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Scabrous Birdseed
18-05-2007, 08:33:08
Not all of it but a certain aspect of it.

A lot of american comedians, and especially hollywood script writers, use pop culture archetypes as the main basis of their humour. What I mean is, every celebrity, cultural entity, ethnic group is assigned a (supposedly funny) property and the humour consists of reaffirming this property. Two examples that frequently appear in Jay Leno's monologue:

Britney spears = trailer trash
Dick Cheney = shoots people

Every punchline centering around these characters will inevitably involve the archetypal property.

In many Hollywood movies, converesely, a lot of humour is derived from ethnic archetyping:

The British = posh, polite, talking like the queen
etc.

Now for a Swede, used to humour doing precisely the opposite (placing celebrities and cultural entities in totally unexpected and absurd contexts) this is very puzzling. Do americans actually find it funny? Don't they get annoyed at the affirmation of stuff that's, basically, a bunch of randomly-derived lies?

Yours sincerely,
A Swede that doesn't talk in a german accent/like the muppet show swedish chef, is not overtly sexual and has brown hair

Scabrous Birdseed
18-05-2007, 08:40:55
Oh and also fictional characters. A lot of shows, once they come to an understading of the properties of each of the characters, will only do jokes based on these properties. The Simpsons, for instance, used to be a great show until all Homer humour became retooled to affirm the "stupid, slobbish, childish idiot" archetype, instead of being more complex. Then it became repetetive and boring.

King_Ghidra
18-05-2007, 09:07:07
but britney spears is trailer trash and dick cheney does shoot people. those aren't lies.

also surely what you're talking about is effectively a modern myth-making process. just as the icarus myth becomes a metaphor for people who aim too high in their endeavours, so the modern celeb becomes available as a metaphor once their behaviour has been crystallised.

also your swedish 'placing celebrities in unusual situations' humour surely relies on a widespread public perception of some quality of that celebrity that provides context for the unusualness of the situation?

C.G.B. Spender
18-05-2007, 09:07:12
I guess swedes are just gay. I bet americans find that hilarous.

Scabrous Birdseed
18-05-2007, 09:21:40
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
but britney spears is trailer trash and dick cheney does shoot people. those aren't lies.

also surely what you're talking about is effectively a modern myth-making process. just as the icarus myth becomes a metaphor for people who aim too high in their endeavours, so the modern celeb becomes available as a metaphor once their behaviour has been crystallised.

also your swedish 'placing celebrities in unusual situations' humour surely relies on a widespread public perception of some quality of that celebrity that provides context for the unusualness of the situation?

Sure. It's fairly obvious that certain people will inevitably be remembered for certain things, and that these things are worked out through the cultural and public discussions.

It's just a question of whether you want humour to be part of society's game or subvert it, I guess. By taking the cultural entity out of its context you end up thinking about where they're normally placed and why its absurd, whereas if you just reuse the same context it's just serves as simple affirmation.

Anyway, all of that is not the point. Sure, britney might be trailer trash, but is that fact still funny? That's the question.

C.G.B. Spender
18-05-2007, 09:41:20
It's funny because of the difference between being a teen idol and being trailer trash. That's always very funny (so I heard), see "King Ralph" or "My Fair Lady"

Scabrous Birdseed
18-05-2007, 09:45:40
I watched King Ralph yesterday, it's basically what prompted this post.

C.G.B. Spender
18-05-2007, 09:50:31
See?

MoSe
18-05-2007, 09:55:21
SO... FILM FORUM!

C.G.B. Spender
18-05-2007, 09:58:30
Even MoSe is funny!

Dyl Ulenspiegel
18-05-2007, 10:05:12
for a german.

MoSe
18-05-2007, 10:10:05
Originally posted by C.G.B. Spender
Even MoSe is funny!

YMBK!

(You Must Be Kidding!)

Immortal Wombat
18-05-2007, 10:22:42
It's the same phenomenon as in-jokes, with lazy script writers attempting to encompass as broad an in-group as possible, instead of actual jokes. Of course, in-jokes aren't actually funny*, but it's a tie back to a common cultural atom. I would be unsurprised if the post following this one contains a "jesjes" somewhere. Kurt Vonnegut claimed that the way most jokes work is by relieving one from the pressure of thinking. Why did the chicken cross the road? In that sense, in-jokes are the best kind of humour, because all set-ups are reduced to things that the audience already knew.


I think you are right, that it just depends to what extent the humour is internal or external to society's game. A lot of American humour is quite mainstream and aims to be very inclusive. British comedy is becoming more so in recent years, and it is getting tired.


