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For 2019, Remember the Sixth Sense is Really Humor

Dave Randall

Posted on January 1, 2019 16:03

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Comedy, the approach to creating it and the reaction to it, has regressed. Bad news in a time when we need to laugh.

Comedienne Tiffany Haddish (that's the dated but proper nomenclature, Comedienne), by all accounts, bombed demonstratively in her New Year's Eve show in Miami. After her turn in Girls' Trip, Haddish has been one of the big names to explode on the comedy scene in the last couple of years. It's awful to read that someone catching fire in such a difficult business took the stage unprepared, wasn't funny, and sent an audience away disappointed.

This came on the heels of Louis CK's latest step over a line that seems to always be in motion. The brash comic, who admitted lewd and inappropriate behavior in 2017, was recorded on stage cracking jokes about survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

Hello, and welcome to 2019. We start the year with the government shut down, essentially, via hissy-fit, the stock market vacillating wildly, and the knowledge that we need to take what's serious seriously, and laugh at whatever else we can. Regardless, it's no time for comics to fail us, or for us to not accept humor for what it is.

According to onlookers, Haddish, a so-called natural, broke the rules that define stage presence--she was unprofessional. Louie CK was being true to himself, which we can all take or leave. This shouldn't be a sign of the times, but it is. We need parody, satire, the Colberts, Kimmels, Sarah Silvermans and Kathy Griffins, to cast light on a political system gone bananas, and a cultural hyper-sensitivity that would have killed careers in the 60's and 70's. In many ways, it's as if Lenny Bruce went to an early grave in vain.

Look back at 1979, for example. We were ending a decade of George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Cheech and Chong, all breaking down barriers. Saturday Night Live's Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players did memorable skits, some more biting than funny (remember guest host Steve Martin as Theodoric: Barber of York, demanding another blood-letting for the most minimal of medicinal needs?).

There was Monty Python's Life of Brian on screen, SCTV lampooning television, and bawdy Benny Hill, imported and rerun on American TV for the first time. Robin Williams was running wild as Mork, David Letterman was taking his irony to guest shots on the Tonight Show, and Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling were young comics emerging from the club scene.

The point in this history lesson is that all of the above would run into problems expressing their talent or making it today. On the one hand, edgy comedy is misunderstood and excoriated, and comics like Haddish are forgetting preparation is necessary to a well-honed act. Louie CK is fortunate to get on a stage again, but Michael Richards he's not. 

We have the right to react to what we think is funny. Comics have the right to say what they want on stage. You can pay to see it or not. And we need them to be pros.

Dave Randall

Posted on January 1, 2019 16:03

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Source: Television

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