Sunday, March 02, 2008


Last Saturday, I went to see the Second City Touring Company's "One Nation Under Blog" here at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (I would have written this sooner but I've been sick). If you're not familiar with The Second City, click this link and prepare to be astonished by the names you see listed. The last time I saw one of their shows was in Chicago and the cast featured Scott Adsit, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch and Kevin Dorff. They do sketch comedy, satirical songs and improv (which I could take or leave), sort of like "Saturday Night Live", only without bands and funny.
I have a question though; when did we as a nation forget how to laugh? I don't mean in a abstract, mourning-the-loss-of-our-collective-sense-of-humor way, I mean the practical application of our ability to laugh. When did we officially replace 'ha ha ha' with 'woooooooo!'? There was quite a bit of 'woooooooo!'-ing going on all night long and it actually started to be a little distracting. You hear 'woooooooo!' a lot on tv shows with live studio audiences. "Married With Children" used to be 22 minutes of non-stop 'woooooooo!'. The modern standard bearer is probably "Mad TV" (which I have made numerous attempts to appreciate but just can't get into). Actually, maybe laughter hasn't been replaced. Maybe 'woooooooo!' is a seperate reaction to something else. After all, the root of really good comedy is shock or surprise such as a pie in the face or a character saying or doing something unexpected; "I did not expect that to happen! Ha ha ha!". However, much of what is passed off as comedy is actually based on familiarity such as "Saturday Night Live" and "Mad TV" relying almost entirely on recurring characters, celebrity impressions and media parodies or "Married With Children" relying almost entirely on Al Bundy's hatred of his wife and Kelly Bundy's breasts: "I see something I recognize and this pleases me! Woooooooo!". Sort of like playing peek-a-boo with a toddler. So maybe 'woooooooo!' as a reaction to pleasurable stimulus is just a byproduct of the (d)evolutionary process. In which case, as our collective IQ continues to shrink, we'll be hearing more of it. At some point, the next comedic genius is going to be somebody who just comes out on stage and jingles his keys and makes fart noises with his mouth.

1 comment:

Marissa said...

I had a one time opportunity to go to Second City in Chicago. Does the name Steve Carell ring a bell? He was a member of the group at the time. I want to say Steven Colbert was there at the same time, but I might be having flashback hallucinations.
I'll probably get flack for this, but I just don't get into Dane Cook's comedy. Perhaps he's an acquired taste much like horseradish straight from the jar.