I agree entirely.  But even it the person is not a Herod, when the "outdoing" is mocking an Italian accent, it is not something positive. 
Generally, that is. 
Why, after all this, try to reframe the mockery as somehow ok or even good?  It was insensitive and clearly offended others. I'm not Italian, but I had the same response as others, and I really wonder it the accent being mocked were yours  it you would think it a positive act.
I don't see any further point to this because there is no way to make it positive to mock others for their speech.

>>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>02/15/10 12:22 PM >>>
putting it simply
Pointing to someone outdoing another in something positive is an act of approval.
Pointing to somebody outdoing another in something negative is an act of disapproval.
Generally, that is.

--- On Mon, 2/15/10, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
It's not comparable.  Herod is known as a tyrant and villain; Groucho Marx, I think, is not.  Obviously it depends on what or who is compared.

>>> Chokh Raj 02/15/10 11:40 AM >>>
"He'll out-Herod Herod."  Now read this as a statement of approval, if you will.

--- On Mon, 2/15/10, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
// Generally, "this will outsmart. . .!" will be read as approval, will it not? //

>>> Chokh Raj 02/15/10 10:54 AM >>>
"I know the voices dying with a dying fall
 Beneath the music from a farther room.
 So how should I presume?"
"And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
 Jug Jug' to dirty ears."
"Endeavours to engage her in caresses
 Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
 Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
 Exploring hands encounter no defence;
 His vanity requires no response"
"Twit twit twit
 Jug jug jug jug jug jug
 So rudely forc'd.
Pointing things out does not mean one's approval of it --
it may be an act of disapproval.

--- On Fri, 2/12/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Now this will outsmart any Groucho Marx !!

--- On Fri, 2/12/10, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
And then there was Groucho Marx's (or was it Yogi Bera?) famous quip:
If you come to a fork in the road, take it. ;->
I wonder what Frost with his famous New England reserve, would have made of it.
Sorry CR.
I couldn't resist :)
Too much free association. They should charge more.