Where is this generation’s George Carlin? Richard Pryor? Bill Hicks? Lenny Bruce? Where are those raw, unapologetic wordsmiths that can ‘tell it like it is’ is a way that really gets the point across but also makes you laugh? Laugh at how ridiculous it all is? Laugh at yourself? Laugh at the world?
Don’t get me wrong, there are some funny comedians performing, and there are some ‘edgy’ comedians performing, but I don’t see anyone that rises above the rest. There isn’t anyone that can shock the world anymore, in a good way, and I don’t believe it’s because we’ve become so ‘desensitized’ by it all.
The problem is two-fold. The comedians, for the most part, are lazy. The game has changed. In the golden days of the craft you studied the language. You used wordplay, developed interesting dialogue, discovered your own unique voices if needed and developed characters. You worked the clubs and moved up slowly, always honing and polishing your craft, tossing off the slag, keeping what shined. Write and rewrite. Now it’s about youtube and getting kicked in the nuts. Five minutes of fame and out. So many flash in the pans and so many ‘big name’ comedians that wouldn’t have been able to open for some of the above-mentioned legends. Even the good ones, that I actually enjoy, are just shadows of what came before. Patton Oswalt, Louis C. K. etc… They suck. Sorry, somebody had to say it.
The other problem though is me, and audiences in general. You ever watch old films of live shows? What do you see? People that are engaged. People enjoying the world around them. People without the thing I’m typing this on in their hand, not ‘connected’ to anyone or anybody but those in their immediate vicinity. Whether it was a comedy show, or a concert, or a play the audience was there and they were wholly a part of the experience. Do yourselves a favor and leave that shit in the car the next time you go in somewhere. The world wide web will be there when you get back.
That’s not all though. People at comedy shows could laugh at themselves back then. They could laugh at their neighbors. They could laugh at ANYTHING. Why is everyone so serious now? Do you snowflakes need a safe space? Has everyone forgotten that, when it comes down to it, words are just wind. Unless you’re Zhuang Zhou. Cool guy, Chinese dude, a little before Jesus check him out. They aren’t going to hurt you. Fuck, we’ve known that since gradeschool, or at least I have.
Where is the next legend that’s going to do the work? The one that’s going to have the vision to put it all together, and bring us all together, over the ridiculousness of humanity? He or she is out there but some of that shit starts with you. Lighten up, buttercup.