Every week represents a new wave of opportunities to want to quit comedy for so many people. “Oh he has an hour special!” or “How the fu*k did she get on Late Night TV?” or “Why does my bank balance have a negative in front of it – does that mean the bank owes me money?” Twitter is a constant stream of “93 retweets? You have to be kidding me!” and Facebook is an overflow of good comics spending too much time having to (or not having to really) defend themselves and bad comics claiming they are above having to defend themselves. I saw a “comedian” drop what I will call crude statements about the Cleveland rescue in succession, basically daring someone to say “you are not funny” so he could start yelling from the mountaintops “I am a comedian and I go to places you are afraid of!” And you just want to say in a calm and rational voice, “No – you are just not funny. Now you are offensive, but just because some people who are funny are offensive, does not mean it is a causal relationship. Funny can be offensive, but offensive does not mean funny.” But instead I just debated unfriending the person for 5 minutes for constantly flooding my Timeline with bad comedy. But because I am glutton for punishment I did not. But this inspired me to give you my top reasons why you should quit comedy this week (possible recurring theme)
1) Because a middle aged dude minding his business in Cleveland is funnier off the cuff and is way more charismatic than you are. There are a lot of unfunny human beings doing comedy and I like to imagine that Charles Ramsey, the hero from Cleveland, was probably a great up and coming comedian who did not test well with millennials or middle aged white people and was turned away from the industry. The bad news is, with these metrics guiding stand up comedy, comedy may suffer, but the good news is the world may have a lot of very funny and toothless heroes in the coming decades.
Now of course if you want other reasons to be annoyed – the video has 125 dislikes as of this typing – can we not find these people and eliminate them from society? A lot of people like the death penalty for murder. Not me. Those people are outliers who cannot be deterred usually. Prison is enough to deter the normal person. I am for the death penalty for things like littering. Because the average asshole who litters with a garbage can near him or the guy who gives a dislike to a video like this is probably making everyday life worse for more people.
And just like good comedy, don’t skip to the two minute mark like half the assholes on the web encourage you too – see the story and enjoy the buildup to some classic comedy!
2) Because the web is constantly looking for villains to put on cyber trial. This week there have already been two “controversies” regarding humor throughout my Internet circles. One is the article today from Slate about the response to Charles Ramsey. I cannot say I disagree with the general premise of the article, but I also think it ignores the fact that unlike some other situations, Charles Ramsey was actually a poised, confident and funny dude. I appreciate sensitivity to issues like this, but I also think it is part of the Internet’s 100% rate of finding a villainous angle to things. I am sure there are pockets of the population enjoying the Ramsey video for the wrong reasons – like if you are more obsessed with him saying ribs and “MacDonald’s”, than his great “Deeead Giveaway” tag line then you, to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, might be an asshole.
But the real story occupying many in the comedy world is the recent back and forth between a blogger and comedian Sam Morril. Here is the blog that started all of it. Sam wrote a fine response on Facebook and the blogger replied with this. I think Sam is funny and all of the jokes she cited have made me laugh in person. The only problem is that it is getting tiring and annoying to keep defending comedy. If Sam was not good at comedy then I would have a problem with his jokes. But they are funny and clearly intended as humor so the discussion ends there for me. But in a world where every slight and every incident and every thought has the potential to become viral or widespread this blow up is going to become the norm. Every person who is offended or unamused or somewhere in between has a bullhorn known as the Internet. And that would be reason enough to quit comedy this week, if not for number 3.
3) Because Comedians and the Internet always turn these issues into overly thoughtful circle jerks. At some point between hours 12 and 36 of a “comedy controversy” it becomes an irritating circle jerk of thought and debate. First comes the rallies to Sam’s defense, then come the attacks on the bloggers, then come the tweets and posts about “debate” and “respect” and “art” and then comes the congratulating each other even if on the opposite sides of this thorny “issue.” I actually saw two comedians have a semi-debate on Twitter and then have the equivalent of a social media hug it out and agree to disagree. One day, philosophers and school children will ask, “Which came first, the blogger who took comedians too seriously or the comedians who took themselves too seriously and made themselves relevant to bloggers?”
4) Because a manager arranged and cancelled two meetings (one by simply not calling back). OK this one was just for me, but a reminder that after a decade I still ain’t sh*t!
5) Because Funny or Die stole the Huffington post’s mojo and posted a list of funny women you should be following on Twitter. The only possible good that might come out of this is if the pro women on Twitter HuffPo folks get into an East Coast-West Coast war with Funny or Die’s female tweet fans and then both go down in a hail of bullets. See that is a murder joke, not a rape joke.