Monday, October 1, 2012
By: William G. Muir
It's once again Monday morning dear readers and that can only mean on thing. And you know what that means? You say you don't? Well let me clue you in, it is time for me to once again share my opinions with you. So settle in, this will not take to long, let's hope.
Today I will be raging against what I consider lazy comedy writing. I just love comedy, who doesn't. But I am saddened by the state of today's comedy scene in America. To me it seems like from stand-up to television shows and movies have all started catering to the lowest common denominator. Instead of taking time and crafting humor with some substance behind it; today's comedy writers go the easy way out and use toilet humor.
It's all to easy these days to get laughs. All that a comedian has to do is walk on stage and say a few foul words; talk about penises and vaginas and the crowds are roaring with laughter. This is nothing more than sophomoric humor. And yet audiences full of adults are laughing their butts off to this stuff.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a total prude. There is a place for this kind of humor, but that place is in the bedroom of teenager listening to a comedy CD.
I am not also saying that there is not a place for blue comedy. I have laughed at comedians that are telling boner and drug joke. But that can't be all the joke is about. The joke has to have more levels to it than how the comedian got an erection from seeing a really hot girl, or how they once saw something on drugs. For me the joke has got to have some kind of meaning. I outgrew the Sam Kinision, and any comedy that star Pamela Anderson. I want there to be more shows like Arrested Development.
The problem is shows like Arrested Development do not last long in this country. The audience for such a show is to small, or the network executive don't like them (probably because of the low numbers) and kill them before they ever really have a chance. So I must turn else where to get my laughs.
So where is it that I find my laughs these days? I find them in the country that gave us one of the greatest comedy troops ever seen, the UK. Yes the birth place of Monty Python. I first saw the Pythons through their movies And Now for Something Completely Different and The Meaning of Life when I was a little boy. It's safe to say at the time they were the funniest things I have ever saw.
The thing I really enjoy about British comedy is that nothing is off limits. While here in the US there are areas that sitcoms will not go into. In the UK they lampoon everything. Unlike American shows, shows in the UK are not cookie cutter clones of one another. Here almost every sitcom is usually about a father who is so put on, and his family shows him no respect. And there is always wisecracking neighbor who is the funniest character because all the main characters have to be clean and non-offensive. In British comedies there are no wisecracking neighbors because the main characters are free to take the piss out of everybody they meet.
There are still some good sitcoms on American television, The Big Bang Theory comes to mind. But they are very few and far between. The simple fact is that for a show to be successful it has to appeal to the widest amount of people as it can. Otherwise the network cannot make any money from it. Because of this a formula has been developed for what makes a hit show. Very few shows dare to stray from this formula, so what we end up with is a TV schedule full of shows that are basically clones of each other. And if one show does dare to something just a little bit different and finds success, you can be sure every show will be doing it next year.
Unless it happens to be something that might have some substance behind it.