Comedy for Dummies


I remember being in third grade, grabbing the dictionary off the shelf, looking up the word “sex” and laughing with a classmate. That was followed by stern punishment. But when it comes to comedy it seems our taste has sunk to that low rung of the comedic ladder.

Now a wink and a nod or a jab of the elbow paired with just about anything one says, can be turned into an innuendo of some kind, though its usually sexual. Its difficult for one to speak or write for fear that ones words could be turned around and used to the advantage of a corrupt mind. I must admit, at first it was a bit funny and fun, laughing at the expense of another, but then is just got repetitive and old.

I remember one time I was sitting in a restaurant with some friends and one of them stated that just about anything can be made to sound bad. We then spent the whole night laughing at the fact that no matter what you said if you added an “if you know what I mean” or a “oh, sure that’s what you meant” to the end of a sentence, anything could be corrupted. But is that where we really are? Are we really to the point where we’ve corrupted common speech? The unfortunate answer to this question is a resounding yes.

Twenty years ago on The Cosby Show you would see Cliff and Claire always hinting at the fact that they were going to have sex. There would be a wink and a nod between Cliff and Claire at the end of an episode, and when you saw that you knew that they were going to make love. That was cute, it was also funny, but now we have a totally different situation on our hands.

Today in a regular old conversation you’ll hear about 20 “that’s what she said” comments. I must admit that I’ve said it before in my life, and it might have been funny at the time and it might be funny again someday, but its slowly getting old.

I was talking with my friend Gerry Cross at work about comedy and what is now thought to be funny, and he mentioned that new comedy is just too easy. And I agree with him. Reading into another persons words and twisting them around to make them sound crude or absurd is easy, its not difficult, and not honorable or desired. That email that you get at work of a crude picture or a person acting like an idiot is not difficult, nor is it noble or beneficial. There is a time and a place for stupidity, and sometimes it may very well be funny, it just seems that the amount of stupidity has grown to be more than we can take.

Charlie Chaplin:

“Cruelty is a basic element in comedy. What appears to be sane is really insane, and if you can make that poignant enough they love it. The audience recognizes it as a farce on life, and they laugh at it in order not to die from it, in order not to weep. It’s a question of that mysterious thing called candor coming in. An old man slips on a banana and falls slowly and stumbles and we don’t laugh. But if it’s done with a pompous well-to-do gentleman who has exaggerated pride, then we laugh. All embarrassing situations are funny, especially if they’re treated with humor. With clowns you can expect anything outrageous to happen. But if a man goes into a restaurant, and he thinks he’s very smart but he’s got a big hole in his pants – if that is treated humorously, it’s bound to be funny. Especially if it’s done with dignity and pride.”

But no longer are we dealing with actors like Chaplin, we are dealing with real life. Just visit Youtube and you’ll see what I mean. I unfortunately have to keep telling myself “people really are that stupid.” No longer is our entertainment “a farce on life,” this farce is life. We get a kick out of everyday debauchery. We, like me in the third grade, are basically laughing at the word “sex” in the dictionary. We’ve replaced honorable amusement with cheap and inane entertainment.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: