Jul 08 2011

Is It Me or Are Comedies Not Funny Anymore?

Published by at 8:00 am under Editorials,Movies

Perhaps it’s because I’m 32 and have fond memories of guys like Adam Sandler and Chris Farley in their heyday.   Perhaps it’s because when I think of hilarious actors I refer to Jim Carrey back in his day or Will Ferrell in his prime.  But for whatever reason I’m a little jaded by comedies today.

It’s not that good one’s don’t come out every once in a while, but I think in the last 5 or so years we’re in a bit of a lull and comedies don’t have much of an identity right now.

There are two arguments that I want to share to support these feelings.  And here they go after the jump…..

The New Class of Comedic Actors isn’t hilarious


I feel like in every decade or era there’s a group of comedic actors that rise up to take over the spotlight for a few years.   Right now, I’m just not seeing it.   When you think about it, the funniest guys around are dudes like Zach Galifinakis or Jason Sudeikis.   Is Bill Hader considered one of the best?  Seriously, I can’t really think of who the front running funny guys are anymore.   Jonah Hill?  What’s the last funny thing he’s done since Get Him to the GreekSuperbad?  Michael Cera?  He’s OK I guess.   It’s not that I don’t think these guys are funny, it’s just that they’re not hilarious.

You want hilarious?  Think about guys like Adam Sandler and Chris Farley.    Chris Rock was never great in movies but he definitely had the stage for a while.   Jim Carrey?  Are you kidding me how funny this guy was?  Let’s even move back from these guys.  How about Chevy Chase and Bill Murray?  Hell even guys like Danny DeVito were great in my book.   Dan Aykroyd?  John Candy?  The list can go on and on.   My point is that through the 70s, 80s, 90s, and first half of this decade there were solid contenders and all were hilarious, not just subtly funny.  How about Ben Stiller?  Vince Vaughn?  Will Ferrell?   This new crop of guys?   I just don’t think they match up.  I mean when you compare Ed Helms to Adam Sander in his prime it’s almost laughable.

Granted this isn’t a knock on the new class.  It’s just that I think the new class isn’t all that over the top hilarious.   Now granted that might have to do with the screenplay and the directing.  But I just don’t know.   I mean you could look at a guy like Chris Farley and just laugh for no reason.  All Will Ferrell had to do was yell and you’d laugh.   Are guys really like that now?  I just don’t think so.

For the record I’m not excluding women on purpose.  I just don’t think Kristen Wiig or Maya Rudolph are remotely funny.   And honestly I can’t think of that many funny women in past eras.   Eh, I think Molly Shannon was pretty awesome, as was Ana Gasteyer.

Anyway, I hope you understand my point here.  I just don’t feel there’s a clear cut group of funny men/women that you know you’re automatically going to be laughing at/with in a film these days.

Comedies are now movies that have funny stuff but aren’t necessarily comedies


Think about that statement for a minute and let it sink in.   The funniest movies in recent memory according to America or rather popularity are Bridesmaids and Hangover II.   I’ve been to both and I have to say that I think both were horrible.   The best way to describe comedies today is that they’re more subtle and not necessarily as laugh out loud.  They’re almost “smarter” and more boring.  Not to mention many have dramatic tie ins intended to make the audience feel for characters and have “feel good” sappy moments.    Personally I don’t need that.  I just want to laugh.

Am I saying we need flat out stupid over the top stuff like Monty Python?  No.  But we sure as hell need another American Pie to come along and blow our socks off.  A movie that just moment after moment makes you think “man I never saw that before.”   Movies like Something About Mary or Dumb and Dumber that had you soiling yourself every five minutes.  Movies where you knew the plot was dumb but didn’t care because the characters were so damned funny.

Think about movies like Old School or Wedding Crashers.   I’ll even venture as far out as Superbad.   Hell I loved Hot Rod because it was so dumb and yet it knew how dumb it was which is what made the movie great.

And unfortunately directors are also changing.   Think about Apatow moving into more dramatics with Funny People.  I mean I get it and all but come on buddy!  Where’s the real funny stuff?

The only guys I know who stick to form are the Farrelly brothers.   I thought Hall Pass was pretty funny.   It at least had a few over the top “wow” moments that I’m referring to.   The problem is with the consistency.    The problem is that nowadays we see 1 or 2 movies a year that might make us laugh out loud enough to call a movie hilarious.   It used to be more like 4-8 which is a big drop off in my opinion.  Anyway, I think you guys get my point.

