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Sunday, February 22, 2015

A bad joke

Steve Sailer observes an almost inexplicable slam on a great American comedian:
Hope is of real value as a chronicle of a career. For even though Bob Hope’s work is no longer capable of holding the attention of modern audiences, it is still interesting to learn the details of how he turned himself into a star and then managed to stay on top of the mass-culture heap long after most of his less-driven contemporaries had vanished from sight. But Zoglin, for all his admirable thoroughness, inexplicably fails to emphasize the central fact about Hope and his career—one that not only goes a long way toward explaining why he was so successful, but also why we no longer find him funny.

Simply: He wasn’t Jewish.

What was missing from his style? Even though Hope was a first-generation European immigrant, there was nothing remotely ethnic about his stage manner. He was among the few successful WASP comics of his generation, and despite the fact that he hired such Jewish writers as Larry Gelbart and Mel Shavelson, the jokes they penned for him lacked the sharp ironic tang of Jewish humor that is to this day one of the essential ingredients in American comedy.

During World War II, when Americans shared both a common culture and an iron determination to prevail over their common enemy, such a comedian could speak for millions of listeners from coast to coast. But that America no longer exists, and the Americans of the 21st century demand more from comedy than mere reassurance. That is why Bob Hope is forgotten today, and will remain so. All he had to offer were punchlines that no longer have punch.
As one commenter mentioned, this appears to be an attempt by the Dutch Teachout to curry favor with the inward-focused aging Jews who read Commentary and think Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce are the epitome of humor. Hope held up a hell of a lot better than either Allen or Bruce have, and Allen isn't even dead yet. Let's face it, the funniest thing Allen ever produced was his self-parodying, quasi-incestuous marriage.

I've never been able to stand what is described as "Jewish humor" myself; I disliked it long before I had any idea that the stupid sort of sex-and-toilet "humor" produced by the likes of Mel Brooks and the whiny tedium of Woody Allen had anything in common, let alone were claimed by a particular ethnic heritage. Later, I tried watching "Seinfeld" and completely failed to see what was supposed to be funny about Jerry Seinfeld whining all the time.

Joan Rivers could be amusing in small doses, but one of the main things I've noticed about "Jewish humor" is that it seems to have a strong tendency to beat a joke to death. "Hey, did you think that was mildly amusing? Let me repeat it three more times and that will make it HILARIOUS, right?" Well, no. That's actually one thing I wish non-comedians would understand. If you told a little story and you found the reaction to be underwhelming, don't repeat it. It's not going to be any more amusing the second time.

Now, I've always assumed there was a great divide between those who found Monty Python amusing and those who thought Benny Hill was a riot. "Jewish humor" strikes me as being more akin to an American form of Benny Hill, as it tends to involve a lot of mugging and sexual themes.

Then again, the second-funniest comic in the world, Frankie Boyle (Simon Evans, two of whose clips are below, is the funniest in my opinion), utilizes a lot of sexual themes, although usually in a very dark way. "Watching gymnastics is just pedophilia for cowards." But there is an enormous gap between that sort of black humor and Woody Allen whining to his therapist or Mel Brooks's masturbating cavemen. I remember people talking about how funny Brooks's History of the World: Part I was so I rented it one night; I don't think I made it more than 15 minutes before ejecting the tape from the VCR in disgust. Keep in mind that this scene is supposed to be THE most HILARIOUS one from the movie. Notice, in particular, the repetition I mentioned; The very lame joke on French pronunciations is hammered home no less than TWELVE times at the very start. Yeah, that's just fucking brilliant. Then contrast that sort of production, complete with writers, sets, and actors, with the following examples of Simon Evans utilizing nothing more than a microphone.



Of course, it's pretty much pointless to view comedy as anything but subjective, something that is much more apparent when you live in continental Europe. German humor is freaking ghastly, it's like black comedy without the comedy. Italian humor is bawdy and straightforward; they simply don't recognize sarcasm at all. French humor is similar to Italian humor, although a bit more relaxed and less silly, and I haven't figured out Spanish humor yet. It's no surprise that English humor has such an impact on American humor; it's not because they speak the same language, but because it's broad-spectrum humor that is often appreciated by non-English speakers.


"I'm just a comedian goes first!" I would have loved to see Evans skewer the Jon Stewart Show, as Stewart, unlike Mel Brooks and Woody Allen, can be funny, but like Russell Brand, hides behind his comedian's mask whenever his serious arguments fall short.


UPDATE: I found this pair of Twitter exchanges to be more personally amusing than the entire oeuvre of either comedian mentioned:


Vox Day ‏@voxday
I'm curious how anyone could have ever thought Woody Allen was amusing. The only funny thing he ever did was bang his ugly stepdaughter.

Jackie DeLister ‏@JackieDeeNJ
Yes, Annie Hall won the Oscar for no reason -_-

Vox Day ‏@voxday
So did Titanic. And it had more genuine laughs.

--------

 Vox Day ‏@voxday
And who finds Mel Brooks funny? This is said to be the funniest scene of his funniest movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db3e8Qw9hhs … It's BRUTALLY stupid.

Jackie DeLister ‏@JackieDeeNJ
@voxday Are you anti-Semitic?

Labels:

272 Comments:

1 – 200 of 272 Newer› Newest»
Anonymous JP February 22, 2015 5:10 AM  

I'm from Africa and my favourite comedian is Bill Engval. He's genuinely funny, but he also doesn't think swearing is a substitute for a good punchline.

Blogger Viisaus February 22, 2015 5:19 AM  

The Jews are often at their funniest when they are capable of laughing at themselves, instead of the Goyim.

For example, the humor of the original 1960s "Producers" film by Mel Brooks were largely drawn from the behavior of a comically unscrupulous Jewish businessman Max Bialystock, who is out to make an outrageous scam.

And this sketch (by a very Jewy-looking comedian) actually seems to be a satire of the Jewish "Culture of Critique" - apparently implying that Jewish radicals tend to keep pushing their self-righteously arrogant behavior until they finally go too far and get their comeuppance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYL5H46QnQ

Blogger MATT February 22, 2015 5:25 AM  

Patrice o'neal

Blogger James Dixon February 22, 2015 5:25 AM  

> I tried watching "Seinfeld" and completely failed to see what was supposed to be funny about Jerry Seinfeld whining all the time.

That pretty much describes my experience with Seinfeld. But of course the Jewish dominated media thinks he's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Blogger MATT February 22, 2015 5:35 AM  

No one watched seinfeld for seinfeld.

Anonymous Apollo February 22, 2015 5:37 AM  

I found the show Seinfeld hilarious in the early seasons when Larry David was involved, and pretty much unbearable after that. At least they ended it within a few years of it ceasing to be funny, despite the ongoing popularity of the show. An example the creators of the Simpsons should take note of.

Even in the Larry David years though, I didn't care for the bits of the show where Jerry Seinfeld did standup, nor for his character in the show. Most of the laughs were from George and Kramer.

Blogger ScuzzaMan February 22, 2015 5:38 AM  

German humour's not so bad. My wife's favourite German joke goes like this:

Comic: "Mein Vater war in Konzentration Camp gestorben ... "
(Crowd: "awwwwwww...." ...)

Comic: "ja, he fell out of ze guard tower!"

You really do have to be some kind of Jewish to tell this joke without being arrested, but not to fully appreciate this joke, although my wife is descended from Polish Jews and has only lived in Germany for 23 years.

On the whole though, all humour of all nationalities is pretty bad. Comedy is like any other art form in this world; you have to crush an awful lot of rock to find a few nuggets. It is trivially easy to point at all the rock and write off any particular nationality on that basis, but it's not really valid, in my opinion.

As for Bob Hope, I cannot see any way in which being born Jewish would have improved his comedic talents, and it is plainly bigoted to claim it would have.

Anonymous zen0 February 22, 2015 5:46 AM  

Anything with a laugh track is funny.

C'mon. People are laughing, it must be funny.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 February 22, 2015 5:49 AM  

You're skating on thin ice there VD, Mel Brooks did Get Smart. Siegfried, Larabee, at al

Infact a lot of the dialogue from those shows has been picked up by the US State department and is being used in real time:

"And once again the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." I'm fairly confident Obama said something that deep in one of his State of the Nation speeches.

Mel Brook's work will outlive the State Departments.

Anonymous kh123 February 22, 2015 6:12 AM  

You and your embittered Scotch humor. God bless ye.

Would be really surprised if you didn't enjoy the Ch. 4 version of Gordon Ramsay.

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 6:19 AM  

Mel Brook's work will outlive the State Departments.

Mel Brooks was very, very seldom funny in my opinion. I'm genuinely embarrassed for anyone who thinks he was amusing, let alone hysterical. One would be hard-pressed to think of a comedian with a higher rate of jokes per laugh, with the possible exception of Benny Hill.

