Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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Affirmative action for laughter

"Lily Tomlin, one of the greatest female comediens of all time." This kind of statement always peaks my interest. Why is it necessary to bring Ms. Tomlin's gender into the matter? I didn't know comedy was like basketball, where the greater lean muscle mass and higher bone density of the male body was such an asset that women can't reasonably compete with men. How is gender a useful distinction when it comes to comedy? It's sort of like saying that Jason Alexander is a great actor in the under 5'8" catagory, or that Nat "King" Cole had a pretty nice voice, for a negro. What kind of backhanded compliment is that? You're implying either that Ms. Tomlin can't compete with the great male comedians, or that women in general can't compete. Neither is true.

Women can be funny, but feminists cannot. I think one of the major problems with the left is its lack of a sense of humor, which is funny since most comedians tend to lean leftward. How many good jokes are there about abortion, really? I asked _she_devil and she came up with some rather weak material that sounded like what you'd get if someone blended Tom and Shecky Green together and then added a sprig of Gloria Steinum as a garnish. Sort of a half-hearted attempt at an offensive one-liner with feminist undertones. Not exactly the stuff that HBO comedy specials are made of. Where are the jokes about the rainforest, or illegal immigrants, or the surging cost of the Alternative Minimum Tax on the middle class? (What's the difference between a hooker and the alternative minimum tax? The hooker will fuck you before she takes your money.)

I think the reason for this can be found in a comedy book that fakingsincerity made me read. Much of comedy is found in feeling superior to others, and hardcore liberals often have an inferiority complex or are at least hesitant about feeling superior to others. Certainly a lot of liberalism is built on either anger at personal mistreatment or feelings of anger at the mistreatment of others. The rich are always going to be conservative, for the most part, because they benefit from the system as it stands. The thing is, a lot of current liberalism is built on what some have dubbed "Victimology." This is the practice of accepting that you are a victim and demanding reparations, rather than fighting back and trying to overcome what's happened to you. I think this is responsible for a lot of problems of the Left right now, and for the lack of humor.

During, and directly after, the Civil Rights movement there was a lot of really great humor by black comedian/activists about the situation. Richard Pryor was absolutely hilarious and did not shy away from matters of race at all. Chris Rock has carried on his legacy in many ways. Neither were afraid to mock there own race, as well as whites. Margaret Cho, a totally unfunny but popular among gays Comedienne, makes fun of Koreans. This is a healthy way of dealing with difficult situations and pointing out ways that disadvantaged groups can address their own problems as well as those of an unfair world. Comedians are among our finest social critics.

It isn't happening right now on the hard left. They are humorless, angry, people. Where are the jokes about the war from people who oppose it? The jokes about the rainforest? I've stood in a room full of people who knew I was going to try to be funny and had several react with rage because I made jokes that touched on their sacred cows. That's bullshit. If you can't laugh at yourself then you aren't seeing yourself clearly. If you can't accept the ridiculousness of life then you can't accept life in general. Rape can be funny, murder can be funny, the holocaust can be funny.

Feminists cannot. They take themselves far too seriously. They whine for speech codes and joke restriction. They seek double standards and demand equal representations. In short they play to one of the meanest cliches about the weakness of women, that they don't have the emotional grit to handle living in the world. That they are weak and need to be protected. Feminists seek to defeat these claims by demanding that nobody make them anymore cause it hurts theirs feelings, and they don't see the irony. It's ridiculous.

Now us white men, we can take, and make a joke. Look who we elected as our president.

P.S. While we're on the subject of humor, I've been coming up with stuff that's been making me laugh out loud lately. Now it's common knowledge among comedians that it's hard to get someone to laugh out loud when they're by themselves (thus the laugh track, to trick you into thinking that there are other people who find Yes Dear funny.) How much harder, then, is it to get yourself to laugh out loud? You have the advantage of knowing your sense of humor perfectly, but the distinct disadvantage of not being able to surprise yourself or make yourself feel inferior to yourself, unless you are blessed with multiple personality disorder. If I had a dissociative disorder I'd want one of my personalities to be really funny and the rest to be a great audience. How cool would that be. "Steve, great news, we've finally figured out how to cure your MPD! You're going to be freed from the prison of your mind, and maybe even get out of this institute"

"Not just now. Pete's got a HILARIOUS routine about the time Sandra drilled a hole in the head of the guy who used to play his music too loud in our building." On the other hand getting a personality who was a hack comic would really suck. Imagine if you woke up after a black out to find out that Kenny Banya had hijacked your face and your voice for a day or so. Wouldn't you just want to drain a nice big glass of Ovaltine and off yourself?

