“Three people of different nationalities walk into a bar. Two of them say something smart, and the third one makes a mockery of his fellow countrymen by acting stupid.”
That is a meta joke.
I have been watching, reading and studying up about comedy for a while now. I still have a (completely unrealistic) dream of becoming a stand up comedian so I thought I should know about the finer points and intricacies of the art of comedy. What fascinates me the most though, is the concept of being meta. Just to make it clear, being meta is when an unlikely character/object acknowledges its own existence and makes self referential statements. A perfect example of this would be the show Community. A lot of the times, the characters of the show (especially Abed) allude to the fact that they’re in a show and a lot of the show’s humour is based on it. That is the closest I can come to explaining what being meta means. Another example would be:
(For some reason WordPress is telling me that the way I spell humour is wrong. Fuck you WordPress. To quote Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine, “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me.”)
A great proponent of the use of Meta is the duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the geniuses behind the Jumpstreet movies and The Lego Movie. I love these guys and their work. The Lego Movie might look like a kid’s film but it has some of the sharpest and wittiest humour that can be found in movies today. It constantly references other movies and characters while at the same time poking fun at itself. Similarly, the Jumpstreet movies have some great references, especially the end credits of 22 Jumpstreet. To further show their inclination to be meta, the duo named the main character of the show The Last Man on Earth (which they are executive producing) Phil Miller, a combination of their names. I love these guys so much.
Humour as an artform is very diverse and technical. It takes a lot of effort to be funny. Take Andy Samberg (ex-Saturday Night Live and currently starring in Brooklyn Nine Nine) and Seth Rogen for example. When you see their stuff, it seems as if they get away by just being loud and stupid. But I think they are very intelligent comedians who know what they have to do to pull off a joke. Similarly, sometimes the funniest jokes are the ones that are true. That is why Louis CK is the best stand up guy today. Because a lot of people can be mildly funny for a limited amount of time (like me). However, to be funny on a profound level, to be so funny that it’s sad, that is an art in itself. The best comedians are people who are the best observers; they can observe and relate.
For a post about humour, this post is unnecessarily serious I guess. So here’s a free meta-joke (DOUBLE WHAMMY):
“How many members of a certain demographic group does it take to perform a specified task? A finite number: one to perform the task and the remainder to act in a manner stereotypical of the group in question.”
So what’s the point of this post? I don’t know, what the fuck is the point of anything? Comedy and humour are very intense artforms; they require more hardwork, patience and intelligence than people think. I don’t have a statistic to back me up here but a significant amount of people involved in the humuor business are depressed. And obviously people have no sympathy for them because “How can you be depressed, you are so funny.” Wayne Brady has often said that it was very hard for him to deal with his depression since he had to hide it all the time. Robin Williams had known issues with depression.
So to end this post I’d like to list some of the funniest things I have seen. If you don’t find it funny, then remember that Jesus died for your sins. Yes, I’m talking about Jesus, my Mexican gardener.
(^that is, I think, one of the best SNL sketches ever)
Some of the shows that I like are Family Guy, Archer, Whose Line Is It Anyway, Top Gear ( the UK one; not a comedy show per se but extremely funny nonetheless), It’s Always Sunny In Philadelhphia and the aforementioned Community.
Some of the funniest movies that I have seen are This Is The End, the Jumpstreet movies, Burn After Reading, Neighbours, Horrible Bosses, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. The latter is a simply brilliant movie that makes fun of it’s own pretentiousness.
Among stand up comedians, I like Louis CK, Iliza Shlesinger (it is an added bonus that she’s hot), Hannibal Buress and Damon Wayans Jr.
Here are some more jokes that I copied off Wikipedia:
“Three blokes walk into a pub. One of them is a little bit stupid, and the whole scene unfolds with a tedious inevitability.”
“I’ve often started off with a lawyer joke, a complete caricature of a lawyer who’s been nasty, greedy, and unethical. But I’ve stopped that practice. I gradually realized that the lawyers in the audience didn’t think the jokes were funny and the non-lawyers didn’t know they were jokes.”
“There was a man who entered a local paper’s pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.”
What do you mean you’re not a comedy person? Do you not like laughing? Do you not like being happy? Do you not like to forget your mundane existence for a moment and laugh?
P.S. If you find that there are any n’s or b’s missing anywhere, please bear (I think that’s the correct bear I’m looking for, although I could be wrong) with me. My keyboard is broken and I’ve had to use the on-screen keyboard and it is a bitch.
And I’m terrible at proof reading my own work.