You guys may agree with this sentiment and you may not.  But I had to get it off my chest.   Opinions?

 

 

 





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40 responses so far

40 Responses to “Is It Me or Are Comedies Not Funny Anymore?”

  1. Arafaxon 08 Jul 2011 at 8:18 am

    I totally agree that there aren’t real Comedy-Movies anymore. Only Funny Movies with a plot. But seriously – who needs a plot when it is about laughing your ass off and stupid dialogues!
    Can’t remember that Clerks had a good Plot.
    Or Dodgeball.
    Or Ricky Bobby.
    Hell, the Plot of Billy Madison was horrible, but the movie itself is hilarious, full of Quotes for Eternity!

  2. Ericon 08 Jul 2011 at 8:23 am

    Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, I think, are the only two modern comedians who actually try to do ‘funny’ work. Most actors take themselves so seriously that they can’t bother looking stupid, but these two still have stupid coming out of their ears. and mouths.

  3. Rexon 08 Jul 2011 at 8:28 am

    I think when you’re younger, you just find stuff to be more humorous. Did your dad like all those 90s comedies? Or does he still talk about the greatness of the Blazing Saddles era?

    It’s just an age thing. Going by decades, I’m pretty sure there were just as many great comedies released from 2000-2010 as there were in the 90s. As far as now is concerned, I don’t think it is fair to judge considering we’re only a year or so into the new decade.

  4. Jimon 08 Jul 2011 at 8:48 am

    I agree and disagree with a lot said above. I totally agree with Eric about Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I think one of my favorite movies recently is Hot Fuzz and I can just watch it over and over and still laugh. And I understand what Rex is saying about the generational difference, but I don’t agree. I was born in 86 so by the time I could really watch all the great comedies of the 80s it was the mid 90s. But I still watch them and find them AMAZING!! I think the first John Candy movie I saw was Who’s Harry Crumb and I absolutly loved it. And I think they just knew how to make better movies back then. I mean most of the time when they take a toy concept and make it a movie it’s kinda lousy but the movie Clue is a masterpiece. The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters. I mean the list goes on and on. And remember when Eddie Murphy was funny doing Beverly Hills Cop and Trading Places. But at the same time I also love movies that came way before. I grew up watching the Three Stooges and Abbot and Costello over my Grandma’s house and those are great. And Blazing Saddles is still one of the best comedies of all time. And some of the Jerry Lewis movies are absolute gold. Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis. I mean my mom used to watch the Great Race all the time and now it’s one of my all time favorite movies. I really think comedies lately have gone downhill but there’s still a few gems out there.

  5. Freddieon 08 Jul 2011 at 8:48 am

    You mentioned Hot Rod, but you don’t even mention Andy Samberg. Not that he’s on a level with Jim Carey, (I think In Living Colour was his prime) but he’s worth mentioning. I can see where his style lies with his music but it’s still funny.

  6. Lookaon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:04 am

    Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are good, and i agree with you on Hot Rod – dumb movie, but funny.. I think that Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island crew are the best these days..but i can’t really say for sure, cause there are no others to compare them to.. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera just suck..
    The only other guys I could think of are the ones that made Grandmas Boy and Strange Wilderness, to me, those two movies were and are funny..
    peace

  7. Skeeboon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:13 am

    I think the late 70′s to late 80′s, when you’ve got Murray, Candy, Martin, Belushi, Murphy, Pryor, Wilder, etc was the Golden Age of funny movies. The played smart funny and obvious funny all at the same time and almost all of them had some kind of plot. Almost any movie from these guys and this era can be watched and enjoyed today, perhaps more-so than when we were younger.

    Jim Carey’s stuff has always been the kind of stupid funny that doesn’t hold up well over time and he kind set the tone for the 90′s with Ace.

    Sandler’s funny… but his movies were all mostly the same thing rehashed, same thing with Ferrel, though I love Will when he breaks away from his typical dumb character. I thought Stranger than Fiction was a great movie.

    Still you’ve got some good writer’s/comedians out there, Jason Segel (writer/star of Sarah Marshall/ How I Met Your Mother) is one. Simon Pegg is another good example. Ricky Gervais…

    They are still out there, just I think that Hollywood has gotten SO big and there are sooo many movies out there, it is easy to lose them in the crowd.

