Thursday, October 5, 2006

The Humor Crisis

A friend called me today, badly shaken up. "You gotta help me," he begged. "I can't go on like this. There's too much. We're working day and night, trying to keep up, and they, they just keep coming! My head is spinning...I've got agita out the wazoo. We can't take it much longer - please do something!"

"Who is this?" I asked. I, too, had felt the sting of the whip, and not in a good way. So I knew where what's-his-name was coming from, and it had to stop. Too many people were getting hurt. But what to do?

An embarrassment of riches. If you thought it was excessive during prior administrations, it was never like this. Ford has his fumbles, Nixon his jabber-jowls, Clinton....well, jeez - who could ask for more than Clinton?

But we got more, didn't we, and our poor, overworked comedians can't keep up. At first, jokesters thought they'd hit a goldmine. Nonstop bumbling rants, furrowed brows - Larry, Moe and Curly got nuthin' on Bush, Dick, and Rummy. But it's a fool's goldmine, wearing everyone down. Leno is speed-reading to get everything into his monologue, icing his overheated jaw down on commercial breaks. Letterman is constantly on the verge of an uncontrolled eyeroll. (Sure, he's always like that, but still.) Craig Ferguson no longer needs to say anything - he simply tweaks his head to the side, bird-like, and looks at the audience. What can you say when the White House is the Ice House?

How long can you laugh before suffering a hernia?
I can see the lawsuits now - "Your honor, my client was not duly advised when he entered the nightclub that he would be subjected to intense, gut-wrenching humor. The proper safety warnings were not in place. My client suffered immense emotional damage induced by the defendant's willful and premeditated jokefest. As a result, my client is no longer able to continue his career as a marine proctologist. We'd also like to submit this bill for dry-cleaning."

It's only funny until somebody loses an eye. This proud generation of joke jockeys is beaten down by sheer volume, trying to stay afloat on a sea of pathetic political punditry, living on out-takes and take-out, lattes and late-night. Some have already snapped under the pressure, reduced to insipid, mute sideshow performances. So if you see one wandering the streets, exhausted and speechless, give him a hug. Because a mime is a terrible thing.


stevie w said...

"...out-takes and take-out." Nice. Have you heard George Carlin's recent bit with tons of similar wordplay? Most excellent.

Annie said...

stevie - thanks - no, I haven't heard Carlin's new bit, but from his old stuff, he can sure weave the words. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

stevie w said...

Fo' Yo.

Annie said...

Thanks, stevie. I checked the kinder, gentler Carlin out. So weird to see him sans nasty words, but he stills holds up. Smart and funny - he should run for office.