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It’s Not Funny

Some people think I’m funny. Not necessarily in a good way.

I enjoy humour—funny books, funny TV shows, and funny movies—as much as the next man. Whoever he is.

I make no claims to be an expert on what comedy is. But I do have some ideas about what comedy isn’t.

1. Crudeness is not funny. “I peed my pants” is not funny in a three-year-old. Just ask his mother or father who has to clean it up. It’s not funny in an adult either.

2. Rudeness is not funny. Insults are insults, and they hurt.

3. Sexual suggestiveness is not funny. It’s grounds for a lawsuit.

4. Drunkenness and drug addiction are not funny. Ask any woman married to an alcoholic. Ask any of the people whose drug addiction has driven them to live on the streets.

5. Embarrassingly stupid is not funny. It’s embarrassingly stupid. My wife certainly does not find it funny when I am embarrassingly stupid. Neither do I. I find it embarrassing.

Let me be clear. Comedy can be created around any one of these subjects. But in themselves they are not funny. They are no substitute for the real thing.

A case in point. In the TV show Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen’s character was considered funny because he was a self-centred, sexually licentious alcoholic. According to news reports, Charlie Sheen may have been the same things in real life, and nobody considered it funny. It was just embarrassing.

It annoys me when situation comedies—as many of them do—portray their lead characters as rude, crude, dishonest, self-centred, immoral, embarrassingly stupid jerks. And then, at the end of the show, the lead characters are rewarded because, deep down, they are “good people.” No, they’re not. Deep down, they are rude, crude, dishonest, self-centred, immoral, embarrassingly stupid jerks. Portraying them as good people may be attractive to viewers who are rude, crude, dishonest, self-centred, immoral, embarrassingly stupid jerks and want to be reassured that that is okay. But it is not funny.

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