Monday, July 23, 2007
Comedy is Insulting
Stand-up comedy is one of my favorite genres on TV (sit-coms, not so much, at least not since Seinfeld). I think what's not readily apparent is that comedy is about insulting and deflecting blame to someone. If you're cynical about life, yes, you can perceive it as humans getting their best kicks at the expense of someone else (and that's why Americans will never run out of bad French jokes, or the rest of the world will have their own share of bad America jokes) . So when you're doing good comedy, I expect there'll be two reactions. Either the audience will boo you as they feel insulted, or they'll laugh at it. The talented comics, I think, are able to insult their audience and still get away with it. Other comics who aren't as gifted, they get a lot of laughs from their audience by focusing their jokes on themselves (where it's only yourself you're insulting) and slowly move out from there (expanding to their family, their friends, their experiences, and ultimately their country or the human race itself).