I’m learning more and more that people really do have very different views on what’s funny. That’s weird to me, since I’m pretty sure I know what is and isn’t funny. But maybe I don’t.
Take “30 Rock” that show with Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. Now I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but I just don’t get it. I was at a holiday party last night and this guy kept going on about Alec Baldwin this and Alec Baldwin that. Well you know what? Alec Baldwin is mildly amusing, but he’s not funny. He just isn’t.
I have tried to watch that show on several occasions mainly because I’m a Tina Fey fan. She was wicked funny on SNL, but not really on “30 Rock.” The writing is just ordinary, and these days with so many choices, ordinary just doesn’t cut it. Good stories draw you in. They help you forget your troubles and make you believe in their world. But with that show, I found myself writing my “To Do List” on the coffee table.
The other thing that got me thinking about what is and isn’t funny was a botched collaboration attempt with a friend, for our comic strip, “The Malaprops.”
I asked my friend to be a guest illustrator and I sent him a few scripts. Instead of just a simple no or yes, I got a dissertation on the “correct” way to write a comic along with revisions. You can imagine my response. No it wasn’t that bad. We’re buddies. But it made me realize that two people truly can have completely different view points on humor. I know this is no amazing revelation, but I just assumed humor was obvious. Apparently it’s not!
So what or whom do I think is funny?
Chelsea Handler on “Chelsea Lately.” Her monologues are just OK, but her biting wit on the round table is priceless. And of course there’s Chuey.
Seinfeld. The writing is masterful. And the cast. Perfect frankly.
C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters. Wicked!
Dilbert. I’m amazed that the strip is funny day in and day out.
The Hangover. I laughed out loud……..Four times. That’s rare.
The Colbert Report. What’s so funny, is that I never quite know if he’s serious. He keeps me guessing.
Richard Pryor, before he lit himself on fire.
Kids. Not necessarily my kids, although I think they’re funny, but kids in general. Their enthusiasm just cracks me up!
Monty Python. At least I used to think it was hysterical. I watched the “Holy Grail” with my oldest a few months ago and I still thought it was good, but not as good as I remember. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was my 30th time watching it. Oh damn, that number keeps coming up.
So maybe funny can’t really by pinned down. It wouldn’t do well in the UFC Octagon because it can’t be forced into submission. It’s subtle and nuanced just as we are. And clearly our sense of it changes over time as we “evolve” and grow.
But damn, “30 Rock” just isn’t funny!
Please share what’s funny to you.
And will SOMEBODY PLEASE enlighten me on this “30 Rock” thing. I truly would like to follow the masses. I’m all about being a worker bee.
“ONE of THE GUYS”