Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Unfunny Comedy

Since my primary news source lately has been The Daily Show and Colbert Report, I'm watching a lot of Comedy Central. I've been seeing ads for the last week or so for a new show called Chocolate News - a spoof comedy news show "from an African-American perspective".

Some of the clips looks pretty funny, but for the most part they are squirmingly painful and embarrassing. Now, I'm about as white as white can be. I glow. I'm faintly blue. So maybe I just don't get it, but if I were black, I would be mortified to be associated with the stereotypes and mocking portrayals in the skits. I assume it's supposed to be self-deprecating humor, self-mocking, a "we can say whatever we want because we're laughing at ourselves" sort of show, but the caricatures aren''t funny. They're cruel and demeaning. I don't get the attraction. It's as if every African-American sitcom has to play a grotesque mockery of a character. It's all MadTV, all the time.

It's kind of the same way I feel about Sarah Silverman. When she's funny, she is really funny. But that's about 5% of the time. Most of her stand up and all of her television show are stupid and insulting and squirm inducing. Not funny at all, not even in an uncomfortable "ha-ha-" sort of way. She's just lame and seems to want to shock instead of amuse. I suppose there's an allure there, but I don't quite understand it.

Humor is a very personal thing; funny to one person is offensive or flat or boring to someone else. I'll be the first to admit that I have a strange sense of humor (I tend to laugh myself silly in movies where no one else laughs), but I can't summon even a moment of interest to watch the show.

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