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Fri Nov 17, 2017, 09:29 AM

Something to keep in mind about Comedy

Comedy is extremely difficult to execute well. Humor is ill-defined and its parameters are constantly changing. Additionally, in order to break through as a performer, comedians have to push the edges of what they think is funny in order to create a unique brand.

This creative search can often produce great comedy. It can also backfire spectacularly. As Steve Martin said, "Comedy is not pretty."

Several weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the Friars' Club in New York City decided to go ahead with their planned roast of Hugh Hefner. The evening was polite as the city and the country were still in shock from the terrorism. When Gilbert Gottfried took to the podium, however, he told a joke about his difficulty in flying post-9/11 and how his plane had made an unscheduled stop at the 104th floor of the Empire State Building. The audience started to boo him and someone yelled out, "Too soon!" The joke had crashed disastrously and Gottfried was suddenly destroying the evening. Amazingly, he rallied by dropping his original routine and switching to his rendition of "The Aristocrats," a joke so filthy that Frank Rich called it the dirtiest joke of all time. The audience went wild with their enthusiastic response.

My point is that comedians don't know if they're writing funny stuff until it's in front of an audience. Go to any stand-up comedy club and watch the performer trying out their new material. Much of the writing will be funny but some of it will clunk to the floor.

Senator Franken pointed out that what he conceived would be funny, wasn't and he apologized. Certainly, the totality of his work in public life should bear witness to his character and fitness for his office.

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Reply Something to keep in mind about Comedy (Original post)
PJMcK Nov 2017 OP
C_U_L8R Nov 2017 #1
PJMcK Nov 2017 #3
underpants Nov 2017 #2
PJMcK Nov 2017 #4
Wellstone ruled Nov 2017 #6
MuseRider Nov 2017 #5
MichMary Nov 2017 #7
MuseRider Nov 2017 #8

Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 09:35 AM

1. It's like no one ever heard of National Lampoon

Sex and comedy go together like humping rabbits. Geez.

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 09:39 AM

3. Humping rabbits could be pretty funny!

It could become an internet meme!

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 09:39 AM

2. I remember the Gottfried thing

at least the Aristocrats joke - which is disgusting but the point of it is how it's told. There's a whole movie of famous comedians doing that joke.

As a longtime fan of comedy I agree. It may have been funny during the creation of it but it just doesn't work.

I'm guessing Franken was playing to the crowd around him. USO shows from Bob Hope to now have always been bawdy and there's always "the girl" for the soldiers' enjoyment. Franken was probably just playing off the vibe of the audiences they'd been performing in front of and he got caught up in it and went too far. Not an excuse just an explanation.

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Response to underpants (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 09:41 AM

4. I think they cut the kiss

I think the Senator said they tried it in rehearsal but it didn't work so they didn't do it in the show.

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Response to underpants (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 11:47 AM

6. Comedy can come off the rails damn quick.

Having had a Writer in the House,seen it,watched it go south damn fast. If in doubt,go to a Local Comedy Club. And yes,the players are "On"for their fellow writers and Performers.

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 09:58 AM

5. I respect his apology

he said it all and said it well.

I also agree with you about the situation and the environment. Being marginally in and around a much smaller group of music entertainment I have to say it is a problem even in that. It always has been. Arts and entertainment put you in the position of needing response and then thriving on the extreme limits if you make it to the big time. I am most interested to know if this was just during his entertainment phase (not an excuse for him) or if this continued as he entered politics.

Still, there is and never has been a good reason to play off women and their bodies. Never. It has always been so but there is no reason that it had to be done, it was just easy. Now it will not be.

I am feeling mixed about Senator Franken. I have been a fan from the early years. I find him funny, intelligent and charming and I HATE this. I do think he needs to be held accountable for it. The photo seems like a stupid clown thing but not a good thing certainly. The kiss, if true and I expect it is (even if she does come from the R wing), was assault even if it was "just a kiss". Assault.

My hope is that he is truly a supporter of women and we find that this was an early event that has not continued. If so I hope to be able to accept the apology. It is, after all, an apology to all of us.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 01:11 PM

7. I have respected him as a Senator,

and admit that I never knew much about his comedy. I have started reading much more about it, including Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/franken-jokes-sexual-misconduct-women-713678

Now--some of it has been obviously waaaaaaaay too far.

He wrote an article for New York Magazine that included this passage:

“And, ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then, when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her,’” Franken said. “Or, ‘that’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, ‘when she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.’”


To me, this is absolutely chilling. I wonder how Lesley Stahl felt about it? I wonder if she saw the 'humor?' Nothing funny about rape. Ever.

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Response to MichMary (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 17, 2017, 01:51 PM

8. Well that one is new to me.

No, that most certainly is horrid. *Sigh*. I know he has been good for women and that at that time that would have been acceptable but it is not excusable.

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