24 years old. Vegan. Waiter/writer. Atlanta.
I like hats. These are my things.
I can say with 100% honesty that I am proud and happy to have been born late to Baby Boomers as opposed to being born to Generation X like most of my Generation.
My parents and grandparents both showed me a lot of old classical comedy coming about when cinema first took root. I was raised on seeing Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and The Little Rascals. Everything I was shown was decades ahead of the times and I’m not talking about how The Little Rascals (then known as “Our Gang”) put black and white performers together as somewhat equal, I’m talking about how Bob Hope & Bing Crosby/Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis and many others cemented a specific style of comedy that lives on to this day nearly a century later.
You can see this style’s influence on more modern pairings such as Jay & Silent Bob, but you can see it further down the line with comedies such as Harold & Kumar. The difference being that while some comedy pairings are influenced by the originators, some are influenced by those influenced by the originators.
How do I explain this? Lets break it down into a music analogy. You hear a band that sounds unlike anything you’ve heard before. You love it and think “Hey, I can do that too!” and mimic what you think you’ve heard. If you were influenced by Tool, your band became Chevelle. And while Chevelle may have some good tunes and some fun times, you never really touched upon the complexity of Tool, taking their influence from King Crimson, Dream Theater, Blue Oyster Cult, and a lot of Jazz Influence. Wanting to make your own band after hearing Alice in Chains? You become Godsmack. Stone Temple Pilots? You become Creed. Creed? You become Nickelback.
There’s a gradual half-life styled decay in this and while it’s possible to find new music or comedy that’s incredible, you’re mostly just getting the left overs of the past. A friend of mine was born four years after me and hates hates hates The Simpsons. She insists that South Park is better and while it’s true that the past 10 years of South Park has been better than the past 10 years of The Simpsons, the first 6-8 seasons of The Simpsons are funnier than anything I’ve seen since. I blame this on her seeing South Park and The Simpsons in the late-90s early-00s when Simpsons were dying off and South Park started to hit their stride, but mostly I blame it on her seeing South Park when she was young and found it funnier because it was more vulgar.
Another friend of mine sent me a transcription of what he was planing on doing for his first Stand Up taping and it was all angry profane hostility. When told it was “too much”, he insisted that he was influenced by Bill Hicks, Denis Leary, and Louis CK and that I “didn’t get it”. The thing is that I have literally spent my life since I was conscious studying comedy. When born to a large Irish-Catholic-Family, you come up with a way to stand out: comedy was mine. You become obsessive going over every formula, why some jokes are funny and others aren’t. It goes back to the music analogy; his stand up was similar to a 15 year old who started a punk band after hearing The Ramones and Sex Pistols and thought that loud and fast = good. Guess what everyone! Loud doesn’t equal good. Vulgar doesn’t equal funny. If the punch line to every single joke you’ve written is “Fuck You”, then you don’t fully grasp comedy. He’s heard the brilliant late Bill Hicks and the always great Louis CK and took it as “being angry or vulgar = funny”. You can make a vulgar joke funny, absolutely, but if your joke is funny because it’s vulgar, then you’re the kid in first grade who made the class laugh after yelling the word “Fart” after the teacher told you not to.
Everything I’ve written, while I’ve done some dumb awful shit and vulgarities and shock material, at its core still goes back to that comedy that was first created when movies became big. While I will gladly pay to see Ben Stiller and Richard Ayoade battle aliens next week, at my core everything I write, even if subconsciously, has a very classic origin.
Vulgar isn’t funny on its own. Rape isn’t something that is said for laughs because some people might get upset. You said a dead baby joke? That’s cute. Let me know when you’re ready to actually be funny.
Vulgar doesn’t equal laughs. At its core, Music and Comedy both require great timing and knowledge of past material. While it isn’t important to know the past of it, you’ll be a better performer if you do.
…I’ve been drinking today and had lots of thoughts