  8. Timothyon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:13 am

    I just can’t agree. Don’t get me wrong- I havn’t been to a film that made me cry with laughter in quite a while. But I think that may just be because there are not too many people interested in my humor. Perhaps what you coin as humor ( You mentioned Will Ferrell, Jim Carey, Dumb and Dumber), is just not in season right now. Personally, I don’t like any of those comedians. Like Rex said, its simply the passage of nostalgia from one generation to a new one.

  9. Cherylon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:21 am

    I agree with Rex – it’s an age thing. I’m 32 myself so when I look back on movies like American Pie and Billy Madison, I think the ‘when’ they came out that makes them so funny for me. My parents think early Adam Sandler movies were terrible but can tell me all about the ‘better’ movies they were watching in their late teens/early 20′s. My cousin is 15 and swears his movies are better and movies like Ace Ventura confuse him as he doesn’t understand how an adult can find a man dancing in a tuutuu funny.

  10. Mandyon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:23 am

    A lot of ‘good comedy’ has turned to TV… and, in some ways, I think it fits the genre better. It’s hard to make a full movie of comedy, but a 30m TV show? Not a problem. Community, and the like, but also shows like Louie, which is a very new type of dark comedy for TV. I like the new show Wilfred so far, very very unique!

  11. Jonathanon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:32 am

    on the subject of female comedians… Need I remind you of Carol Burnett? She was funnier then any other comedian currently on the market.

    Also what about the Brits? the Pythons, Rowan Akison, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry? They had some great comedians.

    Modern Comedians? Currently we have Keven Smith, ok… your right other then Kevin Smith, Simon Pegg, RDJr and Zach G. I can’t think of any good modern comedians.

  12. Player 2on 08 Jul 2011 at 9:40 am

    I’d also have to site Andy Samberg. We live in a different era now with comedy. A more socially aware one, maybe? And as we continue to move into the age of the internet, we’re starting to see a new style of humor. Samberg seems to be one of the few with his finger on the pulse.
    I’d also have to say Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Which granted, are sometimes just fart jokes for the thinking man, but still. A good, biting social commentary.
    There was quite the flat-line in comedy during the ninties, and I had hopes for the comedy genre when Superbad and 40 Year Old Virgin and the like came out. But then they started sticking Jonna Hill and Seth Rogen in pretty much everything and over-saturating the comedy market with them. Then add in too many seasons of Last Comic Standing and the inexplicable continuing movie career of Kevin James and it get’s hard again to have faith in comedies.
    I think the likes of John Candy, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder worked so well because they managed to get beyond the two-dimensional characters they played, adding depth and humanity to those roles, whereas it seems that Seth Rogen is just kind of playing a cardboard version of Seth Rogen.
    The concept of the ‘comedian’ has changed significantly since the 70s’. They seem a lot less free nowadays. They don’t hone their craft like they used to. They don’t pay their dues in clubs or comedy groups. Back in the day they usually stuck comedians in a comedy, and now they just stick funny people in them. The ‘comedian’ as we all knew it, doesn’t really exist anymore.

  13. Dresteron 08 Jul 2011 at 9:40 am

    I have to agree with Rex. Especially because you think Adam Sandler and Chris Farley are hilarious. Come on man, Jim Carey is so much funnier then those guys. I agree with you that there are no comedic actors that stand out, but I don’t really mind.

    Great movies from the past 5 years: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The Hangover, Superbad, Borat, Tropic Thunder. And these movies are also pretty well written. All the movie I’ve seen with Chris Farley are just so horrible. And not the Hot Shots kind of horrible.

  14. Nattybon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:43 am

    Tim, not a bad point at all. If I were in THIS generation I definitely might feel different.

  15. Jasonon 08 Jul 2011 at 10:15 am

    You said Kristen Wiig was not remotely funny. Your opinion is invalid.

    Also, many Adam Sandler films are unwatchable/insanely stupid watching them 10-15 years later. This coming from someone whose 25 and grew up with them.

    Lastly, Danny Mcbride.

  16. Xinon 08 Jul 2011 at 10:18 am

    The Marx Brothers. That’s all I have to say about that. Their movies beat many modern comedies at being funny to me.

  17. Nilsillyon 08 Jul 2011 at 10:32 am

    You might just be getting old man. :-) Try watching some of these “classic” comedies again and see if you laugh as hard. I watched “Fletch” the other week and it was almost unbearable.

  18. Steveon 08 Jul 2011 at 11:40 am

    Chris Farley was hilarious on SNL with his characters. But I saw Black Sheep, Beverly Hills Ninja (or whatever it was called), and that other movie he did with David Spade and I honestly remember nothing about them. When I was a kid in the mid 90′s MTV was promoting the shit outta his movies, and I just never found the promos funny. Granted, I was still upset when I heard he died.

