Let’s take a minute to examine the seriousness of comedy and what it represents in our free culture.
Briefly, let’s go over the negatives-- the content which is sometimes passed as comedy, but really is a cry for attention. Then let’s take a stroll through its definition, historical ideas, and the better parts of comedy, you know, actual funny things.
To be blunt, comedy is not holding the bloody severed dummy head of your current president, staring blankly ahead, making your way, making your way through the crow-ow-owd. You see what I did there… It is also not, burning effigies at the stake to make a political point, or actually calling for the death of any specific person, unless you are truly using satire in its more direct sense, which is to pinpoint an absurdity in an ideology by bringing out its most serious points to their ends which point out their flaws. This is terribly useful and effective unless written or typed, as that sort of humor has never translated well in long hand. It gets very confusing, but I am sure you get the point.
The word comedy means in Greek, “to revel” or what we now consider to mean taking great pleasure or delight. It also represented a story, play, or other literary work in which the main character goes through some sort of struggle but finds a happy ending, thus the better part of every storyline in the past 200 years.
Comedy comes in so many forms today, whether we talk about the physical forms: standup, movies, music, radio, etc; or it can be seen through many styles, such as satire, deadpan, hyperbole, droll, anecdotal, highbrow, blue, farcical, irony, mordant, screwball, and more. There are so many ways, styles, outlets, and understandings of comedy in today’s world; heck a meme can be more influential NOW than any straight-laced political speech to the people of this world.
Comedy should be a way for a comedian to truly be a reflection of today’s society, not so we can ogle ourselves and take selfies, but so that they can help us trim those nose hairs, prune those eyebrows, and pop that HUGE ZIT on the left side of your nose, you know the one. It is a spotlight to help us correct the problems that we see in our society in a fashion that makes it easier for us to digest.
In effect, Mary Poppins had it right, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” and down it must go if we are going to look for the proper ways to correct the problems in our society. A jester can make a fool of the King and have him laughing about it; a fool makes an unfettered statement or action without thinking of the consequences.
Let us continue down the road as good jesters and better people— thinking before we speak, acting with compassion, standing for what is right, and correcting ourselves before we look to fix another’s folly.