Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Open Thread Thursday: What Makes You Laugh?

Recently, Jerry Seinfeld mentioned how he rarely performs at colleges because of how sensitive and “politically-correct” college students tend to be nowadays, and he’s not the only comedian to have expressed this sentiment. (Ironically enough, he’s since been lambasted over that sentiment by said college students, complaining about how they’re offended that he said they’re easily offended.)

This got me to thinking about what constitutes comedy, both for me and my fellow millennials. Lately, I’ve been feeling that much of what passes as “comedy” today, especially that aimed at millennials such as myself, just isn’t funny.

I don’t mean that it’s not funny in that it’s offensive. (Some of the best comedy is offensive!) I mean it’s not funny in that it doesn’t make me laugh. One bit! At best, it receives a blank stare from me; at worst, a groan.

For example, most of my fellow millennials seems to praise Sarah Silverman for being one of the funniest female comedians ever, and yet, I can’t watch five minutes of any of her “comedy” routines without reaching for the remote to change the channel—or rather, chuck it at the screen.

I also end up scratching my head as to why YouTube “comedy” channels like College Humor or Shane Dawson have so many subscribers when, most of the time, I get a better laugh from the 15-second ads that play before the video.

And do I have to bring up at how obscene it is that Seltzer and Friedberg keep making money off of making unfunny parody movie after unfunny parody movie?

This isn’t to say that I’m completely out-of-touch with my current generation. When it comes to the comedic zeitgeist, I agree that shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, while once revolutionary, have run their course while South Park still remains funny after all these years and Bob's Burgers provides a much needed breath of fresh air.

Otherwise, lately, I’ve been feeling that, much of what other people consider to be funny (Sarah Silverman), I don’t; while that which I do consider to be funny (Jeff Dunham), others don’t.

And this is something that concerns me. Somehow, it’s become taboo to claim that something is not funny, especially if it’s popular; and if someone dares to suggest such a thing, the knee-jerk reaction is to claim that they have no sense of humor.

That simply isn’t the case for me. I do have a sense of humor. There are plenty of jokes and sketches that make me laugh. It’s just that some forms of comedy don’t get so much as a snicker from me, and most of it is aimed at my generation.

I could easily chalk this up to comedy being highly subjective, and thus, what one person considers to be funny, another person does not. But I wonder if it’s something deeper.

I agree with Jerry and other brave comedians that most of my generation has become overtly PC, and I have to wonder if this has affected comedy as a whole. Many times, I try to watch comedy that is supposed to appeal to millennials as myself (CH, Buzzfeed Videos, Funny or Die), and many times, the “comedy” comes across as extremely bland and milquetoast, and when it does decide to become “radical” and “edgy”, it always aims at easy “lame duck” targets. (Seriously, how many times are people going to make fun of Sarah Palin? We get it! She’s dumb as a rock!)

I’m not saying that comedy is dead. Surely, good comedy exists, but lately, it feels like it’s hard to find.

But I want to know what you think: What do you find funny, and conversely, what do you not? What comedy makes you laugh, and what “comedy” makes you want to chuck rotten produce?

Leave your answers in the comments below. Allow me to start:

  • Stand-up comedians (Jeff Dunham, Jeff Foxworthy, Brian Engvall, Brian Reagan, George Carlin)
  • Internet reviewers (Nostalgia Critic, AVGN, That Jerk With A Camera)
  • Abridged Series (Yu-Gi-Oh and DBZ Abridged)
  • Internet comedy (How It Should Have Ended, Epic Rap Battles)
  • The Daily Show (Sometimes) and Last Week Tonight
  • Classic cartoons (Looney Tunes and Animaniacs)
  • Weird Al Yankovic’s songs
  • South Park
  • Robot Chicken
  • Rick and Morty

  • Internet “Comedy” (College Humor, Buzzfeed, Shane Dawson)
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Once good shows that have since run their course (Simpsons, Family Guy)
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Adult shows with vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity (Brickleberry, Mr. Pickles)
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Anything by Adam Sandler or Happy Madison (with the exception of 50 First Dates)
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Parody movies, especially by Seltzer and Friedberg (Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie)
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Doonesbury
  • Did I mention I don’t like Sarah Silverman?