    As for Adam Sandler, again, a kid in the mid 90′s. I still love Madison and Gilmore (and even that one he did with Damon Wayans), but after Wedding Singer I tuned out. Anger Management I saw more for Jack Nicholson.

    Jim Carrey I’m on the fence about. LOVED him during the mid 90′s, but even at 13, seeing Liar Liar in theaters, I couldn’t help but think Jim was phoning it in. He re-used certain “ticks” that he had used in earlier films, and I felt he was repeating himself. Either way, Bruce Almighty disappointed me. Eh, I still like Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine.

    As for today’s comedies, 40 year old virgin was great. Hangover is funny but over-rated.

  19. Samon 08 Jul 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Seriously guys, not one mention of Paul Rudd? Role models is one of the best comedies ever and I love you man is also great. Both of which are straight up comedies.

  20. Anthony Ron 08 Jul 2011 at 2:06 pm

    My boys Pegg & Frost are holding it down! I agree most comedies out now are not really that funny and few are going to have any staying power. American Pie literally is the bastard child of Porky’s. The first Hangover was ok, bt H2 is a rip off of H1, Zack is hilarious in his standups and amazingly funny in Out Cold, but his supporting cast in Hangover isn’t on par. Michael Cena is funny but he’s fastly becoming typecasted (although he really tried to break that in Scott Peterson vs The World which is a good comedy). Jonah Hill isn’t funny in the slightest, he comes across as whiney in eveything he’s done.

    Richard Pryor & John Candy aren’t coming through the door anytime soon.

  21. Castleon 08 Jul 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I just can’t agree with practically anything you said. This generation has fine comedic actors. Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Aziz Ansari, Donald Glover, Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd – these guys are it as of right now. And I have no problems with that, they’re great.

    Now, this may be a step down (in your opinion) from Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, the Wilson brothers, Stiller, etc., but they’re still extremely solid. And you not finding Kristen Wiig humorous has made my opinion of your opinions drop mightily.

    You keep bringing up Adam Sandler, but he’s gone through about 10 years of disappointing movies. Grown Ups? Mr. Deeds? 8 Crazy Nights? Just Go With It? Garbage. All of it, garbage.

  22. Jimon 08 Jul 2011 at 3:56 pm

    BAH! My lawn isn’t an appropriate venue for these kids new comedies!

    Adam Sandler hasn’t been funny in 15 years, and now that I’m older, I find I like Jim Carrey’s more dramtic roles to my liking.
    (Not Number 23…gross)

    And sorry, no matter that the genre, I still (mostly) want my comedies to have a plot and some kinda of emotional push so I have something to relate to.

    Also, how the hell could you not find Kristen Wiig funny? That’s an entirely ridiculous notion.

    @Anthony R
    Did you really type “Scott PETERSON vs the world”….

  23. thegreatfatsbyon 08 Jul 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I reckon the whole thing with comedy is that as time goes bye, we think differently about what we would consider to be funny.

    Quite frankly, if we showed someone from say the 50′s, American Pie, they would actually find it offensive rather than funny.

    As the years pass we look back on what we thought was funny and compare it to what we see now and often look at it with rose-tinted spectacles.

    Still, Blazing Saddles is one of the hands-down funniest movies ever made and anything with Richard Pryor in it was guaranteed to have you splitting your sides.

    Also, there are many talented UK and Irish comedians out there who have not starred in movies, with the exception of a few, but have produced consistently funny television shows.

    For examples, I’ll list Father Ted, any of the Blackadders, Fawlty Towers, Spaced(though this is cheating since it’s a Simon Pegg vehicle) and Black Books.

    All are seriously funny shows that do not rely on gross-out or shock comedy. Just well written but hilarious comedies.

  24. thegreatfatsbyon 08 Jul 2011 at 5:24 pm

    And I almost forgot. Youtube The Adam and Joe Show and check out some of their parodies like Saving Private Lion and Toytanic and a load of other stuff. Funny as hell

  25. Aether McLoudon 08 Jul 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I agree that most comedies these days just try to be funny but fail miserably. I think I kinda graduated from the American Pie under-the-belt funny stuff into liking more… smart funny stuff (for the lack of a better word).

    I recently saw Role Models on TV which was rather funny. Also everything with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is bound to be LOL material, as is everything old by Mel Brooks.

