Comedy: The Lowest Form of Entertainment
I'll preface this piece by saying that I stole this clever title from the animated series The Fairly Odd Parents, where Cosmo, one of the fairies, says so beautifully, "Comedy is the lowest form of entertainment... right next to animation."
Oh, for being the dumb character in the series, he couldn't have nailed that truth any harder.
Comedy, which comes from the ancient Greek word κωμῳδία (kōmōidía), is, was, and always will be the form of entertainment solely to do one thing: Make you laugh. People might argue, "Making someone laugh can be very difficult. It takes a skilled professional to do such a thing on a regular basis." Not at all. CNN actually wrote an article in 2006 claiming that, "Everyone's a comedian," implying that once the creative, original art is out, everyone and their mom will make their own version to accommodate their hometown, friends, family, school, etc, instantly making it a hit in the immediate area.
Everyone can be a comedian.
Sure, it takes a lot of work to be a good comedian, but seriously, anyone can do it. Try this: The next time you're with a group of friends, and as you're walking towards a door, turn around and start talking to one of the friends. Cleverly, at the very last minute, turn around and ram into the door. Instant comedy. It'll more-than-likely be the highlight of the night and a situation you and your friends will never forget. And who's to say it wasn't funny? As long as people laughed, the job was done. And might I even add perfectly.
In recent years, I've seen all too many people get worked up over new TV shows and movies not being funny enough, including myself, due to the fact that one didn't laugh at every joke, understand the premise, or thought that the comedy was too vulgar, over-the-top, or obscene. Are these really excuses to cross off certain comical experiences, because the entirety of the work wasn't considered funny? It would be kind of hard to find a movie, TV show, or stand up comic presentation where one would laugh constantly the whole way through. Quite a rare occurrence, and not only that, it definitely wouldn't apply to every person, as comedy is subjective.
Another recent term I'm getting sick of is the "Smart Comedy" genre. What in the world is that? Because I have to think about a joke, that makes it smart? No. Honestly, that makes it... well... stupid. Capital S-T-U-P-I-D. Stupid. Comedy isn't supposed to be smart. Any more than politics are supposed to be funny. Movies like Little Miss Sunshine, The Big Sick, and The Death of Stalin, which are all funny movies, try way too hard to attract a crowd of people who think they're smarter than the average bear, and it really doesn't help that these filmes get Oscar nominations and wins. The comparison to Little Miss Sunshine to a movie like Spaceballs would be absurd. However, there is little difference between these two movies, because once again, their primary goals are to do one thing: Make you laugh.
This whole thing recently came to mind when I decided to watch Vampires Suck on a whim, and I will bravely say, the movie did exactly what it was set out to do: Made me laugh. Will it win any awards? Of course not! Will it be recognized as a great film? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Was I able to take anything away from the viewing experience? Absolutely not. It was a comedy. It didn't need to teach me anything. I went into it with one thing in mind: I don't want to think. I just want to laugh.
When we remind ourselves that comedy should never be an award-winning genre, we'll realize once again why we're watching it: To laugh and nothing more. It's not a comedy's job to do any more than that. When one thinks of the greatest comedies of all time, did any of those win awards for excellence in any fashion? No, but they did make you laugh. Do we think that people like Jon Stewart and Trevor Noah are groundbreakers in the politcal satire world? I hope not, at least, as comedy's origin goes back to the Athenian's comic poets and their satire having a huge influence on the voters of their time. It's nothing new, and those comic poets were viewed as nothing more than comedians as well. The jesters of the era.
I write this to rant and get this silly stuff off my chest, but I also write it to encourage everyone to just laugh. Don't think about comedy. Don't allow it to influence you or change your judgment of the world. Don't allow the comedians to bother you with their material, because in all this, they are all just trying to find a way to make you laugh.
Whether it is good or bad, comedy is comedy. It's the lowest form of entertainment for these very reasons, because anyone can do it and people go to great lengths to try and get someone to laugh. It's just a matter of just cutting loose and letting your funny bone be tickled.