Anyway, the stuff that has had me myself and I in stitches has mostly been a bunch of skits about celebrity. One was a Dave Chapelle skit where you have a normal guy just talking to his wife in a restaurant, when Dave comes up behind her and starts humping her ass. The guy's like "What do you think you're doing?"

Dave: "Fuck you. I'm Dave Chapelle. I'll hump who I want."

Guy: "Don't worry honey, I'll take care of this."

Honey: "No. It's true, he's a celebrity. It's his right."

Guy: "Well, just don't do it so hard, okay? She's pregnant and you keep driving her stomach into the table there."

Dave: "Fuck you. I'm Dave Chapelle. I'll kill your baby by humping your wife's ass and you should thank me for it. You'll be able to say your baby was killed by Dave Chappelle. That's gotta be worth more than any kid of yours. You're not famous."

Guy: "Honey..."

Honey: "He has a point, dear."

Guy: "I guess. Hey Dave, let me buy you a drink?"

Dave: "Sure, but only a beer. I gotta keep sharp. I'm going to go to the hospital and screw your dying mother when I'm done here."

Guy: "Is Amstel alright?"

Sort of a cross between Dave's "I'm Rick James, Bitch" skit and Andy Kaufman's live-performance pick-up-Zmuda's-Girl bits.

Well I thought it was funny.

The other thing was a little take off on those "Celebrity cruise" commercials. I called it "Celebrity life" and it was just a cynical take on celebrity and modern life. It was mostly a monologue with accompanying visuals (my visualization skills are very strong, I just can't draw to realize them. That's one of the reasons I want to do film, I want to be able to bring them into reality and I know I won't be able to do so through brush or pen.) It basically had a celebrity talking about how you could hire people to serve every function in life. The monologue went something like this.

"Hi, I'm a celebrity. This is my life. A life of long afternoons sitting by the pool snorting cocaine and eating foie gras out of the vaginas of beautiful women whose names I don't know and who I'll never see again. It's a life of luxury and pleasure, and it could be your life too. You see, at Celebrity Lives, we can help you to live like a celebrity. By wrapping you up in a plastic bubble of glitz and yes-men we will drown the troubles of the real world and allow you to live an existance of irresponsible luxury without having to worry about the starving homeless or what message you're sending to the children. You won't even have to worry about being caught by the tabloids going out to find a transvestite hooker on the boulevard. At Celebrity Lives we bring the transvestite hookers to you! In fact, we will cater to all your interpersonal needs. We'll provide you with a wife, a gorgeous woman who will sleep with your gardener and spend so much money on shoes you'll start calling her Imelda. We'll provide you with a 14 year old son with a coke problem and a pending rape trial, and for just a few thousand more a month you can be provided with a father who was absent when you grew up but is now trying to cash in on your fame. It's an experience so perfect that we even have real celebrity clients who've traded in their actual ridiculous lives for ones designed by Celebrity Lives.

But wait, you're probably saying, how can I afford all this if I'm not already a celebrity, or a wealthy businessman like George Soros? You can't. Not even close. Our monthly bill is more than your net worth. Fortunately, new from Celebrity Lives, there's the Has-been package. That's right, for only a few hundred dollars a month we'll perfectly simulate the experience of once having been a celebrity. We'll provide you with hangers on, trying to squeeze the last few drops from the stone that once was your overflowing bank account. A stalker, unwilling to let go of the past. The occasional aging groupie, looking to recapture her youth with a sad night of sex in a cheap hotel with a once famous man. Most importantly, a shitty job where people will occasionally say "Hey, didn't you used to be?"

Celebrity Lives. Just because you don't have the talent it takes to become a celebrity doesn't mean you can't be as out of touch as one.
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