Senate Humour, satire and "taboo" subjects

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Katana_Geldar, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Oh, I don't know. There issue with the US is that since Hollywood and the surrounding area is the entertainment capital of the world, you get all sorts of stuff produced.

    Although not a favorite of mine, a sitcom like "Everyone Loves Raymond" elevates self-depreciation comedy to British like levels. Look to individual characters within shows like Seinfeld.

    I would stack comedies like "Scrubs" against anything else for sheer subtle humor. Or a show like "Chuck" (on the cult status side) or even "Big Bang Theory" (on the popular side) or "Arrested Development" (in between both) for packing in more pop culture references that any other. There are a whole plethora of shows from the 80's/90's like Gary Shandling Show, or Herman's Head, or whatever.

    It's just that you also get things like Two and a half Men, the Three Stooges and what not as well, but these are the definitive examples of what is available.

    Relating back to the universal focus of Hollywood, I think the issue is more along the lines that the US doesn't really have a signature area. A British show is very characteristically British. But US networks do things all over the place without confines.
    Last edited by Mr44, Dec 13, 2013
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  2. V-2 Force Ghost

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    Dec 10, 2012
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    It's probably easier to see signature Americanisms from the outside...
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  3. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jun 28, 2006
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    I'd actually say that, humour specifically, the British Office is utterly atrocious and Ricky Gervais is one of the worst things to happen to comedy.

    And there has been a long running pattern of comedy in America that is self-deprecating, from Phyllis Diller and Rodney Dangerfield onward. It's definitely more present in stand-up though.
  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    I'd definitely say that Everybody Loves Raymond takes self-deprecation pretty far along. And yeah, its more prevalent in standup comedy I'd say.

    Americans generally have, I think, more skepticism towards other people (especially those in positions of authority) than is globally normal. We've had a healthy run of idiot authority figures in comedy (and drama) since the seventies, including the Dragnet spoof, The Naked Gun, the cops in Home Alone, and pretty much anybody reporting the news on Saturday Night Live since forever.
  5. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

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    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    One thing I have nit iced generally about British comedy is that I feel smarter on the most part of understanding it. That doesn't usually happen with American comedy. Particularly someone like Dangerfield, who I can't stand.
  6. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

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    Aug 11, 2004
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    Yeah, I have noticed this. As an outsider looking in, there's definitely such a thing as "the American irreverence", if I were to name it, that is ingrained in your culture. Maybe it comes out of being born out of rebellion.
    Last edited by Violent Violet Menace, Dec 14, 2013
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Proof Americans generally don't get self-deprecating humour. You need a laughter track to understand what's funny.
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  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I would say that everyone gets self-deprecating humor, but some cultures value it less on the surface. If humor and laughter have an evolutionary origin, some kind of inclusive fitness value for social primates, then self-deprecating humor would likely be one of its oldest and most hard-wired forms. It's an easy way of demonstrating for people that your intent is benign, with laughter being a collective release of tension as people express relief that the person making the joke is not a threat.

    And ridicule might then be an even older form, as it is sort of a non-violent punishment for group non compliance.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Dec 14, 2013
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I don't know. Didn't feel particularly smarter after watching a rabbit kill eleven or so grown men in Holy Grail. :p
  10. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Based on the British TV that I've watched as well as the few British people that I've known personally, I would say that British wit is the best I've known.
    Last edited by anakinfansince1983, Dec 14, 2013
  11. V-2 Force Ghost

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    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Vulgarity warning:
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  12. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    He's funny but there's still some excellent American stand-up comedy. I think they still own that art form.

    Good self-depricating humor though firmly belongs in the hands of the British because I think you can only rise to their level of sophistication after your empire's been stomped on for a couple of centuries. This summer, the Brits went out en masse to see this:


    Good self-depricating humor is so self-depricating that it makes you uncomfortable, that it blurs the line between comedy and reality.
    Lucky for the Americans they have Louis C.K. I have nothing.
  13. V-2 Force Ghost

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    Dec 10, 2012
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    Louis C.K... I do not understand why people think he's funny. The guy has no charisma, his observations are bland and generic, literally anyone could do his routines. Maybe I'm missing something.
  14. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    You sure are buddy! Nothing bland and generic about this.


    Pretty smart way to tackle a taboo subject: you make the audience complicit.
  15. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Didn't raise a smile for me, I'm afraid. It's definitely what I call generic... 'Making the audience complicit' is honestly nothing special... Most forgettable comics I've seen do stuff like this.

    People like CK and Michael Macintyre fill out huge venues with this crap and I just don't see why. They're no funnier than a pub bore or office clown.
  16. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Is it safe to say "different tastes"? I don't have an opinion of either of those guys but one thing that comes to mind is the RLM Plinkett character. He's not funny to me in the slightest but a lot of people love him.

    I also don't like characters who are caricatured to the point of being ridiculous. Several SNL skits do this, so does Michael from The Office and Tracy Morgan's character from 30 Rock.

    But a lot of people like that sort of thing.
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  17. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

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    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    I'm not a fan of SNL with the exception of Kenan Thompson. Mr Geldar watches it and I have seen a few sketches, but I'm not a fan. You could put Kenan in a paper bag and he'd still be funny.
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Of course. But maybe....
    :D

    Could different tastes also be the reason people get offended by some jokes - without actually being aware of it?
  19. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Warning: Contains racist terms and swears:
    NB: British definition of liberal applies here!

    How's this for a smart way to tackle taboo subjects?
  20. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I still think, at least with British examples, it's largely due to the concentrated influence of the BBC. Most information I've gotten in this regard comes from watching the extra features on classic episodes of Doctor Who on DVD, but from the 60's through the late 90's, I gather that the BBC used to have many, many ultimate guidelines and policy structures that had to be followed, and which existed around the heyday of definitive British comedies like Monty Python and the like. Basically, the BBC was risk adverse, so I think British comedy had to become more subtle by nature, and that came to define the genre. Even so, you can still find examples like Benny Hill, a brand which is derived from the more baser elements of comedy. With the BBC and other networks like SKY adopting a more global focus since the 2000's, I think this has been diminished.

    In the US, since television was always based on competition, if one network had a show, then the others would develop similar examples. Instead of simply one show in the US like Benny Hill, you had 3, 4, 5 shows. US networks, as long as it made a profit, US always embraced more risk.
  21. V-2 Force Ghost

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  22. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 19, 2000
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    V-2, the difference that I perceive between my last pasted clip and yours is that CK seems to want to discuss actual emotions, urges, and motivations, and your man Herring just wants to ridicule them. Sure, he does it in a smart way, but it doesn't necessarily say anything about reality because it's basically absurd humor. He leaves different levels of xenophobia out of the equation, which is unrealistic. As such, it's no less funny, but otherwise less valuable. To me.

    EDIT: actually, the most interesting part about his routine in that regard is the moustache.
    Last edited by SuperWatto, Dec 15, 2013
  23. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Watch the whole show, this is just one bit.

    And before you ask the same of me, I've seen 2 dreary hours of CK!
  24. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Louis C.K.'s 9/11 masturbation joke is one of like five jokes I've heard in the last ten years that literally made my jaw drop out of shock. I mean, that's one of the best taboo jokes I think I've ever heard.
  25. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    You should check out this guy. Ten minutes on 9/11, and he manages to succesfully pair it to fart jokes.


    @V-2, I couldn't find the whole show, is it online?