Humor right? I should get a sense of it! Why don’t I get jokes and stop being so serious?
I have some questions too. Why don’t people demand the same top notch work they expect of the folks waiting on them in restaurants, fixing their cars, and teaching their children, from entertainers? You want the best service everywhere else, but not from television writers or comedians? Whatever boring shtick they’ve got laying around will do? No need to go to any trouble putting out any effort… like someone would just stay at whatever damp moldy hotel is available and then defend it on Yelp when someone is like “I didn’t enjoy my stay and I wouldn’t recommend it.” That’s not a real thing that is going to happen — yet people accept whatever pile of tepid shit is under the silver lid served up at the Academy Awards because the host is funny by virtue of being billed as a funny guy.
The thing is that when it was announced that MacFarlane was going to host the Oscars, every single person familiar with even a small fraction of his work could predict the direction this was going. High school kids in creative writing class who’ve already done that part of the course where you pick an author, read an assortment of their work and write a piece in their style could very easily have written his Oscar material. How is this acceptable to anyone from a savvy consumer point of view let alone a talent/art crit perspective. The real joke is the one where that lazy ass gets paid more money than most of us will ever see to produce boring leftover slop with minimal effort and by taking zero risks and still gets positive reviews for being edgy. And all the haters are the losers who “just don’t get it.” Righto.
He doesn’t have to try at all and people will say he is great because one time he did something that people found amusing and no one wants to cop to having been a fan of someone kind of dull so they will fiercely defend the rights of artists or comedians or noodley-musicians who’ve produced work with a short shelf life. MacFarlane will eventually be a vaguely familiar sounding name in a long Wikipedia List of American Comedians. His material is not even relevant today, and I don’t know about you but I need to believe in a future where he’s basically Gallagher and no one is inviting him to televised events or paying much to syndicate his shows.
Am I judging you? I don’t know, maybe?! How do you feel about the things that strike you as funny? Would they be funny if you changed the butt of the joke? Is what you like fresh and new uncharted territory? Does it make your jaw drop because it’s sharp or because it’s “hee-hee, aren’t we all baaaaaad kids?” If you strip it down to its basic element is it at heart a broads-can’t-make-up-their-minds joke? Or the one about sandwiches that makes an easy segue into the one about fatness? (I can’t keep up with all these new horizons of edginess!)
Here’s my metric for deciding whether to place value in pretty much anything: if my racist, barely literate, abusive ex-cop stepfather thinks it is great/hilarious/cool –it isn’t. I’m sure you know someone just like him because unfortunately he’s a dime a dozen. I’ve had some coworkers that would probably follow him on Tumblr in that nightmarish scenario where he steps outside of his weather forecasts and photos-of-guns Internet comfort zone. You don’t even have to take it that far and bum yourself out; it’s pretty simple. Would Jay Leno dig it? Then it is shit. Would someone wearing a bowling shirt with flames on it think this is cool? Utter crap. Perhaps fans of Two and A Half Men? Yikes. How about that lady from your office who gets stoked when the IT dudes tell her she’s cool because she’s not like other girls? Sad. What about those guys who make kissy sounds at half of the people who walk by? Gross. Have some standards and some respect for yourself, for others, and for art and talent. Demand quality.