Looking back it seems like much of the comedy that we laughed about in movies and stand up acts in the past was based on laughing at people doing dumb things or comedians telling stories about funny things people do told in a clever ways with a punch line . We laughed about others and their mistakes and personal traits and even saw ourselves in their silly actions . But with the changes in what things are considered okay to talk about in any way other than 100% positive and the constriction of acceptable topics that can be poked fun at , are we going to see the end of comedies and comedians? I’ve noticed a sad lack of funny movies that aren’t either vulgar and immoral or unfunny political commentary. Obviously there are different types of humor and some people prefer satire or physical humor or cartoons or whatever . But even simple jokes can be taken wrong nowadays. I laugh at everything and I never mean it in a hurtful way and I’m okay when people laugh at me. But in the current stressed out, defensive culture we live in, I am wondering what is okay to joke about anymore.
I’m starting to ask myself “what is funny ? “. What will even make people laugh these days? Is it possible to make movies and jokes that don’t make fun of people at all? In trying to protect our children from hurt feelings have we made them unable to laugh at themselves? Can we laugh at ourselves without having our sense of self damaged? Can we tell the difference between angry humor and actual humor? What is actual humor? Is it okay to laugh at fail videos and other things people do that we used to laugh at ? Are old TV shows going to be banned because that humor is no longer considered acceptable?
What about shows like The Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, Sanford and Son, Mayberry, Seinfeld, Everybody Hates Chris, In Living Color, the original Saturday Night Live, The Jeffersons, Leave it to Beaver, the early Simpsons and King of the Hill, all shows I grew up watching and some I watched with my kids, are they still acceptable and considered funny? When I search for a recent comedy on Netflix or Hulu I come up empty and end up watching old movies. Are there any funny sitcoms that are being made today? I only find violent and sex-filled and depressing topical series and plenty of occult and vampire and devils. I sometimes watch funny children’s movies like The Secret Life of Pets and Madagascar and Shrek that have some of the great comedic voices. But the newer ones are so obviously pushing various agendas, I can’t stand them. I mean, really?I found Frozen boring. Onward is nothing like the children’s movies of the past. Toy Story was a real gem and very funny, but things have gone downhill steadily.
I Googled ‘comedy 2020’ and if this list is any example, it’s a pretty sad time. I think Google groaned when I put in those search terms. None of these look funny to me and several of them are pushing agendas. Can’t we just have something funny without being told how to think? https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/g31022336/best-comedies-2020/ When I watch new movies I see how they are written to appease today’s political and social warriors. I guess that would be okay if I saw people being happy and laughing and enjoying their free time at the movies and watching TV, but I don’t. People are not having fun with these new shows.
What about National Lampoon’s Vacation and Christmas Vacation, wildly popular Chevy Chase movies that made us laugh at a loving , but dysfunctional family trying to survive vacations and holidays. It made fun of yuppies, poor people, old people, rich people, dads, you name it. Is that offensive now? What about comedies that include , by design, stereotypes of various groups that are now on the sensitive list? Eddie Murphy is an actor and comedian that made some albums where he showed no partiality and made fun of every possible target . I listened and laughed at those albums and memorized some of the funniest lines . One of our favorites was a bit about a mom making hamburgers . but the kid wanted McDonalds hamburgers. So we often say “Bettah than McDonalds?” But the joke includes parts that some people could find offensive if they can’t see the humor . Is Eddie Murphy an insensitive hate speaker or was he a comedy genius at the time ? I highly doubt he could make those albums now despite the fact that they were not mean spirited or angry , just funny .
I mean, is life just too messed up right to laugh? Have you been laughing? Please help me understand what it’s okay to laugh about in the comments below . Share some of your favorite comedy movies and shows, current and vintage. Actually I had to work hard to even remember the last funny I movie I saw because life has been so unfunny lately. I think it was Don’t Mess With the Zohan. That might not be your taste, but what was the last funny movie that really made you laugh?
Amen, well said! Nobody can take a joke in this twisted time of commie SJW thought police. Christmas Vacation was just on the other day. Always makes me laugh. I’m part of GenX and I can’t stand all the censorship in our society today. I’m all about free speech. People definitely need to lighten up and stop with all the weak minded censorship of ideas and speech they don’t agree with. The left doesn’t want to have intelligent debates. They just want to shout down and ban everything they don’t like according to their twisted view of right and wrong. Crazy times. God bless!
Agree, but I just think it is very sad that today’s kids and young adults are so overly serious and sensitive and don’t even laugh. OR if they do laugh, it’s sometimes really not at funny stuff, it’s prideful scorn. That kind of laughing doesn’t do the heart good.
My pet theory is that it was Comedy Central that started the downward trajectory of comedy. Thanks to Jon Stewart, their entire evening line-up became “let’s tell stories about Republicans and conservative issues and make stupid faces.” Then it became let’s start telling stories and calling people racist, homophobic, etc. like Twitter trolls. And then it became full-blown thought police / nothing is funny / “comedy” can be nothing but a far-left political rant, the more extreme the better.
The news about Kimmel recently isn’t even all that surprising to me. I am old enough to remember when he was the star of The Man Show alongside Adam Corolla (who has somehow managed to defy this trend), and they’d take breaks to have scantily-clad women jumping on trampolines. Now Kimmel’s one of the most militantly woke “comedians” out there. 90% of his shtick is attacking people for behaving like he spent most of his life behaving and trying to destroy them for it.
What’s deeply weird about this whole trend is that the new comedy doesn’t seem to be all that popular, but it has eaten the whole genre because media companies are so concentrated financially and geographically. It has followed the same path as the traditional news media in that demand for their product is in sharp decline, but they become ever more outrageous in doing that which is making them unpopular because of who controls the purse strings.
Some of the “comedy” content that is on Netflix now is deeply disturbing if you actually take the time to watch it. I watched one comedian (I wish I could remember his name) who likes to joke about what it is like to be a Millennial and a Muslim in the US. I decided to give it a chance because I thought it might be exactly the kind of comedy you describe above (Eddie Murphy, In Living Color, etc. – people making fun of themselves and their situation). At the end of his show, he explains that he thought 9/11 was a “success” because watching it happen and its aftermath has brought him closer to his faith, which was the “goal” of the terrorist attack. He’s not joking. He’s being totally sincere, and the audience is just watching silently in shocked horror. That’s what passes for stand-up in this clinically insane social environment.
It is very disturbing but fits in with everything else. As for people like Stewart and Kimmel, it’s just money for them. That last part you wrote is really wow.