Friday, August 08, 2008

They Know You'll Like It.

I know I've written on the topic of humor before, but I believe that a lot of what I said in that earlier post bears repeating. The problem is that people tend not to believe me when I say I'm not going to appreciate their particular favorite. "Why don't you just give it a chance? How can you say you won't like it if you aren't willing to give it a try?" The answers to these questions are fairly basic because I provide them so often. The one thing in our existence that is absolutely finite is time. We've only got so many hours to spend, and many of them are used for sleeping and working. I value my leisure time as much as just about anything in my life. It's crucially important that I spend it with forethought and reflection.

So no... I'm not ever going to see Blades of Glory. You can keep your copy to yourself. I'm not going to see the new Seth Rogan or Judd Apatow flicks. Watching The 40 Year Old Virgin is not part of my plan. I know that you think it's funny, and that you are convinced that I'm "missing out". I'm willing to live with that. No matter how hard you try to persuade me that I'll find that wacky decapitation scene funny, I have to assure you that I won't. You can also keep your dick-caught-in-zipper, turd in the swimming pool, latent homosexual, masturbatory humor, etc. Please accept my assertion that I am not judging you or your tastes. I am no better or more discriminate a viewer... we simply have different preferences when it comes to comedy.

I don't appreciate being told that the reason I prefer not to see these movies is because I am an "elitist". My aesthetic has almost nothing to do with what groups of people feel about a specific item. There are lots of folks who found Borat hilarious, and I agree with them. But on the other hand there were a host of viewers who felt that Dumb and Dumber was a comic masterpiece. Not me... no thanks. Maybe if I smoked pot I would understand why that was such a popular movie. However, I am not going to start doing drugs just so I can groove on that vibe. Again- your life is your own, and you are welcome to it. There will be plenty of common ground for us to share, so don't get offended.

I've come to the conclusion that humor is one of the most arbitrary and personal amusements in existence. Try asking someone why they think one thing is funny, and yet another is not. You'll quickly come to discover that few people have a vocabulary to describe the process. If you don't feel the same way, they will simply repeat a quote or two and stare at you in befuddlement if you don't laugh. Still I've analyzed my own sense of humor at length. I don't like physical comedy. I've never enjoyed the Three Stooges and I find early Woody Allen flicks boring. I don't like frat boy jokes, or juvenile hijinks. I can't find any pleasure in watching pratfalls. And I can do without the bleary stoner stuff that so many embrace nowadays.

On the other hand, I do enjoy surreality in everyday life. I am tickled by caustic and sarcastic wit. Give me "dark humor" any day of the week... the more transgressive the better. I also like dense, thickly layered, multileveled, and subtle comedy. If I am in a light mood, I can get into watching awkward social situations play out. Along those lines, I've recently gotten into Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm and anything with Ricky Gervais. When I first saw The Office (the original British version) I was struck dumb. Since then I get more out of each repeated viewing. Now I'm loving Extras. Maybe you could characterize it as "sociological humor". But whatever it is, it just so happens to resonate with me.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Dagrims said...

Okay dude, I know what you just typed and all...but you HAVE to listen to Dane Cook's stand up!!!!!1 He's fantastic and funny and he does a college tour called, get this, TOURGASM. Isn't that amazing??? His delivery is great and he's SOOOO original...just like Carlos Mencia!!

Anyway, check those guyz out. They are incredible!

10:53 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

If i my also respectfully disrespect the sentiment of your post...

Check out Doug Stanhope's 'No Refunds' stand up special if you get the chance. I have little patience for comedies or stand up myself but this thing nearly brought me to tears. Intelligent, dark and thoroughly offensive to just about everybody.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Dagrims said...

Stanhope and Joe Rogen have nearly the exact same material, delivery, and voice inflection. I find them both funny in reasonably-sized doses.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

dagrims,

I appreciate the sentiments. How could anyone not like Carlos Mencia?!

Ryan,

Seriously though, I have already experienced Stanhope... and I did enjoy him. He's a bit like Bill Hicks without the politics. I liked his part in The Aristocrats. Very transgressive.

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Larry David Show separates people into the type of humor they enjoy, and the sense of humor (type, not amount) they have. I love that show, my wife doesn't appreciate one bit of it. I think The Office is another one that does so.

I'm not a big fan of standup in that I can enjoy a lot of different styles and deliveries, but only in small doeses. I've yet to get through an entire hour-long standup special.

JG

11:34 AM  

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