Prepared Comedy Doesn’t Work On Me Anymore

December 31st, 2008

Do you remember, as a kid, laughing so hard you had to pee?  Do you remember laughing so hard you couldn’t breath?

I remember both happening fairly often.  Not every day, or even every week, but still rather a lot during, say, my first 15 years of life.  The second 15, not so much.

I thought about that a lot, and came to the conclusion that, as you get older, your capacity for laughter decreases.  Not for joy, mind you.  I’m not saying you get dour.  Just that you find less things funny, and the things you do find funny, less so.  I guessed that this is because humour is based on the unexpected, and the more you get exposed to, the less unexpected funny things are.

That was a bit of a depressing thought, but recently I’m coming to rethink it.  I’ve heard lots of recommendations for funny movies / tv shows, and I’ve checked them out, and while I enjoy them, and they’re pleasant amusements, I almost never laugh out loud.  However, there ARE things at which I laugh out loud.  Funny things I or my coworkers say, for example.

And then I noticed something odd: there’s a web comic I read, called Penny Arcade.  I would put it squarely in the “amusing and pleasant, but no laughing out loud”.  However, the two guys who write the comic put up a podcast which consists of a recording as they are coming up with the comics, and it’s awesome.  No “peeing” or “shortness of breath”, but laugh-out-loud funny.  Their conversation as they come up with the comic is really funny, while the comic is just amusing.

The plural of “anecdote” is “data”, though, and that’s where SModcast comes in.  It’s another podcast, this one being of rambling discussions between director Kevin Smith and his producer, Scott Mosier.  Smith’s movies (Clerks, etc.) are also “amusing and pleasant, with no laughing out loud”, but their conversations are often awesome.

So it looks like it isn’t that my capacity for humour is decreased, but for some reason it’s only attuned to spontaneous conversational humour, not set, scripted comedy.

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