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Our sense of humour? B/S

17 Jul 99 - 05:26 PM (#96291)
Subject: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: The Shambles

No I don't have a problem with the humour on Mudcat, I have even been known to attempt some myself, but I do recognise that some of us here, do have some reservations and can take offence. By and large that problem has been solved by the use of the B/S category and I don't really want to go into that again in this thread.

It is more the nature of what we find funny or not and trends in humour I would like to explore.

I suppose to be honest and this is a generalisation and is really not intended to be a criticism of anyone. I don't really find it too funny when intelligent people pretend not to be intelligent, in order to be funny. I think the expression used is to 'dumb down'. I would rather that they used that intelligence to BE funny, rather than give the impression that their intelligence is something to hide.

I have gained the impression that this 'dumbing down' is a fairly recent phenomenon, mainly in the US and this impression is formed from movies such as 'Dumb And Dumber' and some of Jim Carey's efforts. I get the feeling too that The Simpson's probably started this trend, but that it's imitators have missed the point, that The Simpson's are wonderful (and intelligent) satire.

Of course I could be wrong?

17 Jul 99 - 06:08 PM (#96300)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Bill D

also, a lot of it is due to..IMHO...the open knowlege that catering to the lowest common denominater SELLS!..Some folk never outgrow their need for strained, contrived, smarmy humor..(and it is only slightly related to intelligence..I know several quite bright folk who tell the stupidist jokes!)..

would you all like to try an experiment? Here is a page which may just show you things about your sense of humor...The joke recommender (read carefully the point of the test)

17 Jul 99 - 06:11 PM (#96301)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Jeri

Shambles, it's not new. I don't know too much about the culture of humor in other countries, but in the U.S., the "dumb people are funny" idea has been around for as long as I'm aware. Many old TV shows (Gomer Pyle, for one) were based around characters who weren't bright but who managed to accidentally do brilliant things. There are a slew of "Jack" stories, the most commonly known one being "Jack and the Beanstalk" where Jack is so dumb, he trades a cow for some beans.

There's one thing we tend to forget when we all communicate in the same language - people from different cultures think different things are funny. The British - particularly the English (correct me if I'm wrong) love irony. A lot of people from the US don't get it. many of us do, but it's not as big a part of the common culture as it is in England. Perhaps dumb is funny here, but not in other cultures.

Good topic!

17 Jul 99 - 06:16 PM (#96302)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: bseed(charleskratz)

Pretending to be dumb? Are you capping on Catspaw (or Banjer, who fills in fer him from time to time)? Hell, they ain't purtendin'--ain't a licka sense 'tween the two of 'em [Editor's aside: ...and they're among the heavier intellects on the forum]. For those of us who like smart "dumb" humor there's no one quite like Ron Thomason of the Dry Branch Fire Squad, whom I've mentioned in several threads. If you don't know them, check out their album "Live at Last." From the lack of responses to my earlier posts here, I suspect there are a lot of people ignorant of this great group. And that's just plain dumb. --seed

17 Jul 99 - 06:49 PM (#96307)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Chet W.

The "dumb is funny" approach has been around forever. In this century it seems particularly that southern (US) comedians went this route and no other. Minnie Pearl, Stringbean Ackerman, on to the Hee Haw TV show. The most interesting were Homer and Jethro, who didn't start out to be comedians at all, but they found more of a market for that than for string jazz. They were also very good at it, but the subtleties of some of their stuff was, I think, lost on much of their audience.

The thing that bothers me is the effect that Southern-based sitcoms, starting with the Beverly Hillbillies and reaching a peak with the Dukes of Hazard, had on regular people in this part of the country. The Foxfire series of books from north Georgia were started by a public school teacher there who noticed that his students were taking the TV version of their own culture to heart, rather than learning about it from their family and neighbors. He sent them out to interview moonshiners, farmers, and all manner of local mountain folks so that they would get a real picture of their own culture. But, the phenomenon did not go away. A longtime mayor of my small hometown patterned himself exactly after a Dukes character (the mayor). He dressed like him, talked like him - it was damned embarrassing. Even members of my own family started saying things like "you is", "we'uns is goin to town", etc. I hate it but what can you do?

So, yes, particularly for us in this part of America who do not participate, this dumb character act that gets humorous attention is not very funny anymore; again, it's damned embarrassing. It becomes a theme in national media every time a big thing happens here (like when Carter, and then Clinton were elected president), there were pages in Time and Newsweek about "how to talk southern" and so forth. We are not all idiots here; indeed, if I may say, we have produced most of the American art forms that the rest of the world knows anything about. But the popular vote is clear, even in regional and local media: Most of us seem to like it when other people think we're stupid. Maybe one day this plague will end.

Chet W.