I can't say, because I've never been able to stand either of them long enough to be certain of who is less funny. As a general rule, if either gurning or falling down is a significant aspect of a comedian's repertoire, I'm not going to find him even remotely amusing.

Anonymous kh123 February 22, 2015 6:21 AM  

...Well, there goes that. Not a Scot.

Blogger SWW February 22, 2015 7:12 AM  

I agree. Get Smart ws funny, but it was Don Adams that pulled it off.

Anonymous Heh February 22, 2015 7:16 AM  

A German joke is no laughing matter!

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 7:16 AM  

Vox, what about Spaceballs and Blazing Saddles?

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 7:19 AM  

Anything with a laugh track is funny.

LOL. Try watching Friends and The Big Bang Theory with the laugh track off. (They're on YouTube.) About the worst ever.

Scrubs, to its credit, didn't have a laugh track, and it was wonderful in its early years.

Anonymous guest February 22, 2015 7:28 AM  

vox, speaking of bad joke...

I don't know if you watch the pirate show "Black Sails", but they just ruined what could have been the next Game of Thrones, like a reddit commenter put it "in one fell swoop they've transformed Flint (the lead) from an uncompromising, badass, steely-eyed pirate into a lovelorn, weepy, pathetic romantic. The two images are in complete paradox with one another and make no sense".

And so another TV show is dragged into the mud.

I didn't spoil the exact "fabulous" reveal just in case...

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 7:32 AM  

Vox, what about Spaceballs and Blazing Saddles?

Ah yes, the tremendous humor of "Darth Helmet" and the longest fart joke not written by John Scalzi. Blazing Saddles at least has its occasional moments. I have never even cracked a smile at any scene or joke from Spaceballs. It's what passes for satire for retards.

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 7:41 AM  

Try watching Friends and The Big Bang Theory with the laugh track off.

See, I think Big Bang is often quite funny. It's one of the rare shows where introducing romances hasn't ruined anything, although Koothrappoli was more interesting when he couldn't speak to women. It also has some of the best cameos; Bob Hope and Wil Wheaton have both been very good. I like it when a show has enough confidence to feature a celebrity cameo without spelling it out for the idiots.

"Hey, everyone, it's Jon Stewart Leibowitz, from the Jon Stewart Show on Comedy Central! Hi Jon!"

Blogger James Sullivan February 22, 2015 7:50 AM  

James Earl Jones' Big Bang cameo was pretty entertaining.

Blogger Shimshon February 22, 2015 7:51 AM  

Big Bang still gets a laugh out of me, but not like the early years. IMHO, the characters have become caricatures of their early selves. Also, I could remember things wrong, but now it seems the humor is consistently laced with unnecessary cruelty, where that wasn't always the case early on. Plus, Penny with short hair!

Too bad they didn't make better use of Nathan Fillion in the most recent ep.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 8:01 AM  

Also, I could remember things wrong, but now it seems the humor is consistently laced with unnecessary cruelty, where that wasn't always the case early on.

When I've asked people in various countries what they think about American sitcoms, several of them have responded, "Why does the American sense of humor always seem to be insulting each other?"

Too bad they didn't make better use of Nathan Fillion in the most recent ep.

Ack. Might need to jump out of the thread because of spoilers -- we get TV episodes a few weeks (or more) late in Israel because the companies have to do the translation and insert Hebrew subtitles.

Blogger MATT February 22, 2015 8:01 AM  

You mean Bob Newhart?

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 8:02 AM  

^ "...people insulting each other."

Blogger MATT February 22, 2015 8:03 AM  

"When I've asked people in various countries what they think about American sitcoms, several of them have responded, "Why does the American sense of humor always seem to be insulting each other?""

Because war is mans natural state.

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 8:04 AM  

Big Bang still gets a laugh out of me, but not like the early years. IMHO, the characters have become caricatures of their early selves.

The usual fate of situation comedy characters. The writers replaced by lesser writers, who rely too heavily upon catchphrases and pallid repetitions of previous situations. Friends was the worst; it was unwatchable by the end. Ross became a moron, Phoebe went from goofy to certifiable, Monica went from OCD to a screech harpy, and Joey went from alpha to gamma. It was like an object lesson in how to ruin characters.

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 8:06 AM  

You mean Bob Newhart?

Didn't I... ah, yes. Newhart, not Hope, obviously. That would have been an interesting trick. And speaking of great comedians, I love Newhart.

"Sir, I just find it very difficult to believe the Prince of Darkness has been working in the mail sorting room at the Post Office for the last 20 years... no, no, I'm not calling your dog a liar!"

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 8:08 AM  

Yeah, Rachel and Chandler might have been the only characters to grow in Friends. She started as a spoiled brat who turned into a mature woman. Chandler turned from a goofy dork into a mature husband and father.

Blogger Shimshon February 22, 2015 8:13 AM  

Sam Scott, sorry about the spoiler. I watch online, usually a day or two after the show airs.

The early seasons were full of insults too, but I believe they were much more gentle. Now every episode seems to consist of one or more of:

Sheldon insults everyone's intelligence, particularly Leonard's.

Howard is a badly-dressed whiny crybaby with mommy issues.

Stuart, when he appears, is beyond pathetic and the butt of jokes by everyone else.

Rajesh (and to a lesser extent Howard) acts in some sort of stereotypically gay manner.

Bernadette is a caustic bitch. They played this to great effect in one ep, but it gets tiring as they drag it on.

Penny is a dumb blonde, who somehow managed to land a high intensity pharmaceutical sales job.

Amy, who I worried originally would ruin the show, has probably been least affected by this.

Anonymous bub February 22, 2015 8:16 AM  

Funny white guy

Jim Gaffigan

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 22, 2015 8:19 AM  

Honestly, I've never found Mel Brooks movies to be all funny. Now Brooks himself could be funny in interviews I grant that.

And there was the occasional sight gag that worked.

One time.

Once.

But usually, he beat jokes completely too death.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 22, 2015 8:20 AM  

I prefer my comedy across the human spectrum, but if that is some ethnic hit piece they should be crucified.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 8:21 AM  

Shimson, no worries!

Regarding Seinfeld, I think the reason people liked it was because it was full of accurate -- though usually bad -- observations about human nature. No one, at least no one who isn't a psychopath, would empathize with the characters or think they were good people.

When I was a kid (younger than a teenager), my first sitcom memories were Cheers and Night Court (and MASH, in reruns). I wonder if I should go and rewatch them as an adult -- perhaps I'd appreciate them more?

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 22, 2015 8:32 AM  

I think a big part of Brooks and Allen's success was that they made movies, that 1970's New York theater critics loved.

In this age of Rottentomatoes.com I don't think Brooks could get off the ground and Allen's stuff would go straight to Netflix.

Blogger MATT February 22, 2015 8:36 AM  

"Yeah, Rachel and Chandler might have been the only characters to grow in Friends. She started as a spoiled brat who turned into a mature woman. Chandler turned from a goofy dork into a mature husband and father."

Are you still waiting for the last seasons to be dubbed?? Chandler became a complete loser. Even worse than he was in the beginning. Total pushover. A lesbian with a strap-on. He even looks like KD Lange.

I find it amusing that even when trying to laugh at conservatives and "the patriarchy" leftists such as those who wrote FRIENDS find a way to betray themselves and write the truth.

Ross was a whimpy bitch whos wife turned to lesbianism to get away from his femininity.

Joey is a cad who could bang all 3 girls if he wanted. At the same time.

Chandler and Ross only finally get the girl after theyre worn out. Ross had to wait until Rachel was sure she couldn't find anyone else, even after giving birth to his child.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein February 22, 2015 8:36 AM  

Young Frankenstein was hilarious.
Blazing Saddles was funny.
History of the World had some funny moments but a great deal of tedium between them.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 8:41 AM  

Are you still waiting for the last seasons to be dubbed?? Chandler became a complete loser. Even worse than he was in the beginning. Total pushover. A lesbian with a strap-on. He even looks like KD Lange.

English is my first language.

Chandler could barely even talk to a model when trapped with her in an ATM vestibule in the first season -- he became much more comfortable with women in general as well as more comfortable with his own personal issues involving his parents in later years.

/ Can't believe I'm arguing about "Friends"

Anonymous Goodnight February 22, 2015 8:43 AM  

And speaking of great comedians, I love Newhart.

Newhart is probably my favorite comedian. My parents had the "Buttoned Down Mind" albums and I listened to them incessantly back then. I've since bought all his albums and turned my wife and kids into fans.

Anonymous ZT February 22, 2015 8:44 AM  

Vox, seems more like you dislike do not have an appreciation for sophomoric humor. Brook's style was to disabuse you of stareotypes. He always thought people were to serious with them and wrote movies that turned overly exaggerated those stereotypes. He is first to admit he could not make some of his movies to day because Hollywood has gotten worse about it.

