Sunday, January 30, 2011

Levels of funny

I went to a clinic recently where I found myself in a banquet hall with about 400 other people that coach softball.  Most of the speakers were good and the information was helpful.  But after several hours of sitting in the same place and listening to very similar information I found myself getting very easily distracted.  There was this older man sitting next to me and he would try to make funny comments from time to time to his co-worker next to him and to me on the other side, and I appreciated his effort.  After a few minutes I noticed that he kept reaching down to the side of him somewhere beyond my line of sight and he came back with some sort of treat and popped it in his mouth.  He did this two or three times and then I leaned over to him and said "Have you ever seen Napoleon Dynamite?"  Thankfully he said yes, and the rest of of my joke landed.  Then I said "You remind me of that part when he keeps reaching down to his side pocket on his pants and he is eating his tator tots during class..."  The guy laughed and said he had some sort of jelly bean like candy and assured me he did not have a pocket full of warm tator tots.  THIS was the highlight of the day as far as humor goes.

Now it was funny at the time, yes.  But then I realized that one of the speakers was getting all the laughs and she did have some funny, not so politically correct comments to say and she kept everyone's interest for sure. Instead of saying she had some fast players on her team and some not so fast, she would call the slow ones "butt slow" and that got a laugh.  And someone next to me said "See, I told you she was hilarious."  Now this is when I said no no no, in my head.  Yes, this woman has every right to call the speaker hilarious but I just wasn't sure she had heard of anything truly funnier than what we were currently listening to.  I have been called a 'comedy snob' and I think I am okay with it.   

This scene reminded me of when I worked in an office every day and how we all (or at least some of us) start to go a little crazy after a while.  Eight hours straight of working in a basement, no natural sunlight and those florescent lights and off white walls just over taking you...  I remember there was "office humor" and it was far different than anything I found funny outside of work.  Someone would make a comment and I would catch myself half-heartedly laughing like Toby from The Office and then once I was in my car driving home I would snap back into my full self and realize 'that wasn't funny at all'. 

I've decided there are levels of funny and somewhere in there is The Office Level (cubicle or not), The Banquet Hall Level, Classroom funny, and then the levels just start getting better and better beyond that and eventually you reach 30 Rock Level (quick, witty, and down right hilarious -my favorite level).  I know that humor is helpful especially on those long days and I guess I would rather have the Office level than no level at all.... at least I think I would.

I will leave you with my list.  It may be oozing with my comedic snobness, and oh yea sometimes I make up words, but I think I have reached the level of comedy where I am qualified to judge the un-funny shows.

The top 5 Worst (non-reality) Shows Ever:
5. Outsourced.  It made the list because I can't believe it is in the current line up of Thursday night awesomeness.  I have seen a total of 60 seconds and that was enough to realize it will never be funny.
4. King of Queens.  Let's me honest though According to Jim could be interchangeable here, anything with a fat husband, skinny wife, husband acts like an idiot and wife freaks out, blah blah blah, I am just sick of the plots being so similar but then failing at actually being funny.
3. My name is Earl.  The previews alone on this show are so irritatingly not funny to me.
2. The Big Bang Theory.  I am sorry, I know a lot of people watch it, and we have tried but I just don't get it.  The humor is not there and that skinny guy's voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
1.  Two and a Half Men. The. Worst. Ever.

Now on a brighter note, the top 5 Best and Funniest Shows Ever
5. Scrubs
4. Summer Heights High
3. Strangers with Candy
2. Arrested Development
1. 30 Rock

There, I said it.  Lemon out.