    And then there’s the so-much-over-the-top stuff that’s beyond funny but somehow being so ridiculous it gets funny again. You don’t mess with the Zohan was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time. It was insanse, stupid, non-coherent, but all that made it incredibly funny.

  26. edon 08 Jul 2011 at 7:14 pm

    i have to disagree with you Rex. I love comedies and my taste in comedies hasn’t changed but my parents love the new stuff. Take for example Will Ferrell I can’t stand his movies but my parents watch them all.

  27. Ant2206on 08 Jul 2011 at 8:18 pm

    There’s a bit of confirmation bias going on here. I’ll just focus on films for the moment, as that’s the main focus of the article.

    Let’s take the example of Adam Sandler. Happy Gilmore, POSSIBLY The Water Boy and Billy Madison, and… where are the rest of his hilarious comedies? He’s had a few other good films, but they aren’t comedies (Wedding Singer etc). And a few other comedies, but they aren’t hilarious (Airheads, Little Nicky).

    Chris Farley? Some cameos. Don’t talk to me about Beverly Hills Ninja.

    Jim Carrey fared much better, but ultimately has 5 pure, solid, good comedies to his name (The Ace Venturas, Dumb & Dumber, Cable Guy, and Liar Liar at a stretch). I know, right? Weird to think that, but check out his filmography.

    This is no better or worse than the current crop of comedians. So, Zach Galifianakis has done The Hangover and boom, he’s already halfway towards Adam Sandler.

    Seth Rogen? He’s ALREADY overtaken nearly everyone you mentioned with Anchorman, 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, and Pineapple Express (I don’t personally love all those films, but I also know plenty of folks who love them nearly as religiously as they love, say, Ace Ventura). Jonah Hill is at least on par with Chris Farley in his cameos, and he’s got a few more when it comes to starring roles.

    It actually only takes 2-5 great comedies to make someone legendary, because as time goes on we forget about the duds. Every flop made by the new batch is fresh in our heads, but the flops from the old batch are forgotten because, well, we don’t own the flops on DVD.

    Out of the folks you’ve mentioned, the only ones I think stand out as enduring, heads-above-the-rest, consistently solid comedians are Bill Murray, and even though I don’t like him personally, Will Farrell.

  28. Marcon 08 Jul 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I think movies you nailed it when you said that movies today have a need to be “smart” as opposed to the old days. They were in general over the top hilarity, for better or worse. And it’s not limited to just comedy movies as well. Action movies are also getting smartified.

    The funniest recent movie I’ve seen is probably… Couple’s Retreat, and I think that was meant to be a chick flick more than just a straight up comedy. I miss the days of Zoolander.

    Also, if you want an example of how crappy the new batch of comedians, should have just said “Dane Cook” and be done with it.

  29. ldhl89on 09 Jul 2011 at 6:13 am

    Will Ferrel is overrated

    I am more interest in lookin for independent films
    >Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    >Superbad
    >Napoleon Dynamite
    >The big leboski
    >Clerks
    >Hot Fuzz was not that funny but it was cool
    >Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was not that funny but it was cool
    >Kick ass was not that funny but it was cool

    I watch the anchorman last night and it was BORING as hell

  30. Aether McLoudon 09 Jul 2011 at 5:57 pm

    To expand a quote from Zombieland: Seth Rogan and Bill Murray pretty much have a direct line to my funny bone.

    I can’t recount how often I have seen Groundhog Day, but it never gets old, and it never gets unfunny.

    And pretty much every movie with Seth Rogan will make me laugh. The green Hornet was awesome and funny.

  31. Timon 09 Jul 2011 at 6:08 pm

    HALL PASS blew hard. A by-the-book stinker just like Bridesmaids or anything else recently.

  32. Alvaroon 09 Jul 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I think movies in gereral (not just comedies) are weaker than series right now; we need ” Arrested Development : The movie” , and a movie about that Abed guy, from Community

  33. Nick D Pagson 10 Jul 2011 at 12:46 am

    Simon Pegg man.
    I saw How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. That movie was bland but he was hilarious.
    And I really liked Jeff Bridges in that movie as well.

  34. Seantheartiston 10 Jul 2011 at 4:24 am

    Anything Nathan Fillion does is funny, but not in a ‘comedian’ type way, and i like that. He’s just funny at times, the right times.
    Sorry, but with the death of George Carlin and Richard Prior, goes the days of ‘f’n funny’. I think.