Hill and whomever wrote porker were all sophomoric humor types and I would say much of today's American comedy is built around it. I like humor bet even I can only take the sophomoric stuff so long. However blazing saddles is funny even more so give how it is bordering being forbidden.

Anonymous Orville February 22, 2015 8:45 AM  

I really like Gaffigan too, but he tends to be whiny.

Anonymous Jews ruin All February 22, 2015 8:47 AM  

Marx Brothers
Karl Marx
Jews
Get it yet?

Anonymous Orville February 22, 2015 8:49 AM  

Showing my age, but Hudson and Landry were hilarious too.

Blogger MATT February 22, 2015 8:49 AM  

@ZT

You cant explain why something is funny, especially to someone who doesnt find it funny. Even if that person is giving a reason for not finding it funny. Laughter is uncontrollable and instantaneous. And its rare for a joke to be as funny as the first time you heard it. Culture, bias, beliefs, etc all influence what a person will laugh at.

Please remember there was a time when the French loved Jerry Lewis.

Anonymous zen0 February 22, 2015 8:52 AM  

Gene Wilder co-wrote and starred in Young Frankenstein. THATS why it was funny

Anonymous WinstonWebb February 22, 2015 8:54 AM  

I liked Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but if you haven't seen the god-awful Kevin Costner movie prior, then you'll follow almost -0- of the actual good jokes. Tracey Ullman is great as the witch/oracle.

Anonymous Porky February 22, 2015 8:58 AM  

No love for Rodney Dangerfield?





Anonymous WinstonWebb February 22, 2015 8:59 AM  

Orville,
Whining IS Gaffigan's bit. Next time you watch him, go in with the idea that he is parodying gamma rabbits. It's funnier that way.

He just needs to add a "my daughter bench presses more than me" joke to his repertoire.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 22, 2015 8:59 AM  

One of the best demi-Red Pill comedies was Coupling.

You had the three major archetypes on display.

Steve: Beta male (Delta on the Vox Hierarchy)

Patrick: Alpha male (although more of a parody of an Alpha but Moffet got a lot it right...at first.)

Jeff: Omega on anyone's scale but a lot more entertaining than any Omega has a right to be.

Oliver: (Jeff's finale season replacement) Omega/Gamma turning Delta) Oliver was quite possibly a Moffat Mary-Sue.

The guys were fine as characters. Now here are the women.

Susan: Regular girl and enormous slut.

Sally: Neurotic girl and way bigger slut.

Jane: Crazy girl and biggest slut on the show.

Here is a sample of the show's dynamic.How to Dump Your Girlfriend.

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 9:01 AM  

I've previously made it clear that all references to "JOOOOOOOS" will be deleted, Porky. Perhaps you missed it. It is neither amusing nor a substantive point concerning anti-semitism.

Anonymous grey enlightenment February 22, 2015 9:04 AM  

tsk tsk at using 'utilizing' instead of using . All humor that is funny is good. That's the point of humor. Who cares who says it or where it came from.

Anonymous HongKongCharlie February 22, 2015 9:04 AM  

I must be the oldest here. I really liked Red Skelton's gently style of humor.

HKC

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:05 AM  

Totally agree. The funniest comedians I've encountered in recent decades have by and large been English: Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse ('The Fast Show'), Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller ('Armstrong & Miller'), and the chaps behind 'The League of Gentlemen'. 'A Bit of Fry & Laurie,' too.

Anonymous Porky February 22, 2015 9:05 AM  

Meine Schuld, Herr Vox.

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 9:07 AM  

Vox, seems more like you dislike do not have an appreciation for sophomoric humor. Brook's style was to disabuse you of stareotypes.

That may be. And if that is his style, no wonder I found him not to be even remotely funny. His humor, to the extent it can even be called that, was dishonest. Stereotypes exist for a good reason, they are short summaries of human behavior. In attempting to render the observable false, Brooks is lecturing, he is not entertaining. In a sense, he was a proto-SJW.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 9:08 AM  

I was about ten, I worshipped Star Wars, and I laughed my ass off to Spaceballs.

Either of those preconditions NOT being true? Gee, I dunno...

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:14 AM  

'Two and Half Men' was pretty decent in its Red Pill years with Charlie Sheen. I tried to watch 'Big Bag Theory' back in the day but fund it asinine and the characters insufferable. For some reason a lot of my younger colleagues like the show,

Blogger Rantor February 22, 2015 9:15 AM  

Hilarious, at Disney Worldthis week and they do a great job sucking the money from your wallet... It's a bracelet that just charges everything to your room. I'm good at keeping track of expenses, but I imagine immense pain for those who aren't

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:17 AM  

Im still a bit drunk from last night, but you get the idea. Had random girls groping my chest and playing with my beard last night at the bar. It pissed off my girlfriend to no end. she's a seething mess in my bed upstairs.

Anonymous Papapete February 22, 2015 9:18 AM  

Brooks' early stuff was much funnier than his later, and was filled with in-jokes that were topical at the time but now obscure. The fart scene was a nod at the scene in "The Cowboys" that is entirely lost today. IMHO his best movie was " High Anxiety" which was a parody of Hichcock.

Admittedly, his newer stuff is very tedious. Too many as kisses around him and no one to say " that really isn't funny".

Anonymous Porky February 22, 2015 9:19 AM  

'Two and Half Men'

Probably the best written sit-com of it's era.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:21 AM  

I've never been able to stand what is described as "Jewish humor" myself; I disliked it long before I had any idea that the stupid sort of sex-and-toilet "humor" produced by the likes of Mel Brooks and the whiny tedium of Woody Allen had anything in common, let alone were claimed by a particular ethnic heritage. Later, I tried watching "Seinfeld" and completely failed to see what was supposed to be funny about Jerry Seinfeld whining all the time.

Same here. Growing up I never quite "got" the humour behind people like Mel Brooks and Woody Allen (and Jon Stewart for that matter) until I took the ethno-cultural angle into account.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 9:24 AM  

'Two and Half Men'

Probably the best written sit-com of it's era.


Will & Grace and Scrubs would like a word. (As would Coupling in the UK.)

/ Yes, you're probably joking

OpenID cailcorishev February 22, 2015 9:24 AM  

Brooks's humor is strange; sometimes it works (for me, at least) and sometimes it falls completely flat, and it's hard to tell why. I like Spaceballs, 3/4 of Blazing Saddles, and the first half of Young Frankenstein. Yeah, it's dumb humor, but it works. All his others just leave me cold, though, and I never would have guessed History of the World was considered his funniest, because I can't remember a single scene from it.

One problem he has is his tendency to wink at the audience and say, "Wasn't that funny?" The Python guys (who did plenty of simply-dumb comedy themselves, along with the smarter stuff) didn't do that, I don't think. I don't know whether that's part of Jewish comedy, but it makes sense in stand-up, not so much on the screen.

Anonymous Harsh February 22, 2015 9:24 AM  

The Big Bang Theory was funny when it was about four Blue Pill nerds trying to figure out life and women, but now that they are all hooked up with females it seems vaguely like a watered-down version of Friends.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:25 AM  

'Two and Half Men'

Probably the best written sit-com of it's era.

Agreed. Especially in its first few years. There were some impeccable moments. It was astonishingly Red Pill at times. So much so, that I like to imagine Sheen did what he did in reaction to Lorre trying to dial back the Red Pill and pussify the lead character Charlie.

Blogger MB February 22, 2015 9:27 AM  

With a few very notable exceptions, Mel Brooks is more fun than funny. If his riff catches you right, it can leave you in stitches. If not, though, it's at least pleasant. Young Frankenstein is timeless, and his other stuff is usually good for a grin and chuckle, if not a laugh.

Cosby's standup, for all his current problems, had me literally doubled over as a kid. Not sure how funny I'd find it now, but his 200 MPH and anything involving his friends and monster movies I found to be brilliant.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Anonymous Harsh February 22, 2015 9:27 AM  

And I agree about Mel Brooks, never understood why he is considered funny. Blazing Saddles had me scratching my head and I haven't been able to sit through any of his other movies. The only exception is Spaceballs and that's only because I'm a sucker for any Star Wars parody no matter how dreadful.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:27 AM  

Laughing at Mel Brooks and Woody Allen material became a display of ethnic solidarity on the part of Jewish viewers and an act of fealty on the part of non-Jews.

Anonymous Harsh February 22, 2015 9:28 AM  

Young Frankenstein is timeless

I forgot about that. I'll give him that one grudgingly.

Blogger Hound February 22, 2015 9:29 AM  

Agreed with above. Brooks's high water mark was probably Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, and it's been a long decline past that. I mean, Dracula Dead And Loving It? Almost unwatchable.

Also, I don't know anyone who considers History to be his best work, or any scene from it to be his best. The Abby Normal scene from Young Frankenstein alone is funnier than the entirety of History.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 9:29 AM  

The Big Bang Theory was funny when it was about four Blue Pill nerds trying to figure out life and women, but now that they are all hooked up with females it seems vaguely like a watered-down version of Friends.

