees or fish or something like that instead of all that Kim Jong-un and Hitler art?”

“Because I can’t paint, Mom.”

When the drills turn into a battle, gangster artist clown Jim Riswold will be made to drink a bitter cup because of his lollipop provocation, unable to raise his bald and disproportionately large head, in the face of retaliatory blows of the strong revolutionary Paektusan army!

“Son, there’s nothing funny about getting beat up by Kim Jong-un’s army.”

“It’s really funny. It’s really funny that Kim Jong-un could get so upset over having his big fat likeness memorialized in a lollipop. Mom, you’ve always told me you’re glad I didn’t grow up to be a really bad guy like Hitler, Stalin or Mao or even a pip-squeak bad guy like Kim Jong-un, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about bad guys it’s that they don’t mind being called bad guys, but they sure don’t like being laughed at. Remember Voltaire’s quote?”

“Oh heaven help me, not the Voltaire quote again.”

“Mom, Voltaire said . . .”


“I’ve made but one prayer to God . . .”

“Oh, please, dear God, don’t let my son quote Voltaire forever and ever.”

“A short one . . .”

“Dear Lord . . .”

“Please Lord . . .”

“Make my enemies ridiculous.”

“Make my son stop with the Voltaire quote and, while you’re at it, please make my son stop with the Kim Jong-un lollipop.”

“And God granted it.”

“Son, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, a lollipop is not worth the wrath of North Korea.”

“Look on the bright side, Mom; it would be great for my career. Andy Warhol said, ‘Don’t pay attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches,’ and an artist with a ‘bald and disproportionately large head’ getting attacked by North Korea because of a lollipop would get a lot of press.”

“I don’t think Warhol’s mother would think it was all that great if her son was assaulted by the largest military organization on the planet.”

The time has gone when only words were made. We need to destroy the shameless running dog Jim Riswold and his disrespectful lollipop art of our supreme leader without mercy so that not a single black-hearted cell of him can survive to sign a document of surrender when the battle starts.

“Can’t you just apologize to Kim Jong-un or make a painting of him as a unicorn or Prince Valiant?”

“Mom, I told you I can’t paint. Plus, I think North Koreans have pretty much said the time for saying ‘I’m sorry’ has passed when they said nary a single black-hearted cell of mine would survive to sign a surrender document.”

“It’s never too late to say you’re sorry to Kim Jong-un.”

Mom, I’m not sorry for making fun of Kim Jong-un. Mom, I’m not sorry for making fun of his father. Mom, I’m not sorry for making fun of Hitler and his ridiculous cronies. Mom, I’m not sorry for making fun of Napoleon. Mom, I’m not sorry for making fun of Mao. Mom, I’m not sorry for making fun of Stalin. Mom, I’m not sorry for making fun of my two cancers.

Mom, don’t forget what your favorite philosophy teacher of mine, Ken Clatterbaugh, said when he said, “Jim’s art teaches us how to deal with monsters, be it a Hitler or a deadly disease.”

Laugh at it. 

Yes, we are told not to laugh at these people. Mocking them, laughing at them and satirizing them, we are told, trivializes their crimes. I would argue that only speaking about the Hitlers of the world in deadly serious tones actually pays these fools the reverence they so crave.

So, by all means, show Kim Jong-un as a big fat lollipop and Hitler with his pants around his ankles; put a clown nose on Mussolini; slap a “kick moi” sign on Napoleon’s back; give Mao some onion gum and put a whoopee cushion under Stalin. Lollipops, descended pants, clown snouts, kick-me signs, joke gum and whoopee cushions don’t mix well with the overbearing pride of these ridiculous fools.

Laughter may just be the best medicine to help people deal with their fears and the world’s horrors.

“Mom, did you hear the one about Hitler?”

“Hitler is not funny.”

“Hitler wasn’t all bad; after all, he did kill Hitler.”

“That’s funny.”

“Thank you, Mom.”

“I guess your Kim Jong-un lollipop is kind of funny too and so is his hairdo.”

“Thanks again, Mom.”

Mom, I did suffer one injury during the making of Kim Jong-un Is a Big Fat Sucker! 

I dropped the big fat mold on my foot. It hurt.”

Retaliatory blows of the strong revolutionary Paektusan army noted, Kim Jong-un.

Jim Riswold