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Will someone please tell me why I decided to stay up all night?… - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Will someone please tell me why I decided to stay up all night?

Well, I just can't sleep. It's that simple. Blah. I could at least be doing something useful, like cleaning my room, which I meant to do earlier and first wrote the earlier Shifts entry and then played computer games for three hours. And yet, here I am making an LJ entry.

I'm stupid.

Oh, well.


The least funny person on the internet will now share her thoughts on comedy, inspired by the SNL sketch mentioned earlier. To me, that looked like it was written by a fandom insider--it hit all the things that annoy us in badfic, and, crudity aside, hit them pretty well. (It didn't hurt that it was the only sketch of the night where the actors weren't busy laughing at their own cleverness, which crazes me, but that's outside the purview of this particular observation.)

Comedy is funnier when it's self-directed.

I find Al Franken extremely unfunny when he talks about conservatives, not because I can't stand conservative jokes, but because he has no idea what really is funny about conservatives--it's totally external humor, based on phantom stereotypes believed by people outside the community--kind of an Amos-'n-Andy approach. When Franken is hilarious is as Stuart Smalley, taking on the weird little quirks of the sensitivity movement. I have a feeling he's attended a group hug meeting or two in his time.

To get back to the HP SNL sketch, it was funny because it wasn't making fun of the whole Harry phenomenon; it was funny because it was people who know the stupid things that really go on and tweaked them. I'd compare it to the horrid fan jokes that constantly went on in something like Just Shoot Me, where Finch was portrayed as trying to hack into LFL and is taken in by the "genius" of a shark with a Mexican accent. Sorry, bzzt. I'm in the SW fan community. That's purely an external idea of what happens. You want to make a running joke about getting a preview, have Finch race against Harry from AICN, only to find out he picked up a red herring or something. (Hey, I'm not funny, but no one pays me to be funny. Then again, no one pays me to write anything, so...) It's not just funnier because the Mexican shark joke is offensive (not to Mexicans, whom it wasn't targeting, but to SW fans, whom it was), but because it's a joke about something that's actually true. Or maybe something about spoiler-phobia.

If you want to have some fun with fandom in general, there are plenty of funny things. Get someone involved in a fight about balrog wings or the like, which none of the mundanes around him understands... except his boss, who turns out to be the one he's arguing with. On work time. Have a fandom_wank style implosion with hystrionics from everyone involved (hey, it's cruel, but it's true). Hit the fanfic crowd and talk about Dumbledore/Dobby slash, or squidfics. Heck, the pairing wars themselves are hilarious, and even mundanes can be drawn into them. I mean, you can see a staff meeting being totally derailed by the fact that everyone has been secretly nursing an OTP, except for one single person who has no idea what's going on... they try to discuss something else, but the subject keeps coming back. Inside humor, and it would have the ring of real dialogue, unlike, say, making a fan the butt of jokes by having him be someone who pretends to be a little kid even though he's balding.

By the same token, if you want to make fun of conservatives, be one, or at least hang out with us. Specificity is great. I went to college with a couple of guys who would get falling down drunk... and start comparing the philosophy of Ayn Rand and Mr. Ed. Then there was a girl who got around the "no sex before marriage" issue by using a convoluted logic about how using birth control removed the risk of pregnancy and therefore made it not sex, and therefore having sex with birth control was the same thing as staying a virgin in theological terms. (No, I didn't get it, either.) And so on. The point is, there are specifics you can have if you're inside that make things funnier than broad generalizations from the outside.

And of course, expanding outward to the whole campus politics shtick could frankly make a great series... as long as it was written by an actual insider who found it funny in the first place.

Oh, well. I'll work on cleaning my room now.
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Comments
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: May 3rd, 2004 07:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I find Al Franken extremely unfunny when he talks about conservatives, not because I can't stand conservative jokes, but because he has no idea what really is funny about conservatives

Thank you! Yes, that's it, exactly. It's really not that I can't laugh at myself, it's that there are some people who don't get it, and therefore can't tell the funny joke.

The only specific thing I can think of right now is the online column How to Speak Mormon which I don't think non-Mormons would really understand, but trust me, it's very funny to anyone who even has the slightest bit of experience in the Mormon culture, even someone less active like me.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 3rd, 2004 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Snerk. I'm a gentile-in-Utah, and I thought it was hilarious. :p (I did spend a summer with Mormon friends of the family, and my cousins live in Palmyra, so maybe I have more experience than a total outsider, but still not a lot.) But the thing is, it was funny because it was self-referential. He's obviously writing about a community he knows inside out, and when he says being "tried and tested" means "I think God has it in for me," I'm willing to take his word for it.
(Deleted comment)
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: May 3rd, 2004 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Despite my frustrations with WIPs

I'm reading Shifts and you better plan to finish it.

Kizmet
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: May 3rd, 2004 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Buffy (and probably all things Joss) is the perfect example of brilliantly done fannish comedy. The concept of Spike threatening the 'supervillian trio' with the destruction of a cherished and supposedly valuable Boba Fett action figure was dead-set priceless. Threaten their lives - bah humbug; threaten the action figure and they are trembling with fear! And almost every word that Andrew utters touches some level of fandom. :~D
The thing with Joss's dialogue though is that he doesn't beat you over the head with it. Either you get the in-joke or you don't. There's no pause to make sure you got it and no apology if you didn't. And the dialogue is so fast paced that if you don't get it you don't notice.
I caught a repeat of one of the 1st season episodes recently and Buffy says- "Don't try to Scully me Giles." How many NEW viewers of Buffy would get that now? Those who were too young to see it when it was originally aired and X-files was the hit of the decade. Nevertheless, those who are 'fannish' enough to watch old episodes of Buffy will probably eventually find X-files too, and then they WILL get it, and will enjoy it all over again on a different level. Do you know what I'm trying to say?
I think that's what appealed to me about the SNL sketch. It was written on two levels.
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