Always thought that BBT was intelligently witty but not funny. I'll smirk at an obscure science reference, but I've never laughed out loud. OK, a few times involving Will Wheaton, James Earl Jones, and Bob Newhart, but that's it.

Blogger Shimshon February 22, 2015 9:29 AM  

I've lived in Israel since the early 1990s, and have not owned a TV since I left the nest, so missed out on all the TV goodness from that era. But I do remember some incredible comedy from early Simpsons episodes.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 9:30 AM  

Laughing at Mel Brooks and Woody Allen material became a display of ethnic solidarity on the part of Jewish viewers and an act of fealty on the part of non-Jews.

Otherwise, this might happen:


Vox Day ‏@voxday
And who finds Mel Brooks funny? This is said to be the funniest scene of his funniest movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db3e8Qw9hhs … It's BRUTALLY stupid.

Jackie DeLister ‏@JackieDeeNJ
@voxday Are you anti-Semitic?

Anonymous Harsh February 22, 2015 9:32 AM  

'Two and Half Men'

Probably the best written sit-com of it's era.


Up until the time Charlie started dating Chelsea or whatever her name was. It kind of went downhill from there.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 9:32 AM  

And there was a time when you did NOT want that to happen.

Blogger Bogey February 22, 2015 9:35 AM  

Physical humor will usually win me over. High Anxiety had the classic Pyscho take-off.

There was nothing funny in Spaceballs. The fart scene in Blazing Saddles is funny to children and libertines.

Comedians always point to Lenny Bruce breaking down barriers for which I always reply, are we really that better off for it?

Blogger MB February 22, 2015 9:36 AM  

The only good part of Dead and Loving It was Lucy's joke about her rack, and that's only because I was about 14. Otherwise, everything made after Spaceballs that wasn't The Producers on stage was atrocious.

Blogger Viisaus February 22, 2015 9:38 AM  

The original "Producers" was clearly the funniest thing that Mel Brooks accomplished. This scene is hysterical:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4ht5we3qzY

Anonymous grey enlightenment February 22, 2015 9:40 AM  

Yeah, some of this quirky Jewish humor confuses me, too. I think humor is something white and black men are good at, but other groups, including and women, find more difficult (or at least the humor is tedious to listen to).

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:42 AM  

Otherwise, this might happen:

Yeah, that's what you get for noticing things and having the temerity to open your mouth. It constantly gets me into trouble. Growing up it was almost as if my Jewish friends (among them a boy whose father was a well-known executive at a NYC-based network) were *required* to develop an interest in Mel Brooks and Woody Allen. 'Spaceballs' was also popular among these boys, but I couldn't watch it. Enthusiasm for these kinds of films was an ethnic marker. It doesn't explain, however, the popularity of lame, un-funny court jesters such as Dave Letterman and Chevy Chase, Or does it...?

Anonymous WinstonWebb February 22, 2015 9:44 AM  

It doesn't explain, however, the popularity of lame, un-funny court jesters such as Dave Letterman and Chevy Chase

You didn't like Fletch?

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 9:45 AM  

The only exception is Spaceballs and that's only because I'm a sucker for any Star Wars parody no matter how dreadful.

For you and others who might care or have an interest, Israel's version of "Saturday Night Live" (only its funny) started its new season with this Star Wars take on next month's election. It's in Hebrew (and you might see a commercial at the beginning), but I'll summarize.

Luke and Leia are the two heads of the combined center-left opposition. Luke is the head of the Labor Party and Leia is former minister Tzipi Livni. Luke's light saber goes limp because he's viewed as a weak person with a nasaly voice. Bibi is the emperor, and the head of another right-wing party is Vader. Bibi tells Luke and Leia that they cannot win because he has his storm-troopers -- who are dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews and symbolize that their two parties are expected to align themselves in a coalition with the Likud.

What happens at the end? In true Jewish and Israeli fashion, they sit at a table and argue.

Note: The show (and the media in general) is usually criticized by the right as being leftist, and casting Bibi as the emperor leads credence to that argument.

Blogger Bogey February 22, 2015 9:48 AM  

Young Frankenstein is timeless

Still good for some belly laughs.

Blogger Josh February 22, 2015 9:49 AM  

Eighty odd comments and none yet about the comedic genius of Ronald Ulysses Swanson?

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 9:54 AM  

You didn't like Fletch?

I remember watching it once, and some scenes at a tennis court (basically a re-hash of his Ty Webb character from 'Caddyshack'), but it hasn't really stuck with me. I lost interest in American comedy when I was sent to school in England and discovered English comedy (though I had been watching 'Monty Python' and 'The Young Ones' for years). Most Americans have absolutely no idea how utterly *Jewish* modern American culture is.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 9:57 AM  

Funniest Person in the World 2014 -winner, our own Ismo Leikola

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 10:00 AM  

Actually I think I was in England when 'Fletch' came out. I missed a lot of mid-to-late-1980s American culture. Some relations would occasionally send me some VHS cassettes, but I don't recall if that film was among them.

Blogger Joel C. Salomon February 22, 2015 10:06 AM  

I’ve found some of the people mentioned on this thread to be funnier than others, but I’ve never understood what made this Jewish humor, as opposed to humor (or attempts at it, in some cases) by Jews. I’ve known some incredibly funny people within the community, and theirs is an entirely different genre of humor.

Exodus 14:11, “Was it for lack of of graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the desert?”—that’s authentic Jewish humor.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 22, 2015 10:07 AM  

Jackie DeLister ‏@JackieDeeNJ
@voxday Are you anti-Semitic?


Doesn't she know that when you want to shut down debate you have to lead with "Are you anti-Semitic?"

OpenID cailcorishev February 22, 2015 10:09 AM  

The Big Bang Theory was funny when it was about four Blue Pill nerds trying to figure out life and women

Yeah, I enjoyed the first season or so a lot, but it started to annoy me that these supposed anti-social nerds got laid so much. Hollywood people apparently can't imagine anyone going more than a few months without sex, even when his character is Can't Get Laid Guy.

The fart scene in Blazing Saddles is funny to children and libertines.

The fart scene is memorable, not funny, unless you're 12 years old.

Anonymous Susan February 22, 2015 10:11 AM  

Josh, he has to be my new all time favorite tv character from a show. Working for a government department for the express purpose of destroying it from within, because he hates the government. And his riffs on the subject of meat are very funny.

OpenID cailcorishev February 22, 2015 10:15 AM  

Cosby's standup, for all his current problems, had me literally doubled over as a kid. Not sure how funny I'd find it now

I could play his childhood stories right now and it'd get me laughing. They're tremendous. (The animated Fat Albert show, on the other hand, has not aged well.)

What's the verdict here on the Three Stooges? I never found them the least bit funny, but for a while that was heresy. The attitude was: men like Stooges, women don't, so if you're a real man, you'd better like them. No thanks.

Anonymous Nathan February 22, 2015 10:17 AM  

I like Brooks, although I can certainly see the various criticisms pointed out, such as beating a joke to death across scenes and even movies. However, I also think comedy as a whole is pretty much dead. Most of the "new blood" I was forced to listen to at work sounded more like youth "pastors" for an atheist camp, and what little that wasn't seemed more like signalling to the SJW in-group. At least Brooks could occasionally catch lightning in a bottle.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 10:33 AM  

I’ve found some of the people mentioned on this thread to be funnier than others, but I’ve never understood what made this Jewish humor, as opposed to humor (or attempts at it, in some cases) by Jews. I’ve known some incredibly funny people within the community, and theirs is an entirely different genre of humor.

Here's how I think I can explain it. Jewish humor always has a dark edge because of all the crap that happened in history. Here are just a few examples.

1. "What's the theme of every Jewish holiday? They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat!"

2. A few months ago, when there were near-daily attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and people thought a Third Intifada was starting, a woman put this picture on Facebook with a caption "I'm going to take out the trash." At the same time, the Israeli "Saturday Night Live" show that I mentioned above took a picture of a bus and Photoshopped in its LED sign "Next Stop: Intifada."

3. "Seinfeld," if you think about it, was pretty dark in how the main characters treated people (and often each other).

Blogger LP 999/Eliza February 22, 2015 10:33 AM  

Ha, too cool, the bro is funny after all. I didn't know the comedian in question was long timer not a one hit timer.

Funniest ever history of the world 8;31 in as linked. The following video was the Roman Emperor History of the World.

That is way women should dress forevermore! Great hair-dos. I can only wear my Renaissance styled outfit for Halloween or Ren festivals.

Something fun that Prince Charles said of Princess Diana, was something, "yes, she has a eating eye dog," regarding her desire to be thin. The skinnies found that hilarious.

