Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Comedy & the great joke...

Okay kids, I finally have had a minute to pick up the book (electronically because I'm lazier than all of you. Or more eco-friendly. Let's go with the second one) and was able to just start it today. Drawing from what you all have said, here are some of my thoughts.

Admittedly I haven't read more than 4 chapters, but thus far I'm really enjoying it. She has me laughing frequently, and I don't necessarily feel like its coming across to high-horsed or heavy handed for me. I do think she can be dry and sarcastic while skewering society and herself, but this begs the better question:

Do you think comedians are made (i.e. nature vs. nurture)? It's often thought that many comedians (like many performers i suppose) either have had or do have a lot of personal problems - whether these are causal or reactionary. Tina Fey claims not to be a victim but her awkward childhood certainly seems to play a role in how she feels about the world and subsequently her material.

I guess im asking, does their background inform their views and brand of humor? Furthermore, does ours? I know there are successful comedians out there that each of us could name that we have no love for. Why do we find funny the things we do?



Jennie said...

Interesting thoughts! I definitely think we are all shaped by our experiences. But two people in the same situation can come out completely different. When I think about my favorite comedians, they pretty much universally draw from personal experience (or at least they say they do).

It's also fun to think about why we think things are funny. Is it because we can relate? It is because it's so outlandish? I don't know.

I do know one thing, however. Last night as I was reading about Tina Fey's 12 beauty tips and I got to the part about getting old and read the line where she says she dyes her pubic hair so it's clear and looks like Japanese rice noodles I could NOT stop laughing about it. Paul thought I was insane. I'm laughing right now just remembering it. I mean, Japanese rice noodles?? Seriously? Ahem.

Lisa said...

Now I can't eat rice noodles . . . dammit Tina Fey! I think great comedy and great tragedy and drama all come from being able to see the edges of things. Where something is ridiculous and where it's poignant. Noticing who the outcast is. Seeing when a teacher's feelings get hurt. Recognizing that diatribe usually hides fear. I could make some specific references to the book, but I'm not sure where Jennie and Peter are and don't have it on hand. But I guess I think great comedians can see the cliffs most people trot along without ever looking down, and that's the good stuff.

Learning to be able to see the edges requires the ability to step back and see the big picture, and I think as a kid you learn to do that when you're a little different looking, or don't like the same things or people, or are a little smart, or a little slow. It allows the space to see.