  35. Lorenzo_2003on 10 Jul 2011 at 8:39 am

    I mostly agree with the editorial. Today’s crop of comediennes are mostly a forgettable group. Notable (current) exceptions would be Steve Carell and… umm, well, Tracy Morgan.

    Morgan at least gives it his all, though it’s really hit and miss with his stuff. Danny McBride is another who gets an A+ for effort. Unfortunately, McBride just looks so damned sleazy (or rather, that’s the kind of characters he’s always playing) that it’s sometimes hard to laugh. Take his Foot Fist Way movie as an example. There were definitely funny scenes, but it’s more of a “this is so uncomfortable, that maybe this isn’t a comedy” kind of flick.

  36. zachon 10 Jul 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I haven’t seen an American comedy that I found genuinely hilarious for a long time. I laughed during Role Models and Tropic Thunder but that’s about it.

    I think it’s a money thing. I reckon studios were happy to take far more risks back in the day by letting unknown directors/writers/actors have a go at driving a movie. Now it’s just whatever Judd Apatow says (and I don’t think any of his films are good at all).

    British comedy is funny for the world, American comedy only seems to be funny for Americans. When you Americanize Pegg and Frost (Paul) the result really isn’t as good.

    Watch the two versions of Death at a Funeral and you’ll realise American comedy has completely lost the plot.

  37. Mikeyon 10 Jul 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Jason Bateman, Jason Sedekis, Charlie Day. Just saw Horrible Bosses and they were all hilarious in it.

    Paul Rudd is one of my favorite comedic actors ever. He’s gold in everything. Simon Pegg is also great.

    Different times call for changes in genre styles. I personally wish there were still Mel Brooks-style movies where random shit happens throughout. Parody type movies used to be good (Naked Gun, Loaded Weapon, Spaceballs, Hot Shots, etc.), but I think the “Movie” movies killed that style of film making. Which is completely unfortunate, because there’s always potential in that form.

  38. Chrisghoston 11 Jul 2011 at 10:06 pm

    This whole article was idiotic.

  39. LGIon 25 Oct 2011 at 4:30 am

    No offence, but when you hold up not only the creepily childish Jim Carrey, but the all-round talent void douchebag that is Adam Sandler, as the gold standard of funny, you really have no right to criticise modern comedy.

    Also, that US comet has got smarter and more subtle just means we’re all coming away from ridiculous Carrey-style gurning and jokes so weak and obvious they need an uprisings Friends-type laugh track, yet you criticise it as if shouting (Ferrell) and fat people being fat (Farley) is the height of hilarity. I suppose the Simpsons is too subtle and intelligent to be popular and last then too, huh?

    Finally, both Hangovers are awesome. You say it’s ok to have goofy plots rather than character development, but the trend in comedy is for realism. In general, most people would find someone slipping over a banana in a film cliched and predictable, but in real life, because it wasn’t planned or expected, it is still funny. Therefore, developing characters plausibly makes us feel it to be real, and makes all the material funnier. All the best comedies (objectively by ratings and awards) use this, with the office faking the reality of a documentary, Curb Your Enthusiasm allowing improvisation and using fictional versions of real people (as does 30 Rock to an extent) and Sacha Baron Cohen usually interacting directly with real life, getting hilarious real reactions (usually).

    Comedy evolves, and in a world where 10 seconds of YouTube footage is easier, faster and cheaper than making a comedy, and usually funnier, the comedies which do survive have to incorporate as much of the hilarity of everyday life as possible.

  40. alekesamon 07 Feb 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Sandler as the be all of comedy kills your argument (even tho’ outside of that I agree with the rest of your article :)

    It does depend on what you’re looking for. When you want physical comedy you go to Ferrell, Farley, Carrey, Candy etc but if you want wordplay/delivery, Murray, Rudd, Murphy, Vince Vaughn, etc.

    You want another good American Pie (funny since they’re releasing American Reunion soon) yet I see that and 40 yr old virgin as being the beginning of what you don’t like in comedy. Because AP balanced story/characters with humor, yet AP (and Hangover for that matter) was more a movie that happened to be funny than flatout hilarious at it’s core. 40 year old virgin was fracking stomach-busting yet it had more than few “sappy moments” as you called them, as well as AP. And that trend didn’t stop with 40Yo, it continued into Knocked Up/Superbad/Role Models (tho’ I think those were funny as hell) until the sappy drama finally overtook the movie in Funny People.

    Until people are willing to play in comedies and not look down on it, this current spiralling in comedy will continue.

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