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#146679 - 02/19/06 03:36 PM Can I laugh now?
Poetaster Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 01/20/06
Posts: 2334
Loc: East Coast, USA.
Where has the humour gone?

Artificial humour is a growing trend it seems. Apparently, the perspective is gone. No longer are people allowed to appreciate a naturally funny event.

Hollywood has noticed this trend and taken measures to exploit it through movies such as Scary Movie, Not Another Teen Movie and most recently Date Movie. Are people not able to determine "funny" anymore?

I'm of the opinion that humour is something you either have or you don't. Laugh tracks and applause signs abound in this age of 'it's-okay-to-laugh-now' productions.

Novelty is slowly dying in the comedy world, and the perpetrator is the zombified consumer of comedic cliches. When did this begin? No longer does the saying go "taped in front of a live audience" but rather it's now "live in front of a taped studio audience." Give me a break.

Stand-up has even begun to suffer from this malignant cancer. I turn on Comedy Central with anticipation, because I'm sure the Comedy Central presents stand-up comedians will have something fresh. Boy am I in for a rude awakening. Everything is a cliche now. If it's not a joke about ethnic stereotypes, gender specific do's and dont's, monetary partitions or neo-cultural trends it doesn't get talked about. What happened to the George Carlin's, Abbot & Costello's, Richard Pryor's and Bill Cosby's of the comedy world?

Is this a cultural phenomenon? Or do people just not know what a sense of humour is anymore? Do they think laughing mechanically at the things they are told to laugh at is a sense of humour?

Then there's the other side of the coin. People who are so tense and serious that their mere presence makes you want to scream. They move through every day with a perpetual scowl, as if a mere chuckle is going to bring about their death.

These people find this sterilized and provided humour hilarious. They don't really know if it's funny or not, they just know they're supposed to laugh; because everyone else is laughing.

Humour is a virtue, without it, life is dull and stressful. I've always been able to laugh at myself. I find the things other people don't consider humorous and they make me laugh until my sides cramp. I've always found the most humorous to be the most boring to those without a sense of humour.

Find those ironies in life; they're not hard to find if you have a sense of humour. Irony is the greatest source for comedy - in my opinion. It's not just any irony that makes for great comedy, but the irony which comes from tragic situations that people bring upon themselves. Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I think the ability to spot the humour in these situations is the proof of a balanced sense of humour. Like Dr. LaVey said, "Some things cannot be anything other than ludicrous. Others cannot and should not be funny." A person with a sense of humour can figure this out for themselves.

Do you have a sense of humour, or do you laugh when you're told to laugh? Can I laugh now? I once said that self-awareness is a Satanist's greatest weapon. Combine that with a sense of humour and you've got a truly dangerous package.


Over and out. Hail Satan!!
_________________________
"People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in our halls of power. The only thing we should respect in a personís faith is his desire for a better life in this world; we need never have respected his certainty that one awaits him in the next."

- Sam Harris





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#146680 - 02/19/06 03:44 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
Linguascelesta Offline

CoS Warlock

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 2352
Loc: Europa
I agree wholeheartedly.

Actually, one or two comedians have started to notice this. I saw a certain British comedian on an American show, and she refered to someone with a certain style of clothing having "a neck like Joan Benson", and paused briefly, and sure enough, the audience laughed at the joke. Then she added "By the way, that's not some really famous person that it's just you that hasn't heard of... It's just someone I know who happens to have a really fat neck".

Each member of the audience who laughed did so because they didn't want to be seen to be the one who didn't get the joke.

The Emperor's New Joke, anyone?

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#146681 - 02/19/06 04:45 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
chimera Offline


Registered: 05/22/03
Posts: 94
Loc: Sacramento, CA U.S.A.
Titter-titter; guffaw; HeeHeeHee-SNORFT!!
There are different reasons for humorousness. The Cognitive Disonance humor where your mind is set afloat and nervous and somewhat timid and afraid.
The 'you just violated accepted social norms and tabboos and emberrassed the crap out of me in public' humor.
The 'I've been there too, and it was just as stupid then' laugh.
The 'clever and witty insight that I'd never have come up with in a thousand years, but is blindingly obvious now that you mention it' deep moan...
A BIG, LOUD, Expressive and juicy sounding fart will bring nervous giggles every time. Is that having a scents of humor...
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#146682 - 02/19/06 07:38 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
Charlotte Offline


Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 66
Loc: California
Wonderfully said. Odd, I was thinking about this same thing just the other day.

The more numbed and media-saturated the populace becomes, the more important it becomes to impress their peers with their jaded outlook. Thus, the "sophisticated" meta-humor that comes from a rigorous curriculum of pop culture consumption. At times, it almost seems to be a competition in which the winner is the most desensitized and depressed member of the group.

