Social Question

lookingglassx3's avatar

Is comedy still funny?

Asked by lookingglassx3 (2111 points ) February 1st, 2013

As you can see from my avatar, I am a silent movies fan. I’ve been a Charles Chaplin fan for a decade now, and recently began watching Buster Keaton films (I love them!). In my opinion, these men possessed true talent because they were limited in their comedy genre – for the beginning of their career, they had no sound, so they had to solely rely on visual comedy.

I also love 1970s comedy, such as Morecambe and Wise, Fawlty Towers, On the Buses, Last of the Summer Wine.

However I just can’t warm to today’s comedy. I find some sitcoms mildly amusing, but that’s about it. It seems like comedians rely too heavily on sex references, old jokes and do lame accents which aren’t even funny to try and get a laugh. What really frustrates me is when comedians only have to release one DVD before they’re labelled the ‘King of Comedy’. This happens with just about every male comedian in the UK (which is where I’m from, it might just be our comedians who suck).

By the way, I’m a seventeen-year-old girl, so if anything I should feel inclined to love today’s comedians and hate the silent comedians. Personally I do prefer visual comedy/slapstick, but I do appreciate verbal comedy as well. Is it just me, or are comedians not funny anymore?

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31 Answers

flo's avatar

It is not just you, now it is mostly just mean or sexual innuendo, basically.

longgone's avatar

comedy [kom-i-dee]
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: funny entertainment

yup!

longgone's avatar

I know what you mean, though. It’s hard work to find anything worth watching.

filmfann's avatar

Bless you child!

Keaton and Chaplin are masters of their craft, but neither were as successful as Harold Lloyd. He was also very gifted. Watch Safety Last, Speedy, and the Freshman.
Most recent comedies also leave me flat. I love the original Producers, Something About Mary, and Some Like It Hot. Woody Allen’s early work is very, very funny. Don’t miss Radio Days.
On television, Big Bang Theory and Friends are good, MASH was great, and no one beats Ernie Kovacks.
Even though you don’t like British comedy, don’t miss Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The Big Lebowski is very funny, but maybe you should wait a year or two.

lookingglassx3's avatar

@filmfann I’m just starting to watch Harold Lloyd! So far I’ve only seen Safety Last and thought it was pure genius. I really can’t wait to watch his other films. I’ll try some of the comedies you suggested, but if I have to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail one more time (my brother has autism and watching it used to be a daily routine for him) I swear I’ll scream. xD

@flo @longgone I’m glad it’s not just me who thinks so! All of my friends think I’m strange for not laughing at modern comedy. x)

longgone's avatar

I do second Friends, though. I also like Big Bang Theory and have just discovered Modern Family, which might be your thing as it’s not a typical sitcom.

filmfann's avatar

And, of course, South Park

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I discovered 30 Rock recently and watched every episode over the course of a few days. It had some of the funniest writing I have ever seen.

Unbroken's avatar

Yikes… Big Bang Theory made it on here… Ugh. Try Community. But Producers is funny Something about Mary and well I guess I have to go before I can add to the list.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Humor is subjective

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Oh I forgot, this is fluther
uh… New things bad! Old stuff good!

flo's avatar

Big Band Theory was a lot of sex related jokes. I stopped watching it, it might have changed. You have taste if you don’t like the comedy of these days. Hot in Cleveland, cleavage, all sex the plot lines, am I wrong?
@Michael_Huntington but If it is true it is true.

gondwanalon's avatar

Have you seen The Dictator By Borat? I About split a gut laughing! Oh and please don’t confuse “aladeen” (like) with “aladeen” (don’t like). HA!

zenvelo's avatar

For a real classic get some WC Fields movies, like “The Bank Dick”.

I view the progress of comedy the same way art has changed over the years, or movies, or novels. As it gets older, the newer stuff has to be different and edgier. The old stuff is still funny, but once you’ve heard Richard Pryor or George Carlin, it’s hard to go back to Bob Newhart or Alan King.

The expansion to stand up everywhere in the late 70s and early 80s made it just that more difficult. Anyone new has to push the envelope.

Thank goodness he old stuff will still have you laughing your head off!

ragingloli's avatar

@gondwanalon
this is my favourite scene in the movie.
Unfortunately, overall, Borat was much better.

woodcutter's avatar

So many people having to be all PC now there is a limit to it sometimes. Things that were funny 50 years ago might not be now. I mean consider David Letterman….not funny.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I personally get nothing out of “British humor.” I think only one British comedian has ever made me laugh. I barely ever get why their jokes are funny and always assumed it was just an American/cultural thing.

