[ExI] quote of the day

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 18 21:11:17 UTC 2020

On Sun, Oct 18, 2020 at 8:30 PM spike jones via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of ...
> >>... a sense of humor...
> >...You have me pegged!
> _______________________________________________
> Comedy seldom ages gracefully.

I've seen old TV shows too where the humor is definitely out of date
because what's socially appropriate has changed. For example, with a
friend I was watching The Dick Cavett show on YouTube. He recommended
it because it has many directors we both are interested in being
interviewed. (Such as? Ingmar Bergman and Robert Altman. Both great
directors in his and my reckoning.) Well, it also has interviews with
musicians. So we watched a few of these. And Cavett made a joke about
chasing a gay guy for his scarf -- which I didn't find funny at all.
I've also seen many ethnic jokes on old TV shows which definitely
wouldn't fly today -- and aren't all that funny anyhow. (Then again,
have you see long-running Family Guy series, which trades in cringe
humor. Certainly, shows like Veep or its British predecessor The Thick
of It are full of stuff I wouldn't repeat in mixed company and the
former was on regular TV. Ditto for a show like Life in Pieces.)

> Consider the 1983 standup routine by Eddie Murphy, Delirious.  My friends
> and I had just gotten out of college where we were out of contact with the
> real world for four years.  We had no idea what was socially acceptable and
> what was not.
> OK, big party, many of the attendees church people.  Someone put that on a
> new invention we had only heard about: video tape.  Murphy went into being
> Murphy.  About a third of the group was shrieking with laughter.  Many were
> very uncomfortable and left.  I wondered at the time how this comedy would
> age, how we would view it 30 years down the road.  Now we know: very clearly
> that routine wouldn't fly today.
> Good comedy must have a hook: it must somehow surprise and shock.  That gets
> harder and harder to do.  Many stand-up comedians have given up the college
> circuit: the students have become far too sensitive to entertain.  The ocean
> cruise crowd is far easier to entertain now, the over-60s.  We have already
> been shocked and grown accustomed to it.  We are pre-desensitized by guys
> like Eddie Murphy.

Well, to be fair, the college circuit is constraining today, but much
cringe humor -- aimed at being very shocking -- is probably found
online, at comedy clubs, and on cable/pay TV comedy shows.* It might
be market segmentation at work here as well as organized opposition on
campus. A comedian who won't modify their work for the campus can find
other outlets. I'm not saying this is optimal, but if you're looking
for that kind of humor, it's not like it's completely disappeared from
the culture.


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* Aside from the ones mentioned above, The Peep Show, Fleabag, South
Park, Curb Your Enthusiasm are good examples. There's lot to cringe
about in all these.

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