17 Jul 99 - 08:33 PM (#96323)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Helen

Hi all,

On Australian television, especially the commercial stations (rather than the 2 government run stations we have broadcasted nation-wide) there is an overwhelming load of American "comedies", which, now you mention it, do seem to be based on the "dumb is funny" idea. I tend to avoid these shows. But every now and then an intelligently funny American comedy show comes out and it is worth watching, e.g. Just Shoot Me, or lately I have discovered the cartoon called Daria (an offshoot character from Beavis & Butthead).

Generally, if it is billed as an American comedy or especially an American sit-com I find it not even worth looking at. But if it is British it tends to be worth checking out because their humour tends to be more subtle. Australian comedies are a mixed bag. Some good, some pretty silly, but the satirical stuff is up there with the best of the world's humour.

I didn't want to prolong the agony in the Aussies ban American bands thread (please, let's let sleeping dogs lie here, too) but there is a show on the government/nation-wide channel (ABC) called The Games which is written mostly by John Clark, and features him as one of the main characters. It is a satirical portrayal of the Olympic Games organising committee and the politics and the sheer stupidity of it all. It came out just after it was announced that Sydney would get the Games, and it is being re-run now. It's hard to believe in the Olympics process after watching that show, even if you were naive enough to believe in government-run bureaucratic organisations before that.

John Clark has the driest sense of humour of any comedian/satirist I have ever seen. He is clever and insightful, scathingly funny. I'd hate to be the butt of one of his tirades, not because he is nasty, but because he is so accurate - like looking into the clearest mirror in the world - no illusions/delusions, no secrets, just a clear picture of reality.

That's humour, for me. Not schoolboy jokes and airhead characters.

Just my AU$0.02c worth.


17 Jul 99 - 08:54 PM (#96329)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: thosp

lest we forget---- Gracie Allen -----

17 Jul 99 - 09:12 PM (#96337)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Fadac

After seeing how X files was dumbed down when production came to the US. Gracie wouldn't have had a chance. She was way too good. They would have to had, canned laughter, and an explainer on the bottom of the screen. It seems to me, in the UK, (Can't speak for Oz, never been there, sorry.) they have very good writing, good acting, and no money for props. In the US, it's is about the opisite (sp?)really good props, great special effects, and a plot written by a three year old computer, acted by mostly brainless robots. I believe the "adult" programing is set for about a 4th grade level. That's prime time, day time? 2nd? less?

That's why I generaly watch the "educational channels", local PBS, Discovery, etc.

Another 0.25 worth, (Inflation, still only worth .02)


17 Jul 99 - 10:12 PM (#96345)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: WyoWoman

Yeah, those "Absolutely Fabulous" babes from British TV are sure some intellectual heavyweights.


17 Jul 99 - 10:23 PM (#96348)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: bseed(charleskratz)

Helen, how subtle is "Are You Being Served?" or Benny Hill? Marty Feldman, strange and beautiful as he was, had a subtle humanity, though his comedy was broad. --seed

17 Jul 99 - 11:38 PM (#96353)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: gargoyle

Arn't you being Mighty Pretentious to be the representative of the the humor on the Mudcat.

Like Mr. Seed don't have clue....

Thankfully, the world is much bigger than you


18 Jul 99 - 12:13 AM (#96362)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Chet W.

Gargoyle, This consistent string of strident replies is not the real you, is it? It's gone so far now it's got to be a put-on, right? I'm the one who looks like a fool because it took me so long to figure it out, right? Seriously, now.


18 Jul 99 - 02:32 AM (#96379)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: bseed(charleskratz)

Garg, old buddy, the yellow type is awfully hard to read, but I managed, with the aid of a loupe. My answer is yeah, maybe, kinda like you are Mudcat's model of Christian love and tolerance. --seed

18 Jul 99 - 05:39 AM (#96407)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: The Shambles

I would like to point out in my defence, (for I assume the comment was directed at me) that the first part of the post I had forgotten to copy and that does make the comments from Gargoyle (or whoever), well founded, if still a little unhelpful to the thread and the general tone of The Mudcat.

18 Jul 99 - 06:15 AM (#96412)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Banjer

Mr. Seed, Thank you for coming to the aid of Catspaw and myself. You do say the kindest things and I thank you, and I'm sure my learned compadre, Mr. C'paw will do likewise.

Humor, like beauty, is in the eye or ear of the beholder. I enjoy a broad range of humor, and if I choose to have a laugh at my own expense, then that is my perogative. I enjoy several of the "Brit-coms" on the BBC in America channel. I am also familiar with the Dry Branch Fire Squad. Homer and Jethro had some of the better routines that I've heard. Let us not forget Abbot and Costello, particularly their "Who's On First" routine.

Humor, like religion, is a personal thing, I think. It provides for many an outlet from the daily pressures and burdens, and however an individual chooses to express or receive it should be left up to him.

