Saturday, March 20, 2010

Laughing isn't just for dolts

This weekend I watched a Laugh Out Loud improv show on campus. Because it's improv, the jokes can be either really funny or just awkward. I thought overall LOL did a pretty good job. Sure, there were awkward parts, but it was kinda fun watching them trying to come up with something that was funny and BYU appropriate at the same time.

The friends I went with were cracking up which made everything funnier. I had one friend who was probably laughing louder and more frequently than everyone else, but it made me laugh to see all the things he found funny. He was a great audience member and they improv troupe needed that.

The reverse of that would be some of my classmates who were also at the show. As part of my American Comedy and Satire class, we were supposed to watch an improv show and I noticed them sitting behind me. I looked back a few times and every time they were stone-faced. I understand not finding something funny, but they looked liked aristocrats sticking up their noses at the peasants and their little games. I could just imagine what they were thinking about my friend who was laughing his butt off.

These two different reactions got me thinking about the politics of comedy. We talk in my class a lot about role reversal and the carnivalesque as elements that subvert the status quo in order to either reinforce roles or to work towards social/ideological changes. While I've certainly seen that in a lot in the texts and movies we've discussed, I also think that we've looked at comedy simplistically. We've assumed that every audience would judge these texts as successful comedies or satires. But think about math jokes. Only someone with that knowledge finds it funny. Comedy can be just as exclusive as any other art form, if that's how we use it.

Though I find my classmates to be very intelligent people, I do not think all of the jokes at the show were below them. But I do think the attitude of critic and reviewer would make it seem so. I say this just as much for me because I know I've looked down at a paper or performance because I'm analyzing it, but can't we all just not take ourselves so seriously and laugh a little?

So my most recent laugh was this clip about Twilight. Yes, I like the books/movies, but I also like laughing at them.

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