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#1
Old 10-08-2001, 05:58 AM
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As a recent episode of Too Much Coffee Man pointed out, there are lots of things that used to be staples of comedy, but which are totally unfunny today. A few examples:
  • Domestic violence. Men getting beat up by oversized wives with rolling pins used to be funny ("Andy Cap" is one example).
  • Alcoholism. The mere act of being drunk used to be funny, especially if you got hiccups(HIC!) or walked into street lamps.
  • Sexual harassment at the workplace - aging CEO:s chasing unwilling secretaries around the office used to be a recipe for hilarity.
  • Hillbillies used to be pictured as funny, stupid types("Li'l Abner") but at some point they started to be shown as being menacing/stupid instead ("Deliverance").
Can you think of any others?
#2
Old 10-08-2001, 06:06 AM
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I assume you mean things that are now too un-PC for public airing. Of course, you'll find that privately, many people still find these things funny.

Anyway, this would obviously include all sorts of racial humor (blackface, etc.)
#3
Old 10-08-2001, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
I assume you mean things that are now too un-PC for public airing.
Not just that. These things are un-PC, true enough, but the point is, many of them are also simply not funny anymore (take a look at some 1950s cartoons or sitcoms to see what I mean). It seems to me that mainstream humor today is much more sophisticated than it used to be (compare "Seinfeld" to "I love Lucy"), and, PC or not, a lot of situations are no longer funny in and of themselves.

I agree that a lot of people still find racial stereotypes funny, at least privately, and that this will probably never change.
#4
Old 10-08-2001, 08:22 AM
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[QUOTE]
Not just that. These things are un-PC, true enough, but the point is, many of them are also simply not funny anymore (take a look at some 1950s cartoons or sitcoms to see what I mean).

"Not funny anymore" is obviously a matter of taste. Or is there some sort of objective criteria for being funny? I find Woody Allen movies and "Will and Grace" to be "simply not funny"; millions of people would beg to differ.

It seems to me that mainstream humor today is much more sophisticated than it used to be (compare "Seinfeld" to "I love Lucy"), and, PC or not, a lot of situations are no longer funny in and of themselves.

Who says Seinfeld is more sophisticated than I Love Lucy? I enjoy Seinfeld (one of my top 3 favorite shows of all time) way more than I enjoy I Love Lucy, but I wouldn't say that "sophistication" is the reason why. Nose-picking, masturbation, and body odor are not what I call sophisticated plot devices; in fact, I think that's why many people liked Seinfeld. It didn't try to be sophisticated at all.


For the record, I find Andy Capp hilarious, despite his un-PC behavior of boozing. I find Ralph Kramden hilarious despite his threatening to send Alice "to the moon," which some feel smacks of domestic violence.

I realize that this is a poll asking people what they think isn't funny anymore, and that's fine. I just don't think it's possible to objectively say that such-and-such "just isn't funny anymore" since it all depends on taste.
#5
Old 10-08-2001, 11:03 AM
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SNL still does a good job of making things funny. IMHO, they did an excellent job with a skit in which an office staff member showed up at a meeting wearing a half T-shirt with "USA" on it and male thong underwear made of American flag material. He dressed this way after an office memo encouraged staff to be more "patriotic." It was a hilarious skit.
#6
Old 10-08-2001, 11:35 AM
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I used to laugh at the "I'd travel 10,000 miles to smoke a camel" t-shirt my marine friend wore after desert storm.

It's not funny so much anymore. To me anyway.

I heard about a convention in the early 1980s where the speaker warmed up the audience with an AIDS joke. That's back when it was a weird, rare "Gay" disease. Within two years that wasn't funny.

School shooting jokes aren't so funny to me, either.
#7
Old 10-08-2001, 11:44 AM
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Panhandlers, bums, Jack Hell/Freddie the Freeloader type humor isn't so funny as it used to be.

Jokes about infidelity are pretty out of style, too.
#8
Old 10-08-2001, 11:45 AM
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da hell? Try Jack Kelly. Yikes.

Ya know, I think the real reason they don't let us post more often than once a minute is so there's a better chance that somebody will spot the goofy error in the intervening minute and post some sort of snide, sarcastic remark, thus inspiring people to preview.

That ought to fill up a minute... let's see...
#9
Old 10-08-2001, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by nineiron
I just don't think it's possible to objectively say that such-and-such "just isn't funny anymore" since it all depends on taste.
This forum is called "In My Humble Opinion." The OP didn't ask for objectivity. Any discussion of what is or isn't funny is always going to be subjective.

I think that clumsiness stopped being funny many years ago. When John Ritter stumbled all over the set of "Three's Company," the joke was already old.

Observations about the nonsensical nature of the English language aren't funny anymore. Yeah, yeah, you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway. We all get it.
#10
Old 10-08-2001, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spoonbender
I think that clumsiness stopped being funny many years ago. When John Ritter stumbled all over the set of "Three's Company," the joke was already old.
As of a couple of years ago, anyway, we all thought Kramer's clumsiness was still pretty funny. It all depends on how it's done. John Ritter would be unfunny doing pretty much anything, if you ask me.

I actually think anything can be funny if it's done in an original way that opens some new angle or presents something old in a new way.

