February 4th, 2018 by Proprietor
Comedy is an art form that is difficult to master, but when mastered is a wonderful tool to communicate ideas to people. Comedy has been said to be more difficult to master than drama. In a comedy, if a joke is told, and it is not funny, it is just not funny. In drama, if a joke is told, and it is not funny, who cares, it is supposed to be drama.
I recently posted a list of comedies that I feel people should watch. Essentially it is a list of comedies that are in my DVD and Blu-Ray collection. I have not gone totally digital, and based on experience, those physical copies are sometimes the best thing in the world to have.
I eluded in the post that we as a culture have lost our sense of humor due to political correctness. This brain damaging washing that has gone on for decades has created a dead culture. Look at the current divisiveness and combativeness going on. A live culture with a sense of humor would not be tearing itself apart.
It is understandable that people might be offended by certain jokes. But, if you take a joke as being a joke, and it is intended to be humorous rather than mean, then suddenly you can laugh. One of the driving forces behind racial humor used to be stereotypes.
Stereotypes are a short hand, when one builds a joke, the longer one takes to set up, the more likely the joke will fail. Stereotypes are not intended to be derogatory, though there is derogatory usage of stereotypes. Stereotypes take a commonality or accepted concept as being common, and use that in a very rapid way of communicating. If you look at things as intended to be humorous rather than offensive, you can laugh. The concept is laughing with, not at.
Comedy is a brilliant teaching tool. A joke might cause someone to think about something more serious, and solve a problem. In history there was the fool. The fool was looked upon as the least position in a court. Except, the fool spoke to a king or queen in a way that would probably get other court people killed. Most of the time the fool spoke in the language of the common man, told jokes or stories that were intended to give the king or queen a different perspective. That was the main goal, give a different perspective, laughter being a tool.
Good comedy is like volley ball. Set, set, spike. Is how a good volley ball team works. Set, spike can be defended against very easily. But a set, set, spike method causes the opposing team to have to adjust, and delivers suspense or surprise. Good comedians used to use the set, set, spike method very well. A comedian would set up the first gag, move to the second gag, then deliver the punch line. Timing being crucial, so that the punchline got maximum laughs.
Today, many comedies are crude, and vulgar, using the set/spike method. The humor in an attempt to be none offensive, has made the comedy boring or sad. Ultimately in order to be none offensive the comedy has become an inverse, and offends people’s sensibilities. We have gone more into toilet humor rather than sophistication. That is why there are very few comedies from the 1990s or 2000s or 2010s in my list. I just did not find comedies from those decades to be funny. Granted, there was a lot of low brow humor in many of the pre-PC era comedies, but there was a greater sophistication in building other routines, as well as delivering a message.
Blazing Saddles, had base humor that was racial, the sight gags basic, but the message overall was one of people getting along regardless of skin tone differences. Humor was used to overcome prejudices. Because all humans laugh. Mel Brooks was worried about using a certain word, yet, many leaders within the black community, and people who knew Mel stated that they were not offended by the usage. It was understood the bad people in the movie were the only ones using a certain word. Because those people were bad, they used the n-word. The actor Cleavon Little understood what the usage was about as well. People whom are in my generation remember the movie fondly, and understand the message, and bemoan that it will never be remade or another like movie could be made, because too many people have no sense of humor.
Are we a better society when we can no longer laugh at ourselves?
Thanks for stopping by.