Incidentally, I find it fascinating how not watching T.V. or taking in the latest movies changes one's outlook. I haven't watched television in years, and don't own a T.V. set. Never had cable programming, nor the desire to. I am literally unable to engage in conversations with some people, because almost everything they have to talk about revolves around some show they're obsessed with, or the latest celebrity gossip. That is, when they're not complaining about their self-created problems. It's no surprise to me that so many people are on Prozac and the like: they're miserable and detached from reality.
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#146683 - 02/19/06 08:26 PM A suggestion. [Re: Poetaster]
Nemo Offline
CoS Magister

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 12571
Loc: Point Nemo s48:52:31:748, w123...
If you want to find classic humor then stop looking for it on television programs or cinema and just watch people ... or read the news.

People - a neverending saga of buffoonery and slapstick.

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#146684 - 02/20/06 11:55 AM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
Maya Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 1447
Loc: New England
Indeed, lately it seems as if good humor in the mainstream has been flushed down the shitter, along with good music in the mainstream.

Your mention of laugh tracks got me thinking about something I haven't thought about in a while. I have long thought that laugh tracks are an exercise in herd conditioning. I have come to this conclusion because I have observed others having a different reaction to the same scene in a television show depending on whether or not there is a laugh track (sometimes laugh tracks are removed when a show is released on DVD.) I have wondered if I am the only one who has made this observation.

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#146685 - 02/20/06 02:38 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
tovasshi Offline


Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 1415
Loc: Banana, Canada
I have seen many examples of this. It is indeed robotic. I went to go see a movie a few months ago. It was one of those movies that has been advertised to death. The same funny scene was being played over and over again for said ads on the TV. While in the theatre this scene comes up and everyone laughes their asses off as though they have never seen the scene before at all. It was also the part of the movie every laughed at the hardest.

There is often a trend with 'humour' for the mainstream folk. A friend of mine calls these trends "Idiot movies."

1) Black person meets white person, haha funny. Black person is stereotypically black, loves R&B music, wears all kinds of bling bling and has a nice car. The white person is uptight, dresses in either soft colors or drab blacks. Somehow the white person ends up being convinced of the superiority of the black culture. This concept has been overly done and for some reason all the same jokes are funny every time.

2)Men vs. Women movie. For some reason, these movies always portray the guy as having somekind of mental illness where he can't look after himself to 'woman' standards. The comedy comes when he tries to meet said standards and fails.

This list goes on, but for the sake of this post I am only going ot require these two examples.

They are called idiot movies because they have no real creativity put towards them. They use the same over done jokes over and over again and everyone seems to find them to be the funniest thing they have ever seen, when just weeks before they saw another movie exactly like it. When in said movies, these people look around as they laugh to be sure their friends are laughing as well. It is very rare that a new concept, or at least a not so overly done concept comes out.
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#146686 - 02/20/06 02:51 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: tovasshi]
Poetaster Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 01/20/06
Posts: 2334
Loc: East Coast, USA.
Quote:

When in said movies, these people look around as they laugh to be sure their friends are laughing as well.




It's funny that you'd mention this. I recently had a cinema night, and during the movie a particularly humourous scene came along.

I found it to be hilarious and could not stop laughing. The movie theatre was jam-packed and apparently myself and one other person were the only ones to find it humourous.

The kicker, however, is that the fellow directly below me - who happened to be the only other person laughing - looked around at all the other people just staring blankly at the screen and decided it wasn't as funny as he first thought it was. Apparently he was embarassed because he slouched in his seat and did not make a sound for the remainder of the film; I kept laughing for another minute or two.
_________________________
"People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in our halls of power. The only thing we should respect in a personís faith is his desire for a better life in this world; we need never have respected his certainty that one awaits him in the next."

- Sam Harris





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#146687 - 02/20/06 04:08 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
Bill_M Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 07/28/01
Posts: 11558
Loc: New England, USA
>>Where has the humour gone?

Why here, of course!

But seriously, I see you've brought up some points from Dr. LaVey's essay "T'ain't Funny, McGee". This is a subject that I can go (and have gone) on and on about, but I'll try to keep things short here.

>>If it's not a joke about ethnic stereotypes, gender
>>specific do's and dont's, monetary partitions or neo-
>>cultural trends it doesn't get talked about.

Don't forget the hack routines we've all heard a thousand times. In some rare cases you can find a piece that's on one of those subjects you mention, but is very witty and has an original twist to it. But again, they're rare.

>>What happened to the George Carlin's, Abbot &
>>Costello's, Richard Pryor's and Bill Cosby's of the
>>comedy world?

I think that like "good" bands, they do exist. You just have to dig pretty deep, and not expect TV and mainstream radio to bring it to you. But that's not what the herd really wants. These days people find more appeal in comedians who either cater to self-righteousness (which is why comedy audiences do more cheering than laughing these days), or appeal in the same way some violent video game does (all shock, no wit). I do try my best to present a variety of stuff on my show that I've personally found to be "good" comedy without repeating much.

>>They don't really know if it's funny or not, they just
>>know they're supposed to laugh; because everyone else is
>>laughing.

There certainly are some ways of artificially inducing laughter. The laugh track is one of them, although of course it doesn't always work. Also having a colder room is said to be better (I can tell you from first-hand experience that Ed Sullivan Theatre employs this for Late Night with David Letterman).

