Did you miss me? Don’t be ashamed! Dry your eyes, blow your noses and wipe whatever you need to wipe (ew) because I’m back from six weeks of performances, emergency surgeries, break-ups and movings (the “s” is for consistency) and I am ready to write like a mo fo. YEAH!
I wasn’t able to watch that much TV while I was gone– there was so much craziness going on–but one show I have been keeping up with is “Last Comic Standing.” I have avoided this show in the past for two reasons. One is that my background is in comedy. It’s stressful enough to be writing and performing myself, so watching other people struggle in my chosen field seemed almost redundant. The second reason, (and the biggest really) is that, I don’t find most stand-up funny. I tend to find many of the jokes predictable, cheesy and the comics themselves, often just plain annoying. Of course there are some great stand up comics with incredible material, but I personally find them few and far between. It may just be a difference in style, I am an improv performer first, a sketch writer and performer second and a stand up comic never. I would much rather be up on stage with a really bad audience suggestion for an improv scene, than standing in front of a room of people telling jokes.
Sarah’s gonna hit you with the punchline after the jump…
Ironically, although I’m in comedy I’m actually a pretty poor joke teller. I’m much better thinking on my feet, hence the improv. But even the sitcoms that stand-up comics star in don’t really appeal to me. Other than Seinfeld, I find most of them as bland and predictable as the routines themselves. I sound like a comedy snob, but I really just enjoy things that are original and creative. My sense of humor runs much more in the vein of “The Office” (original, but I like the American one too), “Arrested Development,” “30 Rock,” “The Soup,” “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace” and most recently, “Flight of the Concords.” I guess it’s the combination of very smart and very silly humor that I love and although I know there are lots of people who don’t get that either, that’s fine as long as you’re not watching “Larry the Cable Guy.” Otherwise, we have a problem. Although if you find “Larry the Cable Guy” hilarious, then you probably haven’t figure out how to use the In-ter-net so I really have nothing to worry about. Youch. A few weeks off and I’m a punchy girl!
Alright, enough of my raging against the comedy machine, let’s talk about the show. So tonight’s show opens as usual with Bill Bellamy, the host of Last Comic Standing. His opening joke for the semi finals show is “White people will find any outfit to wear flip flops.” Really? Is that where we are in cutting edge comedy on prime time television? White people do this, black people do that jokes? Is Sinbad going to come out in some neon-paint-splattered looking Hammer Pants outfit next? “30 Rock” did a brilliant parody of this very subject where Tracy Morgan’s character finds out he might be white, which would ruin his whole stand up routine, take a look;
Now THAT’S funny, right? Bellamy’s routine continues with his impression of a white airport security guard and white people jumping out of their flip flops. Oh the hilarity. Fortunately, THOUGH, there are some very funny comics in the “Last Comic Standing” competition with some pretty good material. I don’t know how long the comics actually get to go on, you only get to see about 30 seconds of material from each one but there is some funny stuff there. Except the Gorilla. What the hell was that about? He’s all muffled and hairy and let’s not forget he’s wearing an 80s tuxedo. Waaaa waaaaaaaa. That was my trombone.
There is one thing about the show that really disappoints me, and that is that only three women were passed to the finals. As a woman in comedy, I find that pretty depressing and also slightly offensive. I watched all the episodes, there were just as many good female comedians in the semi-finals as there were men and yet only three out of ten were passed through.
It’s something that I see every day in comedy and I’m not exactly sure why it happens. I think it has something to do with the fact that culturally, it’s just not as acceptable for a woman to be outspoken and silly, saying rude and dirty things as it is for a man. Comedy parts for women tend to be written as the one-dimensional girlfriend, the wife or the mother, rather than an all out-character. SNL is one of the few places that seems to have a more even playing field. It’s not completely even, but it’s just not as skewed as other comedy vehicles. I think that women need to understand that it’s OK not to always look cute or act girly. Every joke does not need to be about dating or their body. The great female comedians are women who aren’t afraid to look silly and break the very quiet cultural taboos of being a funny female.
I have hope for the three women that passed through to the finals and I also think the men are really good. I just wish it were 50/50. “Last Comic Standing” is a good outlet for stand-up and I appreciate seeing people who are creative and original. I’m very curious to see how the next episodes turn out since the game has now completely changed and some of the crazy behind the funny will start to show. I think I have just enough time to put on my flip flops, complain about being single and talk loudly about my body issues before the next episode starts. Hey, if I’m lucky I might even get my period! Waaaa waaaaaaaaaa!