17 January 2011

How to Fix Comedy

You know what's a problem with Americans? They like humor and comedy and laughing. And they're self-conscious about their weight. That's another problem with Americans. But seriously, humor almost always consists of making fun of someone. If I wanted to feel bad about myself, I'd just go to church.

Self-reflection is a real drag. Who wants to honestly assess their own flaws? Not me! That's why I don't do any of that Daily Show, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Colbert Report, South Park crap. I only watch Chuck Lorre comedies.

You see, the reason Chuck Lorre comedies are the right kind of humor for America is because they allow us to laugh about how much of a fake douchebag Charlie Sheen is, or how fake fat the guy from the one show that's on before Hawaii Five-0 is. They're not true to life, seeing as one uses a re-tooled version of the Frasier set, and the other a re-tooled version of the Drew Carey Show set, so I know neither location actually exists.

Furthermore, since neither of the actors is on a reality TV show like Celebrity Rehab or Biggest Loser, I know that Charlie Sheen isn't actually douchebag and the other guy isn't actually fat. Those are just the completely relatable sitcom characters they play. And that means I can trust the humor in a Chuck Lorre comedy to be based wholly in a fictional universe without even a tenuous connection to reality. It's pure entertainment, and isn't that what the Brooklyn art crowd is pretty much all about, and isn't the Brooklyn art crowd the ultimate authority on authenticity?

What's that? You think humor ought to offer some form of critique on the current social situation or the human condition? I think you need to stop hating America so much. The laugh tracks in Chuck Lorre shows tells us when to laugh together, united. It's in the pledge of allegiance. Read it, you probable terrorist.

Comedy and humor that require thinking are too difficult. Entertainment's not meant to be hard. I'm trying to escape reality, here. I don't want any kind of subversion that causes me to examine my own life and attitudes. I don't want to have read enough books and experienced the broad range of popular culture and general knowledge necessary to enjoy an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Just let me laugh at a punchline I can readily anticipate.

I don't want to celebrate an unexpectedly good outcome to an absurd situation; just let me ignore the absurdity. I don't want to face my problems; I want to laugh at impossible fictional scenarios that resolve themselves in half an hour or in a full hour if it's the season finale and the show's already been picked up for another season. I don't want to think to laugh; I want to drink Coors Light, have a McRib (for a limited time), and laugh once I know everyone who was paid to record the laugh track mistakenly thinks something that isn't a joke actually is.

ANYWAY, I recommend shows on all networks and television stations, as well as all films, if they claim to be comedic, be produced by Chuck Lorre. Or Judd Apatow, if I'm feeling like something R-rated. Those guys know what Americans really want and really need: an opportunity to distract ourselves from thinking too long or too critically about our own lives, and the chance avoid laughing at our world and our selves with any semblance of honesty and authenticity.

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