Who's laughing now- Where did all the great comedians go?
Comedy was born as a mechanism to protect ourselves and tell our friends that a transgression was a false alarm and that everything is alright, but it has evolved with society as a medium that soothes us from the pains of reality and relaxes us after a day in a gray uncaring world, but it seems we have evolved ourselves into a corner, the current comedy wave does not hold a candle against what many geniuses did before and slowly but seems to be surely the walls of comedy kingdom are being eroded by low quality hacks.
One of the biggest issues that seem to be happening is the lack of comedy timing with current comedians, we can see it in such as Kevin Hart, Dane Cook or Amy Schumer, in which jokes sound like they are delivered by some psychologists by subverting our expectations and playing with them, this is about taking us to the edge, pushing a bit- but then pull us in a different situation bringing us back to safety. The laugh is as a result evolved from a defense mechanism to express safety, that things are fine but it seems that sweet spot seems to be missing from current stand-up enthusiasts. Either they do not push hard enough or they push you too hard, like Sarah Silverman that goes from funny to upsetting and then disappointing. Stephen Fry and Marc Maron both commented on this- that they play out their misery and transmit it to their audience, but always spinning it for a joke that just has a deep impact.
This low, random type behavior is too ‘played-out’ by many of the current comedians, unable to surprise their audience. In the topic of not pushing enough- some have argued that it has something to do with the current wave of political correctness. That is- a fear of upsetting people that just binds many postmodern comedians currently, and lacking this push is what could potentially kill comedy. Since they are not boundless examples like George Carlin- who believed everything can be a joke if done right, and he always did it right! Though we can consider this ‘political correctness' movement plays a big part in the overall problem it quite possibly be the root of the problem. Its apparent how everyone sees it, and just by chance there is a byproduct of this root, and that means they do not know how to correctly play out their jokes which makes them uncomfortably funny to those who don’t know what else to do.
Talking about the previous examples of bad comedians, let us look at Amy Schumer that has been a polarized figure in the comedy world, she sells herself as a ‘Big’ girl, and plays her routine around that. Now there are many previous comedians that did this successfully but what happens to Amy Schumer (other than plagiarizing some of her material) as seen for her reviews of her Netflix film: “I feel pretty”, not only can she pretend that a moral stance has no base, but if you have your whole idea based around that concept- it falls flat. In the case of Dane Cook and Kevin Hart, the critics have a stance that they try to replicate the success of others without understanding what makes it funny originally. Yes, you can tell a funny joke, but if you don’t understand what makes it funny, you are just a bad parrot.
There are some very bad apples in the comedy world that have low chances of achieving the success of previous giants who danced to their own drum, the laughs and subversions are currently making ripples across the comedy world. There are small exceptions such as: John Mulaney but then again, the others should not should think to reinvent themselves if they want to last.