Comedy is a beautiful craft, being able to make me laugh with the dark truth of us all, as people and society, its flaws and lows. I love the way comedians make me question us as a whole, human beings, our twisted minds, habits, and laugh at the same time, laying down the pain for everybody to look at and make fun of, sharing.
The worst is still to come though and it might not be that funny at all in the end... at least we'll be real.
Will the future of comedy be blunt truth, not looking for laughter but just pure honesty, as it is, saying the darkest truth and having the courage of honesty ? Just a thought.
Louis C.K. was the first to put the light on this craft for me and many aspirant comedians. I deliberately mention him and his recent fall was a big punch in the stomach but not a surprise, weirdly I did not need a lot of convincing to accept it when I learned the truth. Deep down I believe he could do shit like that, how can you make me laugh so much with such dark shit if you are clean ? Do you have to fall low in order to dig up the gold, so low that moral has disappeared? There is some darkness and twisted mind for sure there but that's where I wanna look.
I have this question in mind: "Can happiness make us laugh?" I tend to prefer darkness. Comedy is a martial art, turn drama into laughter.
Latest example of bad comedy was Kevin Hart show on netflix "what now?"... Just the intro made me cringe of sadness and when he started talking about his huge house, long driveway and wealth I did not laugh, nor connected to that. He is wearing a gold chain and trying to make me sympathise with his life and "struggles", him being too successful ? Well it failed, spectacularly, with special effects, fireworks and a whole stadium... That his audience could connect to that and laugh so hard was for me mind blowing, I understood why LeBron James could though.
That's not the point here. George Carlin is.
It's been 5 years I dig deep into comedy's whole universe, listening to WTF podcast with Marc Maron non stop, diving into the brains of guys like Robin Williams, watching specials and stand up shows, I naturally looked into George Carlin as he was referred and looked up to by many of the funny geniuses I cherished.
I watched 5 of his shows : On location, George Carlin at Phoenix (or George Carlin Again !) 1978, Carlin at Carnegie 1982, Jammin' In New York 1992, Life is worth Loosing 2005 and It's bad for Ya 2008.
There is still a lot to watch from him but I believe it's enough to start writing about.
The last one I just watched is On Location: GC at Phoenix (also referred as George Carlin Again !), taped in 1978.
I DID NOT LAUGHED ONCE. And I can assure you I was on it 100%. I don't do something else, I don't watched my phone all the time (just a bit of Instagram) and I tried to be fully focused, in the present. But it was too much of the past already...
This type of observational comedy doesn't do it for me, at all, or the observations are too dated. I especially didn't like when he observes random life stuff like people asking him :
- "Do you have time ?"
- "Not one me, I don't own time !"
and then proceeds to read funny news headlines : "A 107 year old woman in Florida is reported to be pregnant. Physicians claim that because of her advanced age she will have a grown up."
or weird stuff he thinks of like: "Do you think directors dreams end with credits ?". It's smart and witty but doesn't make a crowd die of laughter now anymore, but believe me it did back in 1978. People are loving it, he is a real rock star, slick with his blue pants and shirt. Cheers of the crowd are huge. I wanted to be on his side, stylish and smart like he was, but hell I did not enjoy it and I feel terrible for that.
Surely it was at the time mind blowing but now it's just "kids play" with words, puns and imagination openly expressed, funny headlines like I can see a thousand on social networks in 2017... Nothing worth a 2 hours special. And I am amazed by that, 40 years later it's becoming real useless and tasteless comedy. No one of my generation would laugh hard to these and I find it fascinating. On a positive note, his energy, anger and denunciation of everyday bullshit, politics, society and flaws is to me truly inspirational, he says it blunt and gives the finger to them all, me first. He is the perfect Conscientious Objector, and for me it's the highest and most respectable thing to be, anytime.
For that I look up to him. He would hate me and be right to.
On the same period, as a devil's advocate, Richard Pryor's: Live in Concert, 1979 is on my top list of comedy stand up show... The year doesn't explain everything. I remembered being in south of France and watching Live in Concert with my brother and an American guy and I was dying, he was killing me and I loved it, especially thinking of the 40 years gap, the magic still being there and strong. Gold.
At that early age of stand up, puns and observational comedy, "weird shit thought of and said out loud" was the highlight and the material. Nows it's old uncles jokes. Or if you think weird shits, you tweet it, you have to fly real high because everyone is in space now. Being funny and original is not enough anymore, the level is way higher, or way deeper, darker... We dig nowadays, into our brains and minds, our pain, and it doesn't look good, but hell it's funny !
I like C.K. and Bill Burr because they show me their darkness, sadness, share it with me, and turn it into gold. That is real. Bill Burr I believe would be a serial killer if not that genius of a comedian. His anger is huge and he turns it into art. That sparks light in me, it's pure beauty.
When I watched Carlin latest shows (Life is worth loosing 2005, It's bad for ya 2008) first I was appalled, "How can this old grumpy man be my heroes' hero ?". These shows are 2 hours of an old 6O yo man's runt : "I don't like that and that" "THIS IS SHIT !"... Wow really.
Times change, and comedy fades away and it made me very sad not being able to appreciate the comedic genius of this man.
I respect him because I understand that at the time it was never seen, never heard and mind blowing. But when I watched these 5 shows I was nodding my head thinking: "This is not possible, I am not laughing once nor smiling AT ALL". And trust me it was not a challenge or forced.
He was a comedic genius that does not make me laugh. I'm sure I would have been a groupie in 1978 though...
I don't think George Carling is funny anymore. Good thing is, I don't matter to him and he will never give a fuck ! For that I love him sincerely and deeply.
I hereby engage, will you marry me?