Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What a Nice Comedian

I like to think of myself as a funny person. I revel in humor. I strive to crack a rib laughing. My favorite character in Law & Order is Detective Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), who always had a quip when leaving the crime scene. Yeah, I know there's a body, but one can still be tasteful.

But I don't like meanness. Mocking someone is not humor. Because I believe humor = poking fun at oneself, those lacking a funnybone think I'm being serious and scootch nervously away. Amy Schumer understands: Either you got it or you don't.

A new crop of comedians are foregoing the kvetching and snarkiness ("Try Some Sweet-Tempered Stand-Up"). 
Comedy clubs have long been packed with head-shakers airing grievances and heatedly picking apart nonsense. But Ms. Long is part of a new breed of young performers more likely to begin a joke with affection than annoyance and to end with ridiculousness, not ridicule. This sunnier stand-up is in part a function of the times, when social media keeps count of likes and favorites, and late-night television is a chummy safe space for celebrities. But the hopefulness is also a refreshing artistic change of pace, a backlash against generations of smug finger-pointing and knowing raised eyebrows.

I recently enjoyed a badchan's performance and—yup—he was making choizik of himself non-stop. The beauty of such a method is that if one sporadically points fun at others, it is okay, because he has already raked himself over the coals.


Mr. Gondelman is pushing back on the caricature of the millennial generation as coddled narcissists — besides defending participation trophies, he also stands up for selfies — while lampooning those who suggest that the problem with the way we raise kids is an abundance of sensitivity and generosity. He’s killing, with kindness.
Mocking oneself also means that one is more likely to heard without resistance later on if deeper subjects are raised. Very crafty indeed.

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