Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What’s Funny

Pen-Elayne writes about the status of comedy and humor today:

Above all, it’s important for even me to remember that comedy is subjective. I can articulate why I don’t find Carlin as funny as I used to, or why I no longer find Dennis Miller funny at all, in the same way I can articulate why I still find The Daily Show and The Firesign Theatre so rewarding, why Ellen DeGeneris makes me smile, why I’m very psyched for Out on the Edge (I’m so old and out of touch with the stand-up scene nowadays, my “gay comic” markers are Kate Clinton and Robin Tyler, let alone Ellen or Margaret Cho). But I know better than to give an unqualified “this isn’t funny” or “you have no sense of humor” to anyone. And so should y’all.

I pride myself in my sense of humor – it is hardwired in my DNA – and I owe my sanity to not taking things too seriously and finding something funny in everything. But, as Elayne points out, it is subjective, and more importantly, it’s all in the timing. Knowing when a joke or a quip will hurt someone (or worse, go over their head) is the truest measure of a well-developed sense of humor – and class.