One of the more fun and silly music videos is Avril Lavingie's Hello Kitty. Aza a fan I want all the outfits from the music video. The concept isn't racist or serious, its all for fun.

Something that should be continually mocked or negged is when women, "As A expert excel paper pusher, blah-blah.", its Aza.

Woody Allen and the hollyweirds are creeps.

They are not remotely funny. Vox could easily do a stand up but he has better things to do. The men here are instanta hilarious comedy gold b/c testosterone truth courses through them.

Anonymous NateM February 22, 2015 10:34 AM  

"Friends was the worst; it was unwatchable by the end"

The fact that you added 'by the end' to this statement makes me question you more than any other statement you've made.

Anonymous Bird on a Wing February 22, 2015 10:34 AM  

Vox Day ‏@voxday
And who finds Mel Brooks funny? This is said to be the funniest scene of his funniest movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db3e8Qw9hhs … It's BRUTALLY stupid.

Jackie DeLister ‏@JackieDeeNJ
@voxday Are you anti-Semitic?


Is that a joke?



(That's would be my response, at least. I haven't checked the Twitter timeline)

Anonymous Will Best February 22, 2015 10:37 AM  

Penny is a dumb blonde, who somehow managed to land a high intensity pharmaceutical sales job.

The drug reps that go from doctor's office to doctor's office aren't all that hard to get. In my experience attractive men and women spend about 2 years as a pharmacy tech before graduating to that.

I was about ten, I worshipped Star Wars, and I laughed my ass off to Spaceballs.

Mel Brooks was a comedian of my youth that didn't translate to adulthood. I used to love all his stuff, and now I can't really even watch it. There are a lot of things like that. I used to watch ST:TNG with my dad, hard to watch now. And don't even get me started on Saved by the Bell.

--

I find Simon Evans amusing but not funny. Sort of like Larry Miller, though Miller's bit on skiing almost had me to tears.

Bill Burr, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Cosby are all good. Louis CK's, George Carlin and Chris Rock's earlier stuff. I am up for the occasional fat man being fat (Louie Anderson). Yakov's stuff from a decade+ ago was funny don't know what he is up to these days. Dry humor like Steven Wright.

I don't understand how black humor is even remotely funny, and to see a white guy like Ralphie May do it boggles my mind. Also, I almost never find women funny, though Rita Rudner has a bunch of good jokes and I did watch Iliza Shlesinger's on netflix and found them entertaining.

Blogger Desiderius February 22, 2015 10:44 AM  

Cail,

"One problem he has is his tendency to wink at the audience and say, 'Wasn't that funny?'"

It's remarkable how important this is. Whenever we'd play it straight, the audience would be in stitches, but if you're in on the joke, it falls flat. See Fallon almost ruining the "Cowbell" sketch, while Farrell and Walken nail it.

Blogger Desiderius February 22, 2015 10:45 AM  

Simmons had to take a pot shot at Carol Burnett in his SNL review. I remember being in tears of laughter as a kid watching that.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 10:48 AM  

'Mr. Bean' was way overrated, while Jacques Tati in 'Les vacances de M. Hulot' is a classic.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 10:52 AM  

Speaking of Simon Evans, did anyone else find Johnny Vaughan on 'The Big Breakfast' absolutely hilarious?

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 10:52 AM  

Here's how I think I can explain it. Jewish humor always has a dark edge because of all the crap that happened in history.

But Jewish humor isn't dark. They almost never joke about the Holocaust or pogroms or the more nonsensical aspects of the Talmud, and they get very upset when other people do. Quite a bit of it seems to be in-group reassurance similar to liberal humor. "Hey, look at that guy, he sure is stupid, isn't he? Not like you and me!"

I find that sort of humor to be quasi-retarded, whether George W. Bush or Sarah Palin or Barack Obama is the target.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 10:53 AM  

I think it's easy for an American to miss the point of Mr. Bean. It's that he can pull off all the mannerisms of a British gentleman, yet be a ten year old kid inside. And nobody ever notices. It's funny to a Brit because he knows all those mannerisms, and has probably done them himself. Essentially it is satire about British culture, not a retard doing funny things.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 10:55 AM  

"Hey, look at that guy, he sure is stupid, isn't he? Not like you and me!"

Yes, that pretty much sums it up. When you finally figure out what's behind it all, it loses any appeal it might have had.

Blogger Vox February 22, 2015 10:55 AM  

The fact that you added 'by the end' to this statement makes me question you more than any other statement you've made.

Why? It was a perfectly generic sitcom set in New York with prettier girls than the average one. I don't think I even saw a single episode for the first five or six seasons. I never thought it was particularly intelligent or particularly retarded. I quite liked the Bruce Willis episode when he finally opens up and turns into a weeper. That was a classic "be careful what you wish for" trope.

Blogger Rabbi B February 22, 2015 10:56 AM  

Tim Conway at his funniest when trying to get the other characters to break . . . remember this one as a kid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaaj7Mv4QO0

Classic.

Also Bob Newhart's "The Driving Instructor" and other imaginary dialogues. Timeless. Genius.

Anonymous Anubis February 22, 2015 10:57 AM  

"Penny is a dumb blonde, who somehow managed to land a high intensity pharmaceutical sales job."

Show up at doctors offices and hospitals making the same sales pitch over and over. I would think the hardest part is getting the local take out food. They don't understand their products beyond talking points conveniently listed on their tchotchkes .

Blogger Positive Dennis February 22, 2015 10:58 AM  

Russian humor is not something I get at all.

Anonymous Laz February 22, 2015 10:59 AM  

"The Big Bang Theory was funny when it was about four Blue Pill nerds trying to figure out life and women"

What makes you think any where blue pill?

You have an atheist theoretical physicist, you have another theoretical physicist who might be blue pill but continually tells the other physicist's mom not to say things that might be considered racially insensitive, you have a Jew who still lives with his mom and you have a rich Hindu who eats red meat.

Not a single blue pill among them. In fact the only character I think would come anywhere near blue pill status is Bernadette's dad.

Anonymous An Israeli February 22, 2015 11:00 AM  

I've always found Bob Hope funny, and so has my father, so I have no idea what the writer of this slam piece is talking about.

That being said, I also like Brooks and Allen, so to each his own.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 11:02 AM  

They almost never joke about the Holocaust or pogroms or the more nonsensical aspects of the Talmud, and they get very upset when other people do.

Hmm. Maybe it's strictly an Israeli thing -- there are tons of Holocaust jokes here. In just one example, the word for "Holocaust" (shoah) is used for things like seeing a huge traffic jam ("What a shoah!")

And any Jew who isn't Orthodox or perhaps Conservative isn't going to know enough about the Talmud to make jokes about it. Almost all Jewish comedians are secular (or thereabouts).

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:03 AM  

yet be a ten year old kid inside

'Mr. Bean' taps into the infantilized sensibilities of modern audiences, British and American, without any of the talent or deftness that characterised, say, the public schoolboy humour of Python. Tati, on whom Atkinson based the character, did it much better.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 11:03 AM  

Russian humor is not something I get at all.

I don't think I've ever seen a Russian person smile. They tell me it's just not done, or something like that.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2015 11:06 AM  

Vox.

Blazing Saddles.

Your argument is invalid.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 11:06 AM  

It's not intended for anything other than British audience, though it did get popular in America and obviously the publisher is not going to say no just for art's sake.

But you have never tried to keep a "stiff upper lip" in an embarrassing situation. That is not your culture. The British viewer has been there.

You see only the obvious, and think it's crock. And I understand why. I can't help you with that. But you're wrong.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2015 11:07 AM  

Also... isn't Rivers the one that said "A german hasn't looked that hot sin they were standing next to ovens"??

That was funny dammit.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:08 AM  

Rex the Runt was funny.

Anonymous NateM February 22, 2015 11:08 AM  

"I like to imagine Sheen did what he did in reaction to Lorre trying to dial back the Red Pill and pussify the lead character Charlie."

It did have all the hallmarks of Charlie Sheen tossing a grenade on it. Sure, the guy's got some serious problems, but how fast he bounced back and how cleanly he just ended his relationship with the show makes me think he wanted to get out but had to find a way to get out of his contract that he couldn't by just quitting. AND he ended up as far as I know getting paid out for it too.

"it was a perfectly generic sitcom"

True. I don't think I watched many a full episode of the show though, the people were just too annoying and stupid to be amusing (though oddly I actually found Chandler funny). Even in my pre Red Pill days I could only shake my head at what a hapless clown Ross was.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 22, 2015 11:10 AM  

Penny is a dumb blonde, who somehow managed to land a high intensity pharmaceutical sales job.

Penny is the perfect example of the modern pharma rep. Trust Cataline on this point.

Blogger Josh February 22, 2015 11:11 AM  

What makes you think any where blue pill?


Um...because they all put girls on pedestals?