I wouldn't say that having a laugh soundtrack from a live audience is necessarily there to manipulate the listener. Some forms of comedy just depend on how it reacts with an audience. I've heard some stand-ups do the same routine in different shows and it will be slightly different due to the audience's reaction to different parts and how the comedian does the execution based off those reactions. A lot of people don't realize how much execution plays a role in comedy, and sometimes it's as important as the material when it comes to making or breaking a routine.
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#146688 - 02/21/06 12:07 AM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
uncleherpe Offline


Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 499
i think laughter is more of a reflex than a concious choice. Ive laughed at some insanley innapropriate moments before. so I dont really look down on people for laughing at things. I find humor in the type of crap 12 year olds think is funny. "he fell down. duurrr ha aha". <<thats me.
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#146689 - 02/21/06 09:44 AM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
dragondancer Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 1546
Loc: Virginia
I find I have to make my own humor, find it in everyday life. There's plenty out there, what with the incredible stupidity of humanity.

It is very satisfying to exchange old, worn out jokes with my ten year old, who of course, has not heard them and thinks I am just the funniest person on earth! Then she finds out everyone knows those jokes and the jigs up.

I also find some of the kid's movies out very funny. The humor is subtle, made for the adult audience so it goes right over the kid's heads, which makes it even funnier. I found this to be true in movies such as "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit" (of course that is British humor, which I find hilarious anyway). Another one is "The Emperor's New Groove" with David Spade as the emperor turned llama. It's a ridiculous movie but the script is pretty funny at times, and David Spade delivers it well.

I just keep laughing anyway. I find humor in even the most tragic of days, it is what keeps me sane.


Hail Satan!
_________________________
"It does take an exceptional mind and a still more exceptional integrity to remain untouched by the brain-destroying influences of the world's doctrines, the accumulated evil of the centuries-to remain human, since the human is the rational." Dr. Akston in Atlas Shrugged

"Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued." Socrates

Dragondancer
Temple of Vampire


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#146690 - 02/21/06 10:34 AM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: Poetaster]
crackergirl Offline


Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 323
Loc: Kansas
I like the movie "Office Space." It always makes me laugh. As far as the stand up thing goes, yeah, I know exactly what you mean when you say it's gotten really bad lately. Lewis Black is the only comedian that's still working right now that I really like. I never knew candy corn could be so damn funny.
The good comedy is still out there. Comedy Central is all right, but they don't always hit the mark. You just have to look for the funny stuff sometimes. Like you said, if you truly have a good sense of humor, you can find something to laugh at pretty much anywhere.

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#146691 - 02/21/06 10:46 AM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: dragondancer]
TrojZyr Offline
CoS Witch

Registered: 07/25/01
Posts: 12990
Loc: The Solid State
Ah, two good choices there, Dragondancer.

I have a pretty broad sense of humor, spanning from witty, to ironic, to just plain stupid. Most of the jokes I make typically fit into the "ironic sarcasm" or "goofily-worded/described absurdity" category---think Jon Stewart and Monty Python.

The only type of humor I'm starting to tire of is the snarky, pessimistic, cynical "VH1"-style sarcasm. "Nothing matters, and everything is stoooopid, and life has no point, and we're oh-so-sophisticated to have noticed, sneer sneer." There's a time and a place for that humor, of course, but it seems like everybody and their brother uses it repeatedly--especially, ironically enough, when they themselves are just as stupid and shallow as whomever or whatever they're mocking.

I wrote a rant on Cynicism once, but I can't seem to find it now. It may be too old....
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#146692 - 02/21/06 04:03 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: TrojZyr]
dragondancer Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 1546
Loc: Virginia
Quote:

The only type of humor I'm starting to tire of is the snarky, pessimistic, cynical "VH1"-style sarcasm. "Nothing matters, and everything is stoooopid, and life has no point, and we're oh-so-sophisticated to have noticed, sneer sneer." There's a time and a place for that humor, of course, but it seems like everybody and their brother uses it repeatedly--especially, ironically enough, when they themselves are just as stupid and shallow as whomever or whatever they're mocking.




That is one of the problems these days. Whenever they find something that works once or twice it is done to death. It becomes sooo old, so fast, that it is no longer funny. Music is the same way, I might like a song I hear, but after I hear it twenty times in the same day I no longer like it. Why do they do that?


Hail Satan!
_________________________
"It does take an exceptional mind and a still more exceptional integrity to remain untouched by the brain-destroying influences of the world's doctrines, the accumulated evil of the centuries-to remain human, since the human is the rational." Dr. Akston in Atlas Shrugged

"Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued." Socrates

Dragondancer
Temple of Vampire


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#146693 - 02/21/06 04:14 PM Re: Can I laugh now? [Re: crackergirl]
uncleherpe Offline


Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 499
I really, really miss upright citizens brigade and strangers with candy. I think I like shows more than stand up- they have been playing roasts a lot lately, which I like(except the jeff foxworthy one- why the hell were the dead guys from the sopranos on stage??)
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