Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Funnies

If you ask me, there are very few comedians today who know and understand the real art of comedy. Please understand that I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. But much of today's comedy is merely a collection of four-letter words, without which, the material depends heavily on and would not be the least but funny without them.

In my day, the four-letter word was used on occasion to stress a point. But it was not the crux of the joke, nor did it have to be used to make the material funnier than it already was. The material had comedic value purely on its own.

Today, we look at such a comedy troupe from my era that was not dependent on profanity. Who can forget the zany satirical sketches from Monte Python's Flying Circus?



Chuck said...

I have always thought that comedy, movies, music, etc that rely on profanity for effect are a mark of intellectual laziness.

Like you I am not a prude, I hear more profanity in a 12 hour shift at work than many people hear in a long long time.

If that is all you have though, it is not much.

Comedians like Jack Benny, Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, John Belushi, and Robin Williams are geniuses because they can make us laugh harder without profanity than most comedians can by using it. (I realize the later 3 can be profane but they can also be very funny without it).

The skit was hysterical, I'm leaving it up so I can show my teenage boys when they come home. They'll love it.

Anonymous said...

Exactly so. Masters of humor such as Jack Benny and Bob Hope, who worked for many years on radio, depended upon the audience’s ability to see in their mind the things implied on a radio broadcast. It required, in essence, the audience to participate mentally in the skit. With television, the audience became passive participants; far fewer mental skills to absorb events unfolding in front of them. And then comedians, such as Red Foxx, realized that it was possible to make a good living through shock humor in front of a slack-jawed audience; he and others introduced the use of vulgarity and the infamous ‘n’ word.

Masters of humor should also include Blake Edwards and his Inspector Clouseau series of films, which in my view were little more than a string of comedy skits spliced together into very funny films. Who could not feel sorry for the hapless Inspector while at the same time laughing to the point of tears? But even Edwards took an untoward turn with his film Blazing Saddles, which was far from his best work.

John Cleese did a golf commercial for Titlist a few years back; he incorporated Monty Python humor into his role as an infamous Scottish greens keeper. It was masterful because it required us to know something about golf and Scottish greens keepers in order to comprehend. And this is what Jack Benny told us about radio humor; audience participation through mental foreknowledge and their ability to form word pictures in their mind. You wont’ find this sort of thing on the Comedy Channel any more.


A.C. McCloud said...

I think comedy has gone the way of popular music.