Comedy, Ether and Cosby

mask comedy

Subtitle: The Opposite of Comedy Is Sexual Repression

There’s this thing about comedy that has lingered with me for a long time. I’ve often wasted a thought or three trying to figure out what it is. With some recent realizations/rationalisations, there might be worst-progress. For example. Is there something behind comedy? You know, something more than just laughter? Well, dear worst-reader, I hate to disappoint you. The answer is: there is not. I’ve reached this conclusion 1) because of the political satire shows on US television and 2) the recent inhuman and male debacle that Bill Cosby exemplifies. First. Let’s have a worst-glance at the political shows.

Believe it or not, shows like The Daily Show have supplanted real news in my beloved & missed #Americant. And that is worrisome. But here’s what really gets me about these shows and subsequently the(ir) comedy. What happens to comedy when the laughter is over? After the first few Daily Shows, which ultimately only mimicks European political satire, I thought: Ok; now what? In other worst-words, it bothers me that if I hear something funny and I know the humour was derived out of something profound, once the laughing stops, what happens to the profundity? (Wait. Forget that fact that such a question doesn’t even make sense.) I have to admit, the only comedy that has ever stayed with me is the stuff from George Carlin and Bill Hicks. Which brings me to the academia of the word “comedy”. Old Greek plays were called comedies yet they weren’t exactly funny. Ok. Nomatter. I won’t bore you with my lack of etymological knowledge. A better source for that is here. I guess what I’m not getting at is the idear that I think we need to find a new word for comedy. Or at least find a better word for the stuff that makes us laugh–that is also meaningless. Or maybe not. Either way, something gets lost in the world of comedy. I think that’s a shame. Moving on.

The second thing I want to cover today, dear worst-reader, is Bill Cosby. And how about a little bit of praise to get us started. I mean, I kinda grew-up with the man. I remember I SpyThe Bill Cosby Show and even various appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. And then there’s Fat Albert. Fat Albert was the only show on US television in the 1970s that represented more or less exactly what I saw in the hell of suburban #ameircant along side with public schooling. Even though I never really liked his comedy–I preferred George Carlin, Richard Pryor and eventually Bill Hicks–I admired the simple fact that Cosby refused to resort to what was then termed “dirty language” just to get a laugh. Heck, even Eddie Murphy made fun of Cosby when Cosby tried to question Murphy’s use of language. But that’s neither here nor there. I mean. What the fcuk! That said. By the time the 1980s came around and his infamous The Cosby Show, Cosby was long lost to me. Again. Once the joke has been heard, the laugh is over, what’s left? I guess, for Cosby, like so many other Hollywood careerists, you gotta find a wave to ride on. Which Cosby obviously did. But there was something seriously disingenuous about The Cosby Show. That show truly gave me the creeps simply because it was so unreal. And I don’t mean it was unreal because of the race issue. That level of family life was just waaaaaaay out of touch, man. Again. Waaaaaaay to much. Indeed, dear worst-reader, it’s obviously not hard to put the lie of the #Americant dream in the boob-tube. This is proven by the wave of animated shows like The Simpsons and South Park–that only emulate what Cosby did and what All In The Family did before that. And so. For worst-moi, two questions remain: 1) Is there something more to comedy and 2) if there is something more does it have more redeemable value?

Speaking of value. (Or was I speaking of profundity?) Isn’t Bill Cosby one of the first TV producers to earn something like a billion dollars for a TV show? (Seinfeld being the second?) The thing about Cosby is this, as successful as The Cosby Show was–and it was very, very financially successful–I hate anything that propagates a lie. And here’s where I have to return to the idear that we need to find a new word for people who make a living being funny. Because humour, more than ever, is now based on a situation (aka situation comedy) that is no longer (intrinsically) funny. Is it possible that the modern industrial world is suffering from a kind of comedy burnout? (Or maybe I’ve just heard to much of it.) So I guess there’s a reason that comedy no longer has anything profound to say–but enough profitability to make fun (of everything). For one thing, turning something profound into something comedic probably takes a bit more effort–at the least it diminishes the issue at hand. Political satire shows, including family sitcoms–especially since the likes of All In The Family is inherently political–need to stop hiding their politics. I suppose that’s why, perhaps, they’ve all become something akin to slapstick. Indeed. Conservatism ain’t funny, eh! Or. Perhaps they would be just as good if put in silent picture mode. But don’t get me wrong. To me it’s rather transparent that most comedy is highly intelligent–it’s just not an intelligence that wants/needs to make people smarter–it only need to make money. Take the likes of CK Louis or Louis CK. Whatever his name is. Talk about products of an assembly line of comedy, don’t you know. What a waste of brain power, too. He’s like a one after the other comedian. For if, when, he falls, he need not be replaced because, well, there are thousands others waiting in the wings–just like him. Does this remind anyone (worst-reader) of what became of pop-music? Anywho. That’s why Bill Hicks is on my list of great comics? The assembly line hasn’t replaced him yet. Am I wrong. (Btw, here’s a list of comics that is kind of mind-boggling.)

And so. Once the joke is over, once you’ve stopped laughing, everything the comedian said fades into the ether. Unless, of course, said comedian can break thru the/his/her veneer. Again. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying in any way to promote my bitterness (about life) by just hacking away at great and financially successful person(as). One thing I’ve learned having failed as a writer is to respect those that pull it or anything off that entertains people. Great comedians, to me, are writers, dear worst-reader, but they are also writers whose work, due to chosen circumstance, sadly gets lost in the ether (of giggles galore). And for that I’m kinda sorry. Luckily I have a few examples of comedians that were able to break thru the ether. Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks and my all time favourite George Carlin. To me, these writers… sorry. These comedians have been able to break thru that ether. And here’s the kicker of this worst-post. Bill Cosby, even though I don’t want to do it, must also be put on a great ether breaking list. The reason for that has nothing to do with his comedy, though. It has to do with the fact that this man is the embodiment of generations of sexually repressed American males who can only giggle but never really, truly laugh. And even though there is obviously nothing funny about Cosby’s demise, give credit where credit is due. At least, maybe, someone, somewhere, will learn something profound from Bill Cosby.

Rant on.

-Tommi