Mr. Shambles, I respect your opinions, and those of others on this thread and I hope that this epistle will in some way help explain my position on this subject.

To sum it all up, or put it in a nutshell, as it were, I'll at whatever I think is FUNNY!!

18 Jul 99 - 06:18 AM (#96413)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Banjer

That last should read, "I'll LAUGH at whatever I think is funny!! But thin ya'll is used ta us less than normals, ain'tcha?

18 Jul 99 - 09:56 AM (#96436)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Rick Fielding

Chet, I figured out that Mr. G. was puttin' us on long ago. Sure wish I could handle the old "HTML" stuff like him though.

18 Jul 99 - 11:35 AM (#96454)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Indy Lass

I've always liked behavioral humor. And I'm finding the Mudcat a good source of it at present. ;-)

18 Jul 99 - 12:06 PM (#96463)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Margo

I've wondered from time to time if anyone here thinks I have a sense of humor. I like dry humor and subtlties. I do like the "Britcoms". Hey, get this you guys. When I was a kid, I saw the Beverly Hilbillies come on TV and I was actually embarrassed by it.

I like the old black and white movies with, say, Cary Grant. There would be a comedic scene with no dialogue, no music, and you could hear the "shush" of the soundtrack. The humor was in subtle changes of expression on someone's face.

But I have laughed at the Marx brothers, Abbott and Costello, and Laurel and Hardy, so subtle isn't always what tickles me. Heck, I think 'Spaw is a crack up!


18 Jul 99 - 01:03 PM (#96473)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: catspaw49

No, actually I'm cracking up and you are enjoying the scenery going past as I approach complete lunacy....."Look up ahead.......that signpost on the right.......Lunacy.........He's just crossed over into..........."

I would echo Banj's comments here, but the echoing resonance from inside his head makes for too much repetition as it is. I asked him if the reverb bothered him and he said he could repeatedly conjugate anything and he had the police record to prove it. I dunno'...........

Look people, I love you all but I don't know how to stop a lifelong romance with total irreverence. I do honestly try to stay away from new members so they can at least get a whiff of me elsewhere and are able to discern whether or not I'm suitable reading. Everyone has that option......including me. I don't think you'll find any cruelty in my humor, but again that too is in the ear of the beholder. And Chet, I hope you don't believe that Cletus and friends are a parody of southerners. They are in fact composites of very real people who are basically fine folks, but have missed out and fallen through the cracks. America may offer great opportunity, but we also are able to give the back of our hand with equal capacity.

........and thank you too 'seed, for your kind comments. You are, of course, quite wrong about both of us, but thanks anyway.


18 Jul 99 - 02:27 PM (#96495)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Art Thieme

Yep, if ya don't have a sense of humor, IT ISN'T FUNNY.


18 Jul 99 - 02:33 PM (#96498)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Banjer

I think our learned friend Art Condom Thieme hit the nail square on the head, if you don't have a sense of humor, it isn't funny. Very concise observation. Thanks Art!!!!

18 Jul 99 - 03:01 PM (#96512)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: MAG (inactive)

well, Gargoyle appears to have just cost us Martin Ryan and I, for one, don't think that's funny.

Mary Ann Gilpatrick

18 Jul 99 - 03:17 PM (#96520)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: WyoWoman

Not to seem insensitive, but, Martin Ryan -- whom I don't know and haven't anything at all against -- had precisely the same option *I* had when I read the Republican thread, or the "Town of Possum" thread, or numerous other threads. I clicked in, saw what was being said and said to myself, "This doesn't interest me," or "That seems really stupid," or "don't have time to get into this," and click out. This isn't even like being at a cocktail party and getting cornered by some boor you can't stand hearing. Here, walking away is even easier. Click. Out.


18 Jul 99 - 03:25 PM (#96521)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: MAG (inactive)

I agree it is a good idea to click out of threads which you quit enjoying; what happenes to me is that I check a thread because the thread creep itself is genuinely interesting. Lately there has just been overkill, and I am afraid I agree with Shambles, for once, that I tend to ignore Gargoyle.

That's life, Gargoyle.


18 Jul 99 - 04:46 PM (#96531)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Jack (who is called Jack)

I like to think of myself like the corny humorless radio producer who was taken off the air after deciding to put himself in place the Robin Williams/Adrian Cronauer character in Good Morning Viet Nam. He went to his C.O. and said.

Sir, In my heart I know I'm funny.

18 Jul 99 - 04:53 PM (#96535)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Philippa

I scanned this very quickly - opened it thinking it would comment on the recent political threads! How about the Arkansas Traveller song for comic playing dumb?

18 Jul 99 - 05:34 PM (#96546)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: The Shambles


You we right, it should have done just that and was intended as an antidote to those threads, but as I mentined earlier, I left out the beginning of the post.

