On the first of May, 2018, sometime about a half-hour before noon, a bar appeared underneath every post on the social networking site Facebook.
I had awakened earlier, in a panic attack, and been scrolling my “newsfeed” in a wrongheaded attempt to relieve my state of depressive shock. Believe it or not, sometimes it works. I find pictures of kitties, or baby hedgehogs, or pretty girls with their whatnots hanging out. Maybe an inspiring story or a naughty bit of humor. I feel better, and get on with the tasks of the day.
But this new snitch bar made things way, way worse.
I tell you this as a friend. It won’t be easy for you, but worthwhile things in life seldom are.
Your feelings deserve to be hurt.
No guarantee exists in life that your feelings will be unhurt. No more so than your bones or flesh. In fact; let’s start off with your bones. Remember when you were a little kid, and your bones throbbed in pain all the time? What did thegrownups call that?
Imagine if you will, a world parallel to our own, identical in many ways, disparate in others. Long story short, in this mirror universe, Bands I Useta Like was optioned by a major independent film studio, and made into a hit movie. It combined animation and live action, and because the producers had deep pockets, licensing songs for a decent soundtrack wasn’t a problem.
Whether I allowed the film to be produced at all was contingent upon the quality of the music choices. If they balked at a crucial song, or refused to include it, I would walk off the project. Which I did, and they replaced me on-screen with a real actor. Like I said, the movie was a hit.
The 2-disc soundtrack sold out of stores overnight. Even though it came packed in that shitty double jewel-box, which just winds up broken, on the floor of a car.
I love great sketch comedy, and as demonstrated on this site, I have tremendous nostalgia for the video industry of the 1980s and ’90s. By nature I am protective of those things, out of love. I have little tolerance of exploitation of them.
I believe the modern peak of sketch comedy came with two shows; Mr. Show with Bob & David, and The Kids In The Hall (both on HBO). Since the 1990s, these programs set the gold standard. Inevitably, new sketch comedy shows are compared to them, and they seldom hold up. I don’t think The State gelled until they became Reno 911. Broken Lizard has moments; generally one or two per film. Too many comedy groups nowadays are post-UCB; all manic energy, no focus. That’s fine if the group is performing live for an drunken bar audience. TV is a different matter.
Comedy stinks right now because you forced it to stink. You vilified every experience in life that makes a great comedian. You made the safe, sponsored version of laughter the norm. You’re so afraid to really laugh in front of other people, that you turned comedy from an anti-establishment weapon into a cottony security blanket.
Comedy stinks right now because of you. Because you’re afraid of your true feelings.
You probably don’t even know who this is.
Let’s take, as an example, one of these pusillanimous women that the media holds up as Queens of Comedy. You know the ones, I don’t have to name them. They’re all over glossy magazine covers at the checkout aisles, making “zany” faces to remind you they’re funny.
A gadfly is a person who interferes the status quo of a society or community by posing novel, potently upsetting questions, usually directed at authorities. The term is originally associated with the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, in his defense when on trial for his life. [Wikipedia]
Imagine if you visited this site, only to discover that I had renounced my acerbic commentary on the world of music, and devoted my time to interviewing popular musicians of the day, in glowing “puff pieces”. How would you feel?
I’m old enough to remember when Bill Maher was a stand-up comedian; i.e., a person who stands behind a microphone and makes people laugh. I have vague memories of Kathy Griffin doing the same thing. As far as I can determine now, Maher and Griffin just make people mad, by saying or doing something deliberately inappropriate, and then flaying open their breast in apology, crocodile tears a-flow.
Then they go back to being unfunny. Because funny ain’t what pays their bills.
More integrity and realism than anything Maher has done since.
I’m also old enough to recall when Maher’s show Politically Incorrect lived up to its name, instead of being a vehicle for trendy virtue-signals. My pal Jim Goad once made an appearance. It was far more fringy and loose. Now it’s a reductive caricature, a safe forum for “differing viewpoints” (vetted by the network/sponsors). It’s a funnier joke as it is than anything that ever came out of Bill Maher’s mouth.
I don’t watch Jimmy Fallon. I don’t like him. I never have. Why do I feel bad writing that?
He is robot, yes?
Fallon didn’t get the job because he had the most talent as a late-night talk show host. He got it because he was the available cypher. He never makes waves, or complains about pay. He has no opinions regarding corporations, no matter how toxic they are, or how much pressure they exert upon his artistic freedom. He loves karaoke because he loves to imitate. He is permanently star-struck.