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:14 AM  

'Mr Bean' was indeed quite popular in the US, as I recall, as it was an appropriately dumbed-down vehicle. Anyway, Atkinson was far better in "Blackadder'. So was the late Rik Mayall (RIP). As for the rest of your comment, I don't know what you're going on about there. (?)

Anonymous Daniel February 22, 2015 11:14 AM  

History of the World is horrible, and I thought it was horrible when I first saw it as a kid at a sleepover. We all conked out during it, and I think it was the first one we put in. Waiting for Guffman has a really funny lampoon of Jewish humor with the talentless, unfunny dentist who comes from a long line of atrocious Jewish humorists. That movie also takes on gay drama queens, gamma know-it-alls and civic pride.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2015 11:16 AM  

" Blazing Saddles at least has its occasional moments."

MOMENTS!

/facepalm

Look.. the end was stupid. But same can be said for the end of The Holy Grail.

Make a ven diagram of people who love monte python and people who love Blazing Saddles and its like one big circle. The overlap is huge.

Nah... you've gone off your rocker on this one mate. Yes.. most of Mel Brooks stuff was awful... but some of Python's stuff was awful as well.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:18 AM  

True. I don't think I watched many a full episode of the show though, the people were just too annoying and stupid to be amusing (though oddly I actually found Chandler funny). Even in my pre Red Pill days I could only shake my head at what a hapless clown Ross was.

I never saw the appeal of the show. It wasn't particularly funny, none of the characters was especially attractive, and the writing was atrocious. And yet, every Friday morning the girls in the front office would all be talking about last night's episode. Wtf?!

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 11:18 AM  

First of all, I understand British culture as well as it is possible to understand a culture that is not your own. In my lifetime I've watched British television probably more than American television. Also, our cultures are very similar on average, though they have a couple of marked differences.

When I watch Mr. Bean, I can see the subtext. He is found in an embarrassing situation you think he can't get out of - the one that will finally reveal to everyone that he isn't a British gentleman, but just a kid. Then he pulls off some gesture that saves him. The British viewer laughs, not because he's a funny man who did a funny thing, but because he has done that very same thing to get out of an embarrassing situation himself. Not quite THAT embarrassing, but embarrassing nevertheless. The viewer is laughing at himself. At how the gentleman act is just that - an act.

Blogger Bobo February 22, 2015 11:19 AM  

I don't know if anyone's pointed it out, but the funniest thing Mel Brooks ever did was hiring Richard Pryor to write most of Blazing Saddles.
If there's ever been a funnier negro on the planet than Richard, I never heard them.

Anonymous 0007 February 22, 2015 11:20 AM  

Regarding Bob Hope,
I was on a military base back in the early '80's where Hope had been invited to a golf tournament. Just about noon the word went out that he was doing an impromptu performance in one of the hangers. I got the location and went over. Hope was standing on a AF blue flatbed trailer with a mike and a one speaker portable PA system and about 50-60 guys in uniform - mostly enlisted ranks - standing around. The man did the better part of 45 minute off the cuff and topical without a curse word snd without repeating a line until he had to go back to the tourn. I doubt if there is a "comic" today who could that - well maybe Williams could have - but he'd have had to watch his mouth.
Jist sayin'.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:22 AM  

I haven''t watched an episode in years, but sometimes I think 'Rex the Runt' was funny only because my friends and I usually watched it after a night out drinking.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:23 AM  

'Father Ted' starring the late Dermot Morgan was hilarious and still makes me laugh. [Am I allowed to say this on a Sunday...?]

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 11:24 AM  

Speaking of comedy (or lack thereof), anyone see SNL 40? I saw it (again, late) last night -- but about half, I now realize, had been cut for the Israeli audience. What did everyone think?

My favorite part was Jane Curtin's take on Fox News. If I recall, it was, "I used to be the hot blonde reading fake news. Now, they have a network full of them." [Cut to Fox News logo]

Anonymous Will Best February 22, 2015 11:25 AM  

There was an episode in the last couple seasons of BBT where Howard didn't get his allowance because he didn't do his chores. You can't get more gamma than that.

If Leonard were red-pill he would use his experience with Penny and her confirmation bias of him to trade up to a nonslut But instead he spends his time saying how he can't do better than an aging carnival ride, that can't cook, and dyked her hair.

Blogger James Dixon February 22, 2015 11:25 AM  

> Get Smart ws funny, but it was Don Adams that pulled it off.

Agreed. No one else could have pulled of the jokes he did. It's like Vox said about the "Don't call me Shirley" line from Airplane. Only Leslie Nielsen could have made that funny.

> Vox, what about Spaceballs and Blazing Saddles?

Spaceballs sucked. Blazing Saddles had it moments, but completely lost it by the end. Young Frankenstein was actually better in that regard.

> No love for Rodney Dangerfield?

No one respects Rodney Dangerfield. :)

> I really liked Red Skelton's gently style of humor.

Red was funny. Several others from that generation were pretty good too. And of course there's always Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello. If you've never seen it, you really owe it to yourself to watch Who's on First: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg

> Cosby's standup, for all his current problems, had me literally doubled over as a kid.

Yep. Cosby definitely deserves a nod among the top comedians.

> And there was a time when you did NOT want that to happen.

Whereas now most people don't care. In a few decades at most, it'll be a badge of honor. The more things change....

> I could play his childhood stories right now and it'd get me laughing.

Fat Albert had a car.... :)

> What's the verdict here on the Three Stooges?

If you like slapstick, you'll like the Three Stooges. Otherwise not.

And the people who like Spaceballs really need to check out the single season of Quark. If you're a Star Trek nerd, it's hilarious. Otherwise, probably not.







Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus February 22, 2015 11:28 AM  

"Hey, look at that guy, he sure is stupid, isn't he? Not like you and me!"

Hence the need for comedy to "sting" and "punch".

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 11:29 AM  

To find Spaceballs hilarious (and I did laugh so hard that it was physically painful to watch) you really need to have held Star Wars in almost religious esteem. And also, it had to have been the first (or so) time you've seen someone be irreverent towards your sacred cow.

Otherwise, everything in it gets really old, really fast. But the thing is, when it's totally new to you, then that doesn't matter.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:29 AM  

Not all British viewers laughed, surely. I think Bean inspired more affection than just hilarity. "Gentleman act"...yes, Monty Python did it much better.

The Fast Show > Mr. Bean

There's a reason the latter did fairly well in the US--being an appropriately dumbed-down [for modern British and American audiences] entertainment vehicle--while the former never really translated well into American.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2015 11:29 AM  

Yeah, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein were both damn funny. I never saw A History of The World and wasn't impressed by that clip. And for the coup de grace, The Big Lebowski was written and directed by the Coens.

"They almost never joke about the Holocaust..."

Brooks did in The Producers. Kind of.

I don't think it's fair to lump Brooks and Allen into the same category at all. Woody Allen has always been a weird and miserable freak. I also seldom found Seinfeld himself to be funny, but he worked well as a focal point for the story, with the best comedy being delivered by Jason Alexander (George).

But, those Simon Evans clips were truly great.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:32 AM  

Bob Hope's 'Road to' movies are still amusing today. Just saying.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 11:34 AM  

"Gentleman act"...yes, Monty Python did it much better.

Monty Python didn't do exactly the same thing. First of all, the comedy was directed at the ACTUAL upper class, not the basic, vanilla stiff upper lip required of all brits except the very lowest of the classes. Second, Monty python's comedy was somewhat hostile towards what it parodied. Bean's was indeed affectionate.

I think their big mistake in mr. Bean was to allow it to be seen outside Britain. Other cultures didn't have those experiences that the viewer is really laughing at.

As for The Fast Show, well, this might be sacrilege but I'll just say it. It's better than Monty Python.

With Monty Python, we only remember the scetches that worked. But try watching actual, full episodes. The Fast Show worked more of the time.

Anonymous ZT February 22, 2015 11:35 AM  

Vox, I never got the feeling of him trying to disabuse the belief that stereotypes didn't exist. It was more a celebration of the fun you could have with them.

Mind you he did like to poke fun at whitty but he did it to everyone.

Either way if you don't like low brow sophomoric humor it's no big deal. We all know your an elitist and that's ok. You are free to not like the humor. Now if some people think you do not laugh loud enough for SJW humor that is there problem.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:36 AM  

As for The Fast Show, well, this might be sacrilege but I'll just say it. It's better than Monty Python.

Agreed. Someone has to say it.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:38 AM  

Are you local?

Blogger S1AL February 22, 2015 11:38 AM  

Mel Brooks as a director is very polar in his humor. I personally thought that his parodies of Dracula and Robin Hood were much funnier than the rest of his work, though Blazing Saddles had some fun moments.

