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Mohammad (2) vs. Ed McMahon

For yesterday’s contest, I gotta go with Mary Baker Eddy. James Joyce got off some memorable lines in his time but Eddy seems like she’d be a better speaker, especially if we could turn the conversation toward evidence-based medicine.

And now we have a battle between two great communicators.

It’s too bad these guys have to go up against each other. Ideally they could appear in a seminar together, with Mohammad expounding on Sharia and Ed McMahon replying, Heh heh heh.

But that’s not how it’ll go. The rules here are that only one of these worthies can advance to the next round. So whaddya say? Give it your best shot.

P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here are the rules.


  1. Shecky R says:

    YIKES!, now that you’ve posted a caricature of Mohammad (or is that ‘Carnac the Magnificent’?) all heck will probably break loose… thus, voting for Ed to show up with a case of Bud, and a colloquium on the REEEEAL probability of winning the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes all those years.

  2. Nick says:

    Something that I think needs to be clarified is the existence of a translator. I guess there must be some kind of translation, since Plato won the first round and I doubt there are enough classicists trained in ancient Greek in the audience to give a non-translated Plato the win.

    If there isn’t a translator, then McMahon has to win, because English. But if there is, then he loses. Unless “Heeeere’s Johnny” and knee slapping is some kind of highly advanced form of language (perhaps from aliens or brought back from the future) that can be translated to give us a cure for cancer, world peace, and longer battery life for smartphones.

  3. zbicyclist says:

    Mohammad must have had great charisma, and perhaps could explain what he meant in some of the more obscure passages of the Koran.

    Unless McMahon was handing out million-dollar Publishers Clearing House checks to everybody in the audience. That would swing my vote.

  4. Johannes says:

    1.6 Billion followers – that’s more than Justin Bieber. And Mo didn’t even sing.

  5. Ethan Bolker says:

    As a fogy who doesn’t even know who Ed McMahon is I need to go with Mohamed. Sorry not to be more willing to be brought up to date.

  6. Chris lbs says:


    It would be easier to have a flyer with the speaker’s image in everyone’s mailbox if you chose Ed McMahon–at least the proof of concept with Publisher’s Clearinghouse has shown that works.
    You might even be able to find a TV Spokesmodel winner from Star Search introduce him.

    Taking the guest out for drinks after the seminar would also be easier for McMahon than Mohammed.

  7. Robert Grant says:

    Harlem is the alternative Mecca of the 5% Nation / Gods & Earths (so I learnt from listening to the Wu Tang Clan anyway). Too good a coincidence and a hip-hop reference too. Just sayin’.

  8. Mark says:

    Man, oh man… think of how awesome it would be to hear a first-hand recount of the Thrilla in Medina! Mohammad vs. Smokin’ Job, like it was yesterday. Ali! Ali! Ali! Then to go on to found a religion after all of that. Man has talent.

  9. Chris G says:

    > Ideally they could appear in a seminar together, with Mohammad expounding on Sharia and Ed McMahon replying, Heh heh heh.

    I know there’s no excuse for my confusion but until I read “Heh heh heh.” I’d been thinking of Vince McMahon not Ed. I was going to go with Vince – would Vince not be an extremely compelling seminar speaker? – but I think Mohammad takes Ed in a walk. I had trouble enough making it through the first half hour of Carson. The thought of having to listen politely to Ed for a whole hour… Yeesh. No thanks.

    • Martha says:

      I agree with Chris. I wondered why McMahon was even on the list — I remember him as being bo-ring on Johnny Carson — the only thing he did that was halfway good was saying “Heeeere’s Johnny!” But any kid could do that as well as he did.

      Mohammed, on the other hand, would be really interesting, especially if he discussed which claims currently being made about him and his teachings are valid and which are not.

  10. jrc says:

    Ed McMahon, presenting a case study entitled “Sis-Bem-Bah” on the psychic powers of Carnac the Magnificent. That talk has it all – a sexy topic, a pun in the title and we learn what an exploding psychic sheep sounds like. That’s a seminar trifecta right there.

  11. Xi'an says:

    The only Mac Mahon of “fame” that I know is the 3rd French president, 1873-1878, whose only claim to fame is the sentence “j’y suis, j’y reste”. Given his dictatorial tendencies, I would rather not invite him to a seminar. As for Muhammad (محمد‎) I would suggest the subsitution by Bernard Maris, “Best Economist of the Year” 1995, who died on January 06, during the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

  12. Jonathan (another one) says:

    Ed McMahon’s talent is as a foil. Mohammad had talent with a saber, but had other skills as well, so I’m not on the fence.

  13. Robert Grant says:

    Wu-Tang aside, all Bayesians and fundamentalist frequentists alike stand to benefit from thinking awhile about what it means to be random. I admire the Muslim habit of saying inshallah after any statement about the future, because it just serves to remind you that you don’t know. Personally, I don’t think a supernatural agent is running the show, but plenty of people do, and under that framework, for a Bayesian everything is random and for an ultra-freq nothing is random (and so there is no such thing as probability). So Muhammad it is then.

  14. Matt Beaven says:

    Muhammad if we can stick him in the middle of Mosul, Iraq and teleconference the seminar while he watches misguided ISIS’ jihad.

  15. Robert L Bell says:

    Rich white asshole posting a cartoon of Mohammed is less a daring expression of free speech than yet another tiresome instance of the smug and self satisfied bullying the poor and the weak. Knock it off.

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