Irreverent

As kestrel put it, create headspace.  Music usually cures what ails.  But sometimes it’s just not enough…. I’ll usually revert back to comedy to get things moving along.  I know it’s obvious, but it works.  So I’m not about to pretend I’m above it :p

I think that people who have the best sense of humor are those who understand the irony in taking comedy seriously.

Anyone who has talked to me about life or politics for more than, oh…lets say, ten minutes will probably hear me reference Bill Hicks for one reason or another.  He was most definitely a serious comedian.

I wish so much that he was still around today.

*Caution : Loud public access quality audio!

And just think, his comedy is funny.

I’ve noticed there are a bunch of Monty Python and Eddie Izzard fans here.  I’ve also seen a few pick ups on Flight of the Conchords (which is easily one of the funniest shows on the air).  So it would seem I have good company in my sense of humor here.  Not that I’m surprised :p  I think it defines much more about a person than music preferences.  Especially this day in age.

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On occasion political humor upsets me because there is a very fine line between humorously venting real frustration and making light of a seriously fucked up situation.  Sometimes the Daily Show and Colbert Report go too far on the making light end of the spectrum for my tastes.  Although I also think it’s a good way to introduce people into the idea of accepting that the state of things is in a really dark place right now.  You can’t just throw that out at someone all willy nilly.  Either their head will explode or they’ll stick their fingers in their ears.  Need to ease it on into the consciousness and that type of humor makes for a great stepping stone.    

I’m primarily a fan of stand up, but I enjoy a lot of situational comedy because the context allows for really, really dry humor.  Especially sans a laugh track.  Arrested Development and the British version of the Office had this kind of comedy down to a science.  

Arrested Development is….

        ……

well….not really a show that can be described.  It’s best to just start at the beginning.  Don’t worry, there aren’t too many seasons since Fox decided to cancel it prematurely.  I joined an online support group when it went off the air 🙁

Why was Arrested Development canceled?

~Illusions, Michael.  Tricks are something whores do for money.~  

David Cross who was speaking in the video above, was also the “actor” in the first clip from Mr. Show (produced by him and Bob Odenkirk for HBO in the mid 90’s).  Mr. Show, The Upright Citizens Brigade, the State and Kids in the Hall helped define the new breed of irreverent sketch humor post Monty Python.  On this side of the big pond anyways.  None of them gained the notoriety but fortunately many of the members have branched out into more mainstream (and not so mainstream) television over the years.  I’d go into it, but following comedians careers from sketch comedy is a whole other beast…They are out there though!  Influencing comedy everywhere.  Which makes me very happy 🙂 <—– see  

Oh yeah.  The Office.  So, the Office was originally created by Ricky Gervais and aired on the BBC starting in 2001.  There were only 14 episodes, but it was extremely popular and four years later it was picked up in America and is extremely popular here as well.

The first season of the American version tried verbatim to be the same office.  Obviously it didn’t translate well and the season pretty much sucked.  It’s gotten better since then and in its own way is a good show that adapted well for an American audience.  I enjoy Steve Carell, but Michael Scott is no David Brent.

In that clip he was talking with Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm as some sort of promo for Extras.  Ricky Gervais created and co-produced Extras for the BBC and HBO.  It’s definitely worth checking out.  He also has a series of podcasts with his friends/writers/cohorts Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington.  I’m still working at getting and listening to them all.  But so far so good.  If you like Eddie Izzard, you’ll more than likely like Ricky Gervais.      

Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development (and to a similar extent Seinfeld and the Office) all mainly play off the situational buildup and continuity.  Sometimes throughout episodes and sometimes throughout entire seasons or even series.  Usually there are smaller pieces that can be taken out of context and still be funny.  Just not in the same way.

I was never a huge Seinfeld fan, although I completely appreciate and understand what it was able to do for modern sitcoms.  Seinfeld is a very savvy comedian.  Which is why he’s a bajillionare now.  There was some awards show special thing on HBO “honoring” Jerry where Robert Klien, Chris Rock, Gary Shandling and Seinfeld all talk about their views and philosophy on humor and comedy with special host Anderson Cooper.  Yeah, I didn’t get that part either.  But it was really funny and interesting and Anderson Cooper doesn’t talk too much.  Seinfeld’s “acceptance” speech was perfect.  

(Sorry for the super crappy video, it was the only full version of the speech I could find.)

Yes, thank you HBO.  

And thank you serious comedians.

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There is a point.  

Is there a point to all this?  

Let’s find a point.

I sometimes think that people who seem to be driven by anger are actually driven by love….they’re just really frustrated that no one else is playing along.

RIP Bill Hicks.

16 comments

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    • masslass on February 22, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Bill Hicks was… Thank you for reminding us, VC!

    RIP Bill Hicks.

    Yes, indeed.

    • pfiore8 on February 23, 2008 at 12:59 am

    and sometimes, these guys have me laughing so hard i end up in tears

    i love storyteller comedians the best. the overarching genius of the genre being Richard Pryor.

    i really liked that first video. and i really liked bill hicks, but he is new to me. thanks for the intro. felt a little stabbing sadness though. just found him and he’s dead…. that can’t be a happy tale.

  1. The only man whose stand up routine about what you can’t say on the public airways was argued about before the Supreme Court which found that he couldn’t say his stand up routine on the public airways.

    If that isn’t funny I don’t know what is.

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