As far as comedians go, Brian Regan is excellent. He has the rare talent of taking the thoroughly mundane and making great humor out of it, without having to resort to shock value or profanity.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 11:41 AM  

I'm not sure I understand the question. I'm a Finn. I've been to Britain once. For two weeks, if my memory serves me right. But culturally, at least in the eighties, we were much closer to Britain than to USA. TV programming, and so forth. Also, we were taught exclusively British English at school. US English was seen as kind of an embarrassing heresy, that we had to address only when we absolutely had to.

Anonymous guitarman February 22, 2015 11:43 AM  

One of the funniest shows for me was as predictable as it gets. Keeping Up Appearances.

Anonymous liljoe February 22, 2015 11:44 AM  

Young Frankenstein was Brooks at his best.
."give him an extra dollar"

sorry but that film was very funny, and still funny after repeat viewings

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 11:45 AM  

It was a reference to one of the 'League of Gentlemen' sketches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOtpgz4L5d8

"Poofter, eh?"

Anonymous Starbuck February 22, 2015 11:50 AM  

See, I think Big Bang is often quite funny. - VD

Well geeze VD. I always thought you were a nerd, now I know for sure. While I do find Nerd humor to be funny, I do find other humor to be funny as well. Even if you find other humor to be retarded. You have merely turned into and old stick in the mud. i.e. aging dork.

Anonymous guitarman February 22, 2015 11:51 AM  

The IT Crowd is > Big Bang Theory.

Anonymous Laz February 22, 2015 11:51 AM  

@ Josh: Sorry, got the pills mixed up again.

Blogger Shimshon February 22, 2015 12:00 PM  

Speaking of Airplane!, I saw it first run as a kid in 1980 with my mom, and I remember it being one 90 minute long gag. No idea how it has aged, but it was the funniest thing I had ever seen at 13.

As far as Big Bang, they are all total gammas except for Sheldon, who is sigma-ish. Leonard has had moments of emerging from blue pill gammatude, but I guess the writers prefer to keep him as a cliche, even though he's had the proverbial hot blonde for years (though she is aging). Sheldon's aloof interactions with Amy are probably some of the better riffs on the show nowadays, and that's also cliche by now. In real life, Amy would've probably seduced Sheldon long ago, no matter how androgynous his character, and that would be the end of it.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 22, 2015 12:02 PM  

Mister Bean? Funny? Honestly?

Weird thing about Rowan Atkinson is he either delivers or he doesn't.

If you had only seen Mister Bean or worse Blackadder I. You would rightfully assume, he was the most incompetent comic you had ever seen in your life and you wouldn't have the slightest idea why he has a career.

On the other hand if you had only ever seen Blackadder II through IV, you would think he was one of the greatest comedic geniuses of all time.

Both of from the same guy.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 12:04 PM  

Mister Bean? Funny? Honestly?

Are you British? And adequately high class, that you at least sometimes have to put on a tweed jacket and play the gentleman? If you're not, then the comedy is not for you.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2015 12:06 PM  

And what about Harold Ramis?? Although I suppose that those who don't find repetition funny probably wouldn't appreciate Groundhog Day.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 12:10 PM  

You may say that American audiences are stupid for enjoying Mr. Bean, because they don't see the subtext - nor could they be expected to - and still laugh at the banally obvious. Like a child who laughs only because the adults are laughing.

Or, you might say that the publisher is a bunch of greedy bastards for bringing the show to an audience that just doesn't have enough common ground that they could see the subtext.

But you can not blame the comic for failing to amuse you with comedy that was not meant for you.

Blogger LibertyPortraits February 22, 2015 12:10 PM  

Jews are whiners aren't they? Always complaining about the covenant and focusing on every detail of disaster their race has endured. I went to a temple once and they literally go through a list of all the bad things that have happened to them since ancient times. That God would somehow choose these people is quite possibly the strongest atheist argument I've encountered.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 12:12 PM  

They were chosen because God gave that promise to Abraham, and God keeps his promises. What Jews are like, is completely irrelevant.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 12:13 PM  

The possibility exists, surely, that there are some people for whom the show was made who understand it and still find it unfunny.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 12:16 PM  

Of course. They are equipped to make that judgement.

Anonymous Supernaut February 22, 2015 12:21 PM  

I must have watched History of the World, Spaceballs, Robin Hood - Men in Tights, etc., 10 times or more each as a young teen who just discovered the wonders of cannabis and watching slapstick movies, so that movie along with all the other Mel Brook's movies hold a special place in my memory. But it wasn't just Mel Brooks, it was that era of over the top slapstick movies that are no longer made. Top Secret, Johnny Dangerously, Erik the Viking, the Airplane and Naked Gun movies...seems like those type of movies have gone the way of the Hollywood musicals.

But yes, after re-watching most of these movies on DVD as an adult, they are not nearly as hilarious as I remember them to be. And it's true about the bathroom themes and lewd humor in all of Mel Brook's works. Even as a stoned adolescent, I didn't find the piss, shit and fart jokes to be particularly entertaining.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 12:23 PM  

What was the point if any of Cheech & Chong?

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 12:26 PM  

The appeal of 'Seinfeld' was the George Costanza character.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2015 12:27 PM  

in terms of great comedians... The late tim Wilson bears mention. The man was a genius. I remember a great line... he was complaining about Bill Clinton in the 90s..

"Bill Clinton drove an el camino in college... if you can't decide between a malibu and a pickup truck... you don't need to be runnin' the free world."

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 22, 2015 12:28 PM  

@Markku

Monty Python was the first Cambridge Footlights humor (humour if you must), to make it in America.

Although it was also a massive ripoff of The At Last The 1948 Show. Which also starred Cleese and Chapman (and Marty Feldman come to that).

It was like Monty Python (to include a lot of the exact same sketches) but without the magic.

Anonymous Trimegistus February 22, 2015 12:28 PM  

Cheech & Chong appeal to the intense, uncontrollable desire of stoners to talk about how stoned they are. I find stoners the most monumentally boring people on Earth. Give me a belligerent drunk over a self-absorbed stoner any day.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 12:38 PM  

But imagine a Japanese seeing an episode of the show, and pronouncing it to be of poor quality.

Hey, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't, but YOU'VE never been around stoners, Jap, so you aren't even in a position to say.

Anonymous Scintan February 22, 2015 12:40 PM  

Not acknowledging that Mel Brooks was/is funny just means that your sense of humor is woefully deficient.

Anonymous Francis February 22, 2015 12:44 PM  

"Jews are whiners aren't they? Always complaining about the covenant and focusing on every detail of disaster their race has endured. I went to a temple once and they literally go through a list of all the bad things that have happened to them since ancient times. That God would somehow choose these people is quite possibly the strongest atheist argument I've encountered."

And they've never had it so bad as they do in the US today!

Blogger Corvinus February 22, 2015 12:46 PM  

German humor is freaking ghastly, it's like black comedy without the comedy.

Actually, I think that's Scandinavian humor. German humor is somewhat lighter and manages to be funnier, but yes, it is indeed along the same lines.

Blogger Akulkis February 22, 2015 12:48 PM  

"Russian humor is not something I get at all."

I started studying Russian in the mid 1990's. It was a real milestone in my understanding of the language when I started understanding the jokes.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 12:49 PM  

I swear this story is true, and I'm not exaggerating or omitting any details for comedic effect.

I had no prior experience with German humor, so I figured I'd test that theory. I searched for "german comedy" in YouTube and watched the first hit.

It included a joke about squeezing baby tigers out of blood and putting them in a blender.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey February 22, 2015 12:52 PM  

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were superb in 'Not Only...But Also'.

'A Bit of a Chat' is a memorable sketch from January 1966:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9_kTOgjT3E

Anonymous Francis February 22, 2015 12:54 PM  

"I started studying Russian in the mid 1990's. It was a real milestone in my understanding of the language when I started understanding the jokes."

It took me a long time to understand Russian humor (assuming I'm getting it now). I had to read those 2 Gulag Archipelago books a few time (in English) to even get some of the vibe. I guess much of the humor is along the lines of "if I didn't laugh, I'd cry" type of stuff. My 2 rubles...

Anonymous The other skeptic February 22, 2015 12:54 PM  

@voxday Are you anti-Semitic?

You mean like Barack Obama

Wasserman Schultz has a different sense of herself. According to people who spoke with her, when she sensed Obama was considering replacing her as chair in 2013, she began to line up supporters to suggest the move was both anti-woman and anti-Semitic.

Not to mention plotting to defeat Bibi ...

Blogger Corvinus February 22, 2015 1:02 PM  

I swear this story is true, and I'm not exaggerating or omitting any details for comedic effect.

I had no prior experience with German humor, so I figured I'd test that theory. I searched for "german comedy" in YouTube and watched the first hit.

It included a joke about squeezing baby tigers out of blood and putting them in a blender.


Markku, are you sure the Germans didn't steal that one from the Swedes?

Blogger Akulkis February 22, 2015 1:03 PM  

"I don't think I've ever seen a Russian person smile. They tell me it's just not done, or something like that."

