Thoughts on humor, in reply to Steven Crowder

by Smitty

Steven Crowder has done some excellent videos on PJTV and elsewhere. He has a blog post on Big Hollywood where he muses that Republicans Need to Grow a Sense of Humor.
Crowder specifically cites three incidents,

  • BHO’s Special Olympics comment on Leno
  • Wanda Sykes’ Correspondence Dinner Shtick about Rush and kidney failure
  • Letterman

He concludes:

I’m sorry “fellow Republicans”… But when will we get a clue? Before Reagan, we were seen as the party that couldn’t take a joke. The Gipper fixed that one for us. Now, however, because of silly Conservatives using political correctness as a fulcrum for political gain, we find ourselves right back at square one.
One of my goals in life is to watch political correctness shrivel up and die (as it should be for any true Conservative). I can’t do that however, if Republicans insist on resuscitating it back to life every time they want to act “offended.” Do we really want to be the person at the party around which everyone has to tiptoe around for fear of offending our sensibilities? Come on… We’re not supposed to be “that guy.” Leave that kind of crap to the Sean Penn pansies of the world.

I can track Crowder’s point a short distance. There is a point about avoiding being a broken record, belaboring points, and majoring on minors.
Once upon a time I at a retreat, the attendees were assigned to create sketch comedy poking fun at the organizers. The wise old fellow in charge of my cabin laid down some ground rules about comedy that stuck:

  • Bodily functions are not funny. We all have them, we know what they are.
  • Real humor is not sarcasm (‘to tear flesh’). Humor is positive. Sykes and Lettermain fail it.
  • Humor is universal. If the humor isn’t safe for work (grandma, school, house of worship), it’s probably not funny.
  • Humor educates, unifies, and triggers real communication between people. If you’re raising hackles, it’s not funny.
  • Then there is the Monty Python with the slapstick:

So, Mr. Crowder, should we laugh at the examples you cite? I’ll meet you halfway and allow the so-called comedians in question should be ignored. The shrill reactionary shtick may not be buying much. Finally, it is true that taking oneself too seriously isn’t funny.

UPDATE (RSM): David Letterman disemboweled and beheaded on Broadwaythat would be funny!

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