An essential quality in a modern person is the ability to accept that some things don’t make sense. There will always be unknowables and mysteries. We will all go to our graves without the answers. We must make our own answers, to maintain sanity, regardless of whether our answers are based in truth. We must move on.
What if we can’t? What if we lack this essential quality? What then?
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.
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.
If it were up to me, this entire website would be nothing but pictures of womens’ tits. Oh, except in the sidebar, there’d be a link to all the reviews I’ve written about Transformers toys. If it were up to me.
Wait a second… it is up to me. It’s my site. So why don’t I?
Good question. I could probably make a tidy income doing it. So why not?
Do you know what a “cold open” is? Sure you do. Every current sitcom you watch uses it. It’s when the show just begins, no fanfare, no opening titles. Right into the action, because the producers know you’ll change the channel if you have to sit through 30 seconds of the same music every week.
Congrats! You’ve done exactly what was expected of you, and nothing more.
“Cold opens” are like “cold sores”. They spread easily. Saturday Night Live has done cold opens since before you were born. You’re used to it in sitcoms. Hell, you were getting tired of the “typical sitcom theme”, anyway.
Last year, all I wanted to do was crack jokes about Hillary Clinton’s ever-smug face. Her daughter Chelsea, too. Throw in that awful Debbie Wasserman Shultz, and you’ve got a trifecta of ghoulish visages I was literally salivating to goof on. Caricature unflatteringly, at the least.
And I didn’t.
I didn’t make fun of the women at the Trump rally, either. I couldn’t; they were all attractive, and could possibly have shamed me as a man.
While the entire media industry decided to make fun of Donald Trump’s face, like a bus full of second-graders, I didn’t stoop to their level. And oh, they had a field day. They’re still doodling him as an anus, or a Cheeto. I’ve seen that illustration of Trump as a shit-spattered baby so many times I could forge it from memory.
I won’t touch it. I don’t respond well to condescension. I could contract full-blown AIDS, “Dear White People” could have the cure, and I’d die happily, blissfully ignorant, broth bowl in hand, tumbling to the linoleum with a smile.
Any white person who would willfully watch something titled “Dear White People” is fearful of people who aren’t white. Period.