*Ironically, this sentiment has become something of an in-joke itself among my friends. [see also (http://excessivelydangerousthing.com/alchemist/ljcartoons/sodomy.png)]

C.G.B. Spender
18-05-2007, 10:43:26
I think MoSe is funnier

MDA
18-05-2007, 10:46:12
jes jes, Kurt Vonnegut's song lyrics were stupid and contagious.


So was Venom's Sam Neill joke in the slug invasion thread funny?

Just wondering because it actually made me laugh.

MoSe
18-05-2007, 10:50:02
it made me smile
a saur smile

MDA
18-05-2007, 11:02:00
I guess most of what I think is funny has a pop culture reference... :nervous:

C.G.B. Spender
18-05-2007, 11:09:34
Ah, you're no fun anymore!

Scabrous Birdseed
18-05-2007, 11:16:31
Oh, most of what I think is funny has a pop culture reference in it too, but it's not the pop culture reference itself that's funny, unless its unexpected.

For instance, the latest post on swedish humour blog Fantasinyheter makes fun of a phenomenon in a particular swedish broadsheet, which in its entertainment section has a feature called "hej, konsument" (hello consumer) in which celebrities are made to answer questions about their latest purchases in a wide range of areas. Now, all the blog did was take the latest one of these (it was a writer, can't remember the name) and replace the person supposedly interviewed with Eva Braun. Unexpected pop culture reference!

(I laughed out loud at the thought of Eva Braun buying "The River Cottage Cook Book", having Novalucol as her favourite pharmacy product and dancing to the Pet Shop Boys. But maybe it's just us swedes who do that.)

MoSe
18-05-2007, 11:22:38
it would have been even better had she shaved with an electric razor

Tizzy
19-05-2007, 18:38:17
Originally posted by C.G.B. Spender
Even MoSe is funny!

Get this man to a doctor!!

C.G.B. Spender
19-05-2007, 18:52:37
Is he too subtle for your taste?

Dyl Ulenspiegel
19-05-2007, 18:58:57
These are simply two different concepts of humour. Although both work on surprise. In one you make the connect with the stereotype, no matter how far away the current context is. In the other, it's the context itself.

And then, there's MoSe.

mr_G
19-05-2007, 22:13:57
and then i put him on ignore

C.G.B. Spender
19-05-2007, 22:17:10
now if that ain't funny!

maroule
20-05-2007, 08:23:16
there are different brands of US funny
I find Colbert very distinctive, for example (in his way of pushing the arguments to the absurd, with no apparent distance)
Stewart is more main stream in his angle, but still often hilarious

C.G.B. Spender
20-05-2007, 08:24:21
How about Jerry Lewis?

Lazarus and the Gimp
20-05-2007, 08:26:29
That's tragedy, not humour.

The Mad Monk
20-05-2007, 16:13:16
Yes, but for whom?

MoSe
21-05-2007, 08:04:01
Originally posted by C.G.B. Spender
How about Jerry Lewis? Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
That's tragedy Originally posted by The Mad Monk
Yes, but for whom?
Bee Gees

Funko
21-05-2007, 08:16:25
In jokes aren't funny?

Shit.

Vincent
21-05-2007, 08:25:54
so you've been laughing at the wrong kind of jokes all the years?

zmama
21-05-2007, 10:01:32
What are you doing here then ? :drekkus:

Funko
21-05-2007, 10:02:25
Worse, I've been making the wrong kinds of jokes all these years. :(

MoSe
21-05-2007, 10:14:46
This means you *intended* to be funny
wow
I hadn't thought to that

Tizzy
21-05-2007, 10:16:47
Much better to be unintentionally (ie naturally) funny...

MoSe
21-05-2007, 10:18:34
you mean JM-funny?

Venom
21-05-2007, 11:58:52
Originally posted by MDA

So was Venom's Sam Neill joke in the slug invasion thread funny?


You're god damn right it was.

Drekkus
21-05-2007, 12:47:58
My god, with all this analysing nothing is funny any more. :(

mr_G
21-05-2007, 12:51:20
you are

Funko
21-05-2007, 12:55:06
:lol: He said anal.

mr_G
21-05-2007, 12:56:10
see drekkus is funny

Drekkus
21-05-2007, 13:09:06
Ah, thanks. See makes more sense than she.

mr_G
21-05-2007, 13:13:35
it does?

MoSe
21-05-2007, 13:43:40
See is my gilrfriend

MoSe
21-05-2007, 13:44:04
:hmm:
are you sure?