I also don’t find silent comedies humorous, or most slapstick bits. I’m more of a fan of the modern, raunchy, offensive, politically incorrect stuff that you seem to dislike.

Like someone already said, humor is subjective.

chewhorse's avatar

Then you need to reintroduce yourself to Red Dwarf.. It may not be your type of humor but as an American, I completely fell for this series, have the entire series on disc, the movie and now Red Dwarf X that I just ordered. I also enjoy “Open All Hours” (own the complete series) and all the other wonderful comedies of you’re country.. (not too crazy about Mr. Bean but did like blackadder).. There’s not many comedies on this side of the pond that’s really humorous.. some but not all. Keep experimenting with the oldies as you are unique.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@ragingloli I preferred Bruno. “Dolce and Gabbana, hello!” :)

Sunny2's avatar

Don’t forget John Stewart. He’s always good for a chuckle or two.

Unbroken's avatar

What about when Harry met Sally. That was fantastic.

TrinathSM's avatar

Check out the brahmanadam funnies

ucme's avatar

Of course it is, it amazes me when people attack comedians because they don’t find them funny. I mean, wow…you don’t say, move on!
As has been said, humour is massively diverse, one man’s funny is another man’s misery/offense. Harold Lloyd was a master of his craft & for me, put all the other “greats” in the shade. Fawlty Towers is another fine examle, Morecambe & Wise, legends of their time.
I don’t analyse my comedy, if it makes me laugh then that’s good enough for me, Catherine Tate/Sarah Millican/Lee Evans/Rik Mayall/Frankie Boyle being just a few current faves.

thorninmud's avatar

I completely agree about Harold Lloyd

It’s a lot like musical tastes, right? I have a really hard time seeing the appeal—or even the musicallity—of much of what’s popular on the music scene today, but that’s probably because I long ago stopped sharing music with friends. The music that you associate with good times with friends will occupy a special rank in your preferences. Like music, there’s a social aspect to comedy.

On the whole, people tend to get their cues about what’s funny and what isn’t from people around them. That was the insight that led to the horrid but effective “laugh-tracks” of early sitcoms. And it has been shown that you will laugh more when viewing comedy in the company of others (even if that “company” is just the studio audience) than you would watching it alone.

That means that there will be broad cultural shifts in the popularity of comedic styles. But there will always be outliers, like the OP, who are less inclined to be influenced by popular consensus.

I remember discovering Jacques Tati for the first time. He was popular in France in the 50s and 60s, and I was living in France when he died (early 80s). The TV channels played a lot of his films as a tribute, and I was absolutely enchanted with his subtle visual (and audio) comedy. But I remember going into work and effusing about him to my French colleagues, expecting them to echo my appreciation, and finding instead that they couldn’t believe that I found that stuff funny. Meanwhile, the French still think Jerry Lewis is hilarious.

flo's avatar

Just because people laugh at something doesn’t mean something funny happened or someone is funny, wouldn’t you say?

thorninmud's avatar

@flo That’s certainly true. In a group, people are 30 times more likely to laugh than when alone, but only about 30% of the laughter is in response to something that’s intended to be funny. But it’s also true that you’re much more likely to laugh at comedy if you hear others laugh at it, and your mind will interpret that laughter as being a response to the humor, not to the laughter of the others.

flo's avatar

@thorninmud “you’re much more likely to laugh at comedy if you hear others laugh at it,...” I agree. It reminds me of one of the comedian’s segments where they are asking random people on the street “What do you think of the superbowl?” or some event that hasn’t occured yet, and they answer like they witnessesd it with details too!

They have “laugh tracks” for a reason. Or is it “canned laughter.”?

And “edgy” seems to be just mean.

flo's avatar

Ooops @thorninmud you already pointed out the laugh tracks etc.

flo's avatar

Is A fish called Wanda funny?

Response moderated (Spam)
chewhorse's avatar

Why are we no longer awe inspired about putting a man on the moon, or marvel at the tallest building in the nation? Comedy has been around for a long time (ever since alley oop bopped his cave buddy over the head with a stick that broke).. What comedy that has been said and done through the ages is still being cloned, the difference is that before it had first been done, it had never been done before. Try this.. When your with your friends, tell them an hilarious joke and watch their reaction, then everytime you all meet up again, tell them the same joke. Everything eventually gets old and we are now (and have been for a few decades) at the point where even potentially funny comedians can’t bring old jokes back and make them sound fresh.. and sexual innuendos or blatant cursing isn’t accepted as humor by the majority of Americans.

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