In the USSR era, smiling could lead to undue attention, which could lead to an investigation which leads to... a gulag.

Anonymous map February 22, 2015 1:09 PM  

The problem with Mel Brooks is that he takes too long to set up a joke. His comedy was largely eclipsed by the Zucker and Farrelly Brothers back in the 80's and 90's. Compare "Robin Hood" Men in Tights" with "Naked Gun" and, later, "Kingpin" or "There's Something About Mary." The two cannot compare.

Blazing Saddles was OK, The Producers was much better and History of the World Part was ok.

I'd say Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland in Start the Revolution Without Me was hilarious.

You watch Friends if you had a girlfriend. There was no choice.

I could not understand Big Bang Theory. Bunch of physics humor attached to a laugh track.

Black Adder was fabulous comedy, especially the one with King George. Although, Atkinson and Cleese have done enormous damage to England which they both later regret.

Spaceballs is declining Mel Brooks.

Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation is hilarious. Quote: "Clear alcohol is for women on diets."

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 1:11 PM  

Although, Atkinson and Cleese have done enormous damage to England which they both later regret.

What do you mean?

Blogger S1AL February 22, 2015 1:11 PM  

@Markku

"I had no prior experience with German humor, so I figured I'd test that theory. I searched for "german comedy" in YouTube and watched the first hit.

It included a joke about squeezing baby tigers out of blood and putting them in a blender."

The first hit I got was a guy named Johannes Schroeder, who was playing off of lots of German and American stereotypes.

'German humor is like... how you say? A vegetarian steakhouse. A platonic gangbang. Canadian football, that is a good comparison.'


Actually seems very funny.

Anonymous vales3 February 22, 2015 1:12 PM  

Ah the History of the World Part 1...I admit when I saw it in the movie theater when it first came out I thought it was hilarious. Of course I was 13. Now its unwatchable. The only part that gets a chuckle out of me now when I was roped into watching it recently were the 'previews' at the end: Jews in Space & Hitler on Ice, that still makes me laugh.

Mel Brooks just doesn't hold up. I've never thought Woody Allen was funny or even clever - Just annoying. Seinfeld...SERENITY NOW! (Seinfeld drives me bonkers, I'd rather repeatedly bang my head against the wall).

Love Bob Hope.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 1:12 PM  

For me, it was this

Blogger JAY WILL February 22, 2015 1:14 PM  

Any thoughts on Ricky Gervais? Really enjoyed The Office particularly the interplay between Tim and Gareth. He seems to have gone downhill fast from there. I find his interviews annoying as well, not sure why though.



Anonymous Francis February 22, 2015 1:15 PM  

Markku,
Are you a Finn? My friend who is Swedish told me he went fishing with 2 Finns some years ago out on a boat in Lake something or other. He tried to get a conversation going a few times and failed. Nobody spoke for 10 hours. There was quite a bit of drinking though...

Anonymous Goodnight February 22, 2015 1:15 PM  

'Mr. Bean' was way overrated, while Jacques Tati in 'Les vacances de M. Hulot' is a classic.

My wife gave me the complete Jacques Tati in bluray from Criterion Collection for Christmas. He was a genius. It's very easy to see where Atkinson developed Mr. Bean, but Tati as Hulot was so much better. His movies still hold up very well after more than a half century. Some of the staging in his films is fantastically clever and very funny.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 1:17 PM  

Wow. Talk while FISHING? Since he didn't get knocked out, they were clearly being polite because he was a Swede. I imagine there were sideways glances to each other.

Anonymous Rolf February 22, 2015 1:19 PM  

I may not be the best person to ask about humor (according to my older sister I've been making and loving puns since I was ~ two), but I have found that my tastes in jokes have changed a great deal over the years. I've haven't found the sort of "humor" in things like "Dumb and Dumber" funny since grade school, but other things I used to like a lot I don't any more, and other things I used to not get I now appreciate. Japanese humor still largely escapes me. Some cultural jokes I don't get at first are great once the proper context is explained. But overall, it's very hit-or-miss. Unnecessary crudeness is usually off-putting for me, more so now that I have kids.

And, since the topic is culture and humor, the obligatory cultural joke:
Heaven is a place for German engineers, French cooks, Italian lovers, and English soldiers.
Hell is a place for English cooks, Italian engineers, French soldiers, and German lovers.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 1:20 PM  

Since its part of my job in digital marketing, regarding the comments on which YouTube videos appear first in results for German comedy:

Google has a complicated algorithm when choosing what to display in search results. One large part of the algorithm is links. A website or video that has a greater number of links pointing to it will generally rank more highly than sites or videos with fewer links. NOTE: This sometimes does not reflect on the quality or relevance of that website or video to the specific query.

However, the smarter that Google is getting, the more that individualization plays a role. Your prior searches, the specific device you are using at the time (desktop vs. mobile), your geographic location, whatever Google may infer about you personally, and a lot more is now reflected in one's specific search results.

So, if person A and B inputs the same query, A and B will likely see different results based on all those factors. Which leads me to ask the person who saw the video about squeezing baby tiger blood: For what have you searched in the past? :)

Anonymous Francis February 22, 2015 1:20 PM  

"Wow. Talk while FISHING? Since he didn't get knocked out, they were clearly being polite because he was a Swede. I imagine there were sideways glances to each other.'

Nobody went all Simho Hayha on his ass or anything. And he did bring the booze.

Anonymous Maximo Macaroni February 22, 2015 1:22 PM  

What? No one likes Emo Phillips? I always wonder why he stopped making albums. Or did he?

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 1:23 PM  

Finns talk very little anyways, but fishing is the one time where it is absolutely forbidden to talk. The fish can hear you easliy.

The difficult thing to understand is that we are comfortable with silence. For us, silence is acceptance. For most other cultures it isn't, and they start feeling awkward.

Anonymous Jack Amok February 22, 2015 1:28 PM  

one of the main things I've noticed about "Jewish humor" is that it seems to have a strong tendency to beat a joke to death.

I've never been a big SNL fan, in large part because they beat every damn joke to death. A bit would be funny for 30 or 40 seconds, maybe even really funny, but the skit would go on for three minutes. I always just assumed it was because they had to fill 90 minutes every week and just couldn't come up with enough funny skits so they had to stretch what they had.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 1:29 PM  

The difficult thing to understand is that we are comfortable with silence. For us, silence is acceptance. For most other cultures it isn't, and they start feeling awkward.

I actually find that fascinating. People from colder climates are more reserved and stoic -- Russians not smiling, Finns not talking, and the British "stiff upper lip" -- while people from warmer climates -- like Jews and Arabs -- are more emotive and willing to shout, yell, and fight at the slightest provocation.

Is it really just the weather? Or is it something else? I don't have an answer.

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 1:31 PM  

So, if person A and B inputs the same query, A and B will likely see different results based on all those factors. Which leads me to ask the person who saw the video about squeezing baby tiger blood: For what have you searched in the past? :)

Do the search "german comedy". If you get "German Comedian rocks American audience" as the first hit that is in any way relevant to the subject, the joke's on you...

Blogger S1AL February 22, 2015 1:33 PM  

@Samuel Scott -

I searched youtube, so...

@Markku -

Yeah the tiger part is definitely black humor, but I found it pretty amusing. "They use the blood to run Charlie Sheen, right?"

But I've always liked really dark humor.

Anonymous Francis February 22, 2015 1:35 PM  

''...while people from warmer climates -- like Jews and Arabs -- are more emotive and willing to shout, yell, and fight at the slightest provocation."

Go to Sicily...

Blogger Markku February 22, 2015 1:36 PM  

But I've always liked really dark humor.

Don't get me wrong, _I_ could have made that joke at a dinner party. But still, principle worked on the first time I tried it. Point goes to principle.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 1:36 PM  

Heh. I first did the search in my Chrome browser in which Google knows a lot about me. First two results:

Fritten zum Mittag - Kurzfilm Komödie (german comedy short movie with english subtitles)

German Comedian rocks American audience

Then, I did the search in Google incognito mode (automatically reverted to US English). Same two results.

Anonymous Francis February 22, 2015 1:38 PM  

The difficult thing to understand is that we are comfortable with silence. For us, silence is acceptance. For most other cultures it isn't, and they start feeling awkward."

What about shooting 1,000 Russians?

Blogger S1AL February 22, 2015 1:40 PM  

Yes, yes it does. A friend who was working in Russia said similar things, but he also said that they're incredibly gregarious/humorous once you start drinking with them. Granted, this is the guy who once started a night with a bottle of Morgan, so "drinking" for him is a wee bit different.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 22, 2015 1:41 PM  

By the way, I know people here have a bit of a libertarian bent, so if you want to search with the most possible privacy, this new search engine is branding itself as the safest one (I can't vouch one way or the other):

https://duckduckgo.com/

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