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RocketSquid's avatar

Is humor a dying art, or am I just getting old?

Asked by RocketSquid (3483points) November 6th, 2009

I’ve noticed that movies and television comedies seem to rely less on a finely crafted joke or honestly funny situation and more on catch phrases and standard sexual references. Am I just out of touch with the witty movies of today or am I becoming and old man at the ripe old age of 26?

The main shows I use for this point are the early Saturday Night Lives and early Mad TV. Mad TV relies almost exclusively on characters, who seem to spit out their catch phrases no matter what’s going on in the skit. SNL had it’s catch phrases and known characters, but they were full dynamic characters that reacted differently to whatever situation they where in. And these were mixed in with a good amount of original skits. I have a couple of other movies I’ve compared, like Space Balls and Scary Movie, but I’m wondering if maybe I’m not looking in the right places.

To conclude, am I old and nostalgic, or am I just looking in the wrong places and comparing the wrong movies?

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25 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

D. All of the above.

poisonedantidote's avatar

it seems to me that humor is getting more and more commercial, and also quite weird.

it seems they expect us to laugh at things just because they are weird. monty pithon is probably what started it all off on that track. but at least they where not just being weird and random for the sake of it.

i do enjoy weird humor some what, but only when its done properly.

erichw1504's avatar

Humor is ever-evolving and will never die out!

dpworkin's avatar

OK @erichw1504 Choose between having a single channel TV with The Honeymooners or The King of Queens. Or The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Or The Bob Newhart Show. Or Your Show of Shows. Or All In The Family. Or Maude. Just sayin’.

Haroot's avatar

Charlie Chaplin once said, “In the end, everything is a gag.” There’s humor all around you. From comedians on stage, to couples breaking up. From life, to death. There’s a joke behind all of it no matter how bad it is. It just depends on what you find funny.

The issue with comedy now days is the originality factor. One can argue that all the material has already been used in some shape or form. When comedy shows like Family Guy or whatnot can’t develop a “good joke,” the resort to said catch phrases, taboo subjects, slapstick and modern pop-culture references. These are kind of the fall back jokes. A man slipping on a banana peel is always going to be somewhat funny.

But that’s just my opinion.

erichw1504's avatar

@pdworkin The King of Queens is exceptionally hilarious. So is Everybody Loves Raymond once you get into it (you have to get to know the characters to experience the humor at it’s fullest).

dpworkin's avatar

You dodged the question.

Sarcasm's avatar

As the great Bender Bending Rodriguez once said, “Eh, comedy’s a dead art form. Now tragedy, that’s funny”

I gotta agree. So much comedy out there just makes me wonder “really? You thought this was funny?”

dpworkin's avatar

The great Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I get a paper cut. Comedy is when you fall in a sewer and die.”

DominicX's avatar

I’ve noticed that shows like Family Guy like to repeat things when they think did something that was funny. It was funny the first time, and then became less funny. It doesn’t matter what it was—it could’ve been sexual, taboo, it could’ve been pop culture, it could’ve been completely random. Different people find different things funny; I funny all the above funny depending on the situation. I was laughing my ass off at Peter posing as James Woods describing his new movie “September 11th, 2000-Fun!”. Yes, it was “taboo” and “outrageous”, but the way it was presented was very funny to me.

But I do not like repetition. This is why I prefer The Simpsons to Family Guy because The Simpsons relied on less repetition and pop culture references (I don’t know much about the new episodes—those suck anyway) and made the characters themselves end up in funny situations; that is the best comedy in my opinion.

As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t much avoiding “catch phrases” (whether they’re actual phrases or not) because characters (and even real people) begin to have noticeable traits that manifest repeatedly in different situations. A certain person may act a similar way in a similar situation; it’s just who they are and it can be funny. It’s unreasonable to expect a character to be completely original with all of their thoughts and actions; that’s not how real people work; we all have patterns of behavior and reactions.

erichw1504's avatar

@DominicX Except for the original Kool-Aid man scene. Yeah, all the repeated ones weren’t as funny, but the original will always be hilarious.

DominicX's avatar


And that’s how it generally works. The first time is the funniest, then all the subsequent repetitions are less funny.

dpworkin's avatar

Yep, the old repetition deal gets boring. You hear the same thing over and over again. It just repeats and repeats. One statement is much like the one before it. You don’t really learn anything new. It’s all just recycled. It seems to go on forever. It really is annoying as hell. It’s quite irritating. Like a mosquito, just buzzing, and buzzing, meaninglessly. It becomes kind of contentless. Purposeless, you might say. And a wretched bore. Did I say bore? Yep, it’s boring, all right. Bores me to tears. Bores the shit out of me.

jayvly's avatar

Sorry dude, your getting old! Nothing greater than humour. It has many healing properties.

PapaLeo's avatar

Re: repetitious comedy. A running gag artfully done can be quite funny. For example the “African swallows” references in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” But repetition trying to recapture the original humor is just being lazy.

I find it interesting that @RocketSquid references SNL as being classic comedy. I’ve always, since the beginning, found SNL to be tiresome because they would endlessly repeat skits that were funny only the first time. How many times did we have to sit through “Roseanne Roseannadanna” or “Jane, you ignorant slut” thinking, “Okay . . . I get the joke. Let’s move on, already.”

Clair's avatar

Just like visual arts, it changes.

nxknxk's avatar

I will cite Arrested Development as a combatant against the death of intelligent humor.

But that show was canceled because nobody watched it.

faye's avatar

I stil find humor in something everyday! TV and movie humor is hard to find and what I get a kick out of, you might not. i worked with a lot of young people and i “missed’ some of their jokes. Every generation, i guess. Ron James from the Maritimes can keep me laughing thru his whole show. I don’t watch any of the sitcoms because i know the way the scene is going to end when I see the beginning.

ratboy's avatar

The one good thing about aging is the attendant decline of memory functions. No matter how many times you’ve heard a gag, it’s the first time every time.

janbb's avatar

Are those the only two choices?

dpworkin's avatar

@ratboy And, you can hide your own Easter eggs.

bea2345's avatar

That’s why I have stopped watching sitcoms. (amazing, the spell checker doesn’t object to “sitcom”).

YARNLADY's avatar

Just like any other art, there is such a wide array of different approaches, it changes from time to time. There can be the slap-stick, the joke, the burlesque, the pun, the vaudeville, the sarcasm, the wisecrack, and on and on. Some people find one type funny, and not another type. I don’t think it’s a matter of “dying” but simply “changing”.

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