I’ve been thinking a lot about how my stand up has changed since I did comedy back in college on the West coast, and so I wrote this thing about one of my old jokes that I ended up adapting after coming to New York City. Before I say anything else, I want to point out that my experience in comedy is limited. I did relatively minimal comedy before coming to New York and I’ve been here for just over half a year. So, in terms of the East/West differences I’m writing about, they only come from my limited personal experiences, which I suppose could have been different for anyone.
Hello! I’ve been working hard on this story so that I could submit it to a comedy festival…and I just finished it! It’s a story about a trip I took to New Orleans with my grandpa. It’s pretty damn long, but I really do like it a lot. I’m not just saying that. Give it a darn minute of your time and see if you like it!
I’ve been sitting on these two videos for a while, not realizing that they totally go together. They are both about political correctness. So they go together. But they are opposing views. So I’m putting them together.
John Cleese thinks “we can’t have comedy and political correctness at the same time.”
Paul F. Tompkins thinks “political correctness keeps comedy fresh.”
There are more subtleties to their arguments than that. So, watch these videos because they are interesting and you’re a smart person who really likes watching interesting things! You can find more about the John Cleese video here. You can find a transcription of what Tompkins says in his video here. You can find nothing here.
I didn’t know what the big think (the people who made these videos) was before now, but it seems pretty cool. Here.
So, NO! I haven’t had the time to read and watch all of this because it takes freaking forever. But, I think that looking at the history of comedy is really cool and this timeline is a great synopsis of some things that helped shape it.
Looking at the really old stuff is especially useful for me because I know very little about it. That’s for sure. There’s stand up, sketches, TV shows, cartoons, pretty much any comedy thing you can think of in this timeline and it all has a little blurb about what makes it important to comedy.
Some of the choices are a little selective (i.e. one single line from a movie). And I don’t agree with all of the choices being that influential. And I also can think of other things I’d put on my timeline that aren’t on this one. BUT that’s what makes it fun!
Tons of great video and audio clips to accompany this article, so CLICK THIS LINK AND FRIGGIN READ IT! I’m using a lot of caps lock today.
Here’s who put it together, by the way:
“The list was put together by Vulture senior editor Jesse David Fox; New York senior editor Christopher Bonanos; comedians Wayne Federman, Phoebe Robinson, Halle Kiefer, and Rebecca O’Neal; comedy historians Yael Kohen (author of We Killed) and Kliph Nesteroff (author of The Comedians); and journalists Elise Czajkowski, Matthew Love, Katla McGlynn, Ramsey Ess, Dan Reilly, Jenny Jaffe, Lucas Kavner, and The Guardian’s Dave Schilling. (Fox, Bonanos, Keifer, O’Neal, Czajkowski, Love, McGlynn, Ess, Reilly, Jaffe, Kavner, and Schilling wrote the blurbs.)”
If comedians have a bad set, they’re always like, “I’m gonna go kill myself!”
And then everyone is like, “HAAAAA! THAT’S THE FUNNIEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD!!!!!!!!!”
Which I think is dumb. To me, it’s not funny to just say you’re gonna kill yourself. That’s not a well-written joke. I just feel like it should feel more hacky to other comedians by now. Like, if you want to have a mental disorder, then get more creative with it, right?
How about something like, “Man, there were so few laughs in this set that I’m gonna have PTSD!!! I know that’s a real thing that people actually have but I don’t care!!!”
Or, “This set was so bad, when I go home and my wife wants to have sex with me I won’t be able to get hard!”
Or, “After this I’m gonna go home and have me some bulimia so I can puke up all that shit I just ate on stage!!!”
Here’s an article that talks about a bunch of reactions to Schumer’s accusations and kind of puts a lot of the hype all in one place for you to digest. I also listened to the Joe Rogan Podcast the other day with Hannibal Buress on as a guest. They’re both friends with Amy and think she wouldn’t steal a joke. Rogan thinks there is, however a serious “creativity problem” on the part of someone who is involved with her writing for TV, or else this many issues wouldn’t come up. TV writers are under a lot of stress to come up with new material on the daily. That would explain some things. Just one opinion out there.
Admittedly, my ignorant young self knows nothing about Carol Burnett. But, a comedian friend shared a quote of hers from this Hollywood Reporter interview that I thought was interesting:
“Today the suits say, “It’s got to be fast.” So I think some of the writing isn’t good anymore. Now sitcoms sound like they’ve been written by teenage boys in a locker room.”
I agree. TV writing today is just punchlines in a lot of shows, which to me gets old. That’s not how life works. Some of the best sketch writing builds up to a climax. A lot of great sketches or TV shows are more “thinkers” than laugh out loud funny and the pressure for have every second be funny to compete with people’s short attention span I see as detrimental.
Stand up writing is actually very similar in New York. Here, you gotta have punchline, punchline, punchline or else no one will listen to you. I think there’s a lot of great comedy that isn’t like that, so it’s nice to see someone else saying, “Slow down!”
I actually don’t think anything else in the interview is that interesting, but please do read it if that tickles your fancy. And then you’ll know just about as much about Carol Burnett as I do.
This past Monday I went to Whiplash at UCB in Chelsea for the first time. It was an amazing show and all the comics killed. Sean Patton headlined the show, and I’m not sure that I’ve seen him perform before. He’s a totally different act than what I’m used to seeing and it was pretty refreshing. And Patton especially murdered.
Anyways, I’ve been sharing a lot of articles and such lately so I figured it was time to get some more videos going. Here’s a fun one.