It did change the original concept somewhat.

Please feel free to comment here on the political threads, or start another..Sorry.

19 Jul 99 - 02:23 AM (#96749)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Rick Fielding

OK, I'll comment on the political threads, since by now everyone knows my sense of humour could easily be called "Catspaw-lite", and there's no point belabouring that with more examples of obscure (in Canada) British comedians that I find hilarious.

Folks, we know (approximately) how many of us are hooked in various degrees on Mudcat. Don't you think it's a bit silly to get THIS upset because of three or four people with horrendously bad social skills, who are NOT regulars, and one self-designated shit disturber, who is perfectly nice for 4 to 5 weeks and then decides they'll shake things up, and watch with glee, while we trip all over ourselves with various censorship plans? If you don't believe me, check back in the forum and see how regular this is.
The situation in Ireland right now is a raw nerve (far more so (I Think) than even Quebec separation in Canada, and guns and abortion in the States, and naturally tempers flare. Without those occasional posters who WANT chaos though, the discussions would be heated but still civil. The rest of us KNOW that from previous threads. Anonymously re-freshing Cruel-Sister threads may be one way to deal with it - but God,I wish people didn't feel the need to be anonymous here. It's a very few semi-Mudcatters that are doing this, we really DO outnumber them a hundred to one. Why don't we try just laughing at them. Now THAT would be funny!

19 Jul 99 - 03:01 AM (#96754)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Night Owl

Hooray Rick! One problem with laughing at those posts is that first you would have to read them. I have learned to "see it coming" as you said, and purposefully avoid reading specific content in some postings for a while. I think eventually, usually, after venting and lashing out, some incredible honest, sincere articulate writing takes place here....for most.
Turning the page back to "Our sense of humour" does anyone remember the skit that Pat Paulson did on the Smother's Brothers Comedy Hour in which he critically lectured about the American sense of humor being to laugh at other people's pain?? During the lecture he: slammed his hand in the desk drawer; got his foot stuck in the wastebasket and fell; hit his head on the desk...etc. Its still, in my fading memory, the funniest skit I've ever seen.

19 Jul 99 - 11:10 AM (#96848)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Rick Fielding

Looking at what I wrote in the warm light of morning, I think "laugh" is the wrong word. I'm not sure what the "right" one is.

19 Jul 99 - 11:22 AM (#96853)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: katlaughing

Maybe the right image would be as in Tai Chi: rather than brace and meet with force, step aside and watch the attacker smack into the brick wall, instead of you!

19 Jul 99 - 11:35 AM (#96862)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: Steve Parkes

I generally find it's a good guide that if I laugh at it, it's funny, and if I don't, it's not.

I think there's a big distinction between a comic who laughs at his (her) own predicament, and one who laughs at another's. (You should see mine!) Abbott & Costello I find emabrassing and distressing, while Benny Hill is (usually) funny.

That's enough philosophy! Did you read Ike Asimov's story about the researcher who spent all his time telling jokes to his computer? I'll let somebody else give the ending away - just to provoke a bit more discussion.


19 Jul 99 - 11:54 AM (#96874)
Subject: RE: Our sense of humour? B/S
From: catspaw49

Whatever the word is, and Kat may be right, you are totally correct Rick......We often share more than our sense of humor...I'm with you.

Awhile ago I got a message from another of our good friends here, asking me about Gargoyle and I said I envisioned him/her/it as the old crotchety hermit type who lived outside the village and just comes into town occasionally to chew on everyone's ass and then his fix. Why do we seem to find it so difficult to ignore? If you took a survey around here, there isn't a one of us who can stand the "Navel Contemplation" type of song and yet.....WE ARE THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF NAVEL CONTEMPLATERS EVER ASSEMBLED IN ONE PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For me to take someone's opinion seriously, I have to have respect for them. They have to be someone important to me, otherwise why bother? I think I've got some understanding of Ol'Gargoyle as I do the sams thing myself. I make some "over the top" crack just to watch the reaction. No reaction is very disappointing!!! I think that everyone has a handle on me around this place and nowadays I don't even bother. Even Joe, who may never understand my sense of humor, knows to take me with a grain of salt. We don't know Gargoyle as well, so we can't figure him out. Hence we indulge in navel inspection and our drawers are all in a bunch over ONE person!!! Like you Rick, I think he's enjoying all this back at his cave in the woods and we'll here from him again when he needs another fix.

I try to teach all my kids the importance of knowing themselves and respecting the advice and opinions of only those who merit respect. With Gargoyle, we might all just ignore it, or laugh at it, but if you gotta' respond suggest he "have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up."

So whaddaya' think about having the lifesize possum tattooed on my Willie?......then I'll refer to it as Pogo.