I stumbled over the last 20 minutes of the TV show Last Comic Standing the other night. It's a (cough cough) reality show surrounding a competition for comedians. Four comics had to give their best shot at impressing an audience--the one with the lowest number of votes would be kicked off the show. Granted, the performances looked edited to death--on the program, they had about four minutes each, but the acts were obviously cut down. So one would think that the network would pick the funniest stuff, right?
Number of times I laughed in 20 minutes: 0
Number of times I smiled, wanly: 2
The first guy was just painful. Not only was he not funny, HE SCREAMED HIS ENTIRE ACT, BELIEVING THAT VOLUME WOULD SOMEHOW MAKE IT FUNNY. It didn't. Another fellow--the winner, as it turned out--depended on drug references to get laughs. Not actual jokes--that I could spot, anyway. Just references. The third guy's act wasn't awful, just tired and overly familiar (he got one of my two smiles). The fourth, a woman, depended on some rather crude physical references to get some laughs. Again, not actual jokes. (OK, she got my other smile.)
Is it really that hard to be funny?
Oh, I shouldn't complain, I guess. I've never done stand-up. It looks frightening. But I like to laugh--I really, really do. And these four professional comedians didn't cut it.
What makes me laugh? This does:
So does this:
This makes me laugh when it's in English, but not in Spanish:
David Sedaris makes me laugh:
Educational films from the '50s make me laugh (the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this one is great, but I couldn't find it online):
Plan 9 From Outer Space makes me laugh (and the French, too, apparently):
Preston Sturges and Albert Brooks crack me up, too.
So, what makes you laugh?
Oh, and Happy Fourth.