Oh, I suppose Amos-n-Andy style racism couldn't be made palatable anymore, but if you gave them Indian accents and made them convenience store clerks, I'll bet a lot of people would laugh without thinking it was racist...
#11
Old 10-08-2001, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elvis
Quote:
Originally posted by Spoonbender
I think that clumsiness stopped being funny many years ago. When John Ritter stumbled all over the set of "Three's Company," the joke was already old.
As of a couple of years ago, anyway, we all thought Kramer's clumsiness was still pretty funny. It all depends on how it's done. John Ritter would be unfunny doing pretty much anything, if you ask me.
I'd also argue that Chris Farley's very physical comedy and clumsiness was hilarious.

I'm only 21, but I can't imagine an AIDS joke ever being funny.

Something that is no longer funny, a la Jon Stewart: Subliminable
#12
Old 10-08-2001, 01:49 PM
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Two Words: Night Court.

That show used to make me laugh and I have such fond memmories of it. So I tell my girlfriend (who hasn't seen it) that she has to watch it, because some reruns are on.

After two episodes I found myself apologizing profusely. That show did NOT age well.

Oh well, I can still laugh at TAXI reruns.
#13
Old 10-08-2001, 01:58 PM
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Here's a sure-to-be unpopular answer: Seinfeld. I used to love that show. Now it makes me cringe.
#14
Old 10-08-2001, 02:09 PM
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Things that used to be funny, but just aren't funny anymore

All Your Base Are Belong To Us.



Seriously, racial humour and stereotypes have lost much of their fun - I'm thinking of black people, as portrayed in Gone With The Wind... kinda slow, kinda dumb... that's just not funny and not acceptable.
#15
Old 10-08-2001, 02:28 PM
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The movie Red Dawn

golf

fast food service in the town that I live

cat meat stir fry

my job

Charlie Brown

Night Court was never funny, just a product of low paid writers

the Jackson Five

While I'm at it: Mr Brady

Peace...man

sugar wafers

Dan Rather
#16
Old 10-08-2001, 02:37 PM
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before someone jumps down my throat for
the Mr Brady one. IT WAS NOT ABOUT HIS dying of aids.

as you were
#17
Old 10-08-2001, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anticay
The movie Red Dawn

golf

fast food service in the town that I live

cat meat stir fry

my job

Charlie Brown

Night Court was never funny, just a product of low paid writers

the Jackson Five

While I'm at it: Mr Brady

Peace...man

sugar wafers

Dan Rather

Sugar wafers and the Jackson Five used to be FUNNY???
#18
Old 10-08-2001, 02:58 PM
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How about game show contestants humiliating themselves on TV? Back in the glorious days of black and white, shows like Beat the Clock and Truth or Consequences would feature water balloons, pie fights, etc. accompanied by gales of laughter from the studio audience. Now, of course, you can put dramatic music behind it and call it "reality TV" but nobody laughs.
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#19
Old 10-08-2001, 03:26 PM
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Airport/airplane jokes? ("What's the deal with airplane food?" and the like)
#20
Old 10-08-2001, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Violet
SNL still does a good job of making things funny. IMHO, they did an excellent job with a skit in which an office staff member showed up at a meeting wearing a half T-shirt with "USA" on it and male thong underwear made of American flag material. He dressed this way after an office memo encouraged staff to be more "patriotic." It was a hilarious skit.
IMO, it was just a gratuitous excuse to show how nasty Will Ferrell's butt really is. I mean, we all had our ideas, but this really took the guesswork out of it. Thanks a lot, SNL.
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#21
Old 10-08-2001, 04:14 PM
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I remember watching a lot of Looney Tunes growing up, and I recall a lot of the episodes ending with a character putting a gun to their head and shooting themselves. Now that's something you definitely don't see anymore - cartoons full of zany suicide. They've even gone so far as to edit the endings of the reruns. Anyone else remember this?
#22
Old 10-08-2001, 05:13 PM
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I've seen a number of cartoons where they've edited out the violence to make them more "P.C." The truth is that when you take the violence out of a roadrunner cartoon, it's just a bunch of shots of a really fast bird...
#23
Old 10-08-2001, 07:57 PM
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Racial humor is still funny, and it's still out there.

Remember "Rush Hour 2?" With Chris Tucker screaming about how he's being discriminated at the craps table, to distract security while Jackie Chan sneaks into the casino? How about when he breaks into the "I have a dream" speech? Isn't that racial humor?

Then there's Eddie Murphy telling the bar in "48 Hours" that "I'm your worse nightmare: a nigger with a badge." And Richard Pryor teaching Gene Wilder how to act black (complete with blackface, rainbow hat and ghetto blaster) in "Silver Streak." Jeeze, most of "Blazing Saddles" is nothing but race humor.

Granted, the more vicious stuff's gone, thank God, and I'm sure that's what y'all are talking about. No more Amos 'n' Andy or Stephin Fetchit. And so long as the two characters are portrayed as equal, they can trade all the racial barbs they want. But race humor plays a big part of movie humor.
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#24
Old 10-08-2001, 08:58 PM
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Real quick hijack. I just wanted to present a comic by one of the funniest cartoonists ever, Sam Henderson.

The Always Funny Drinking Game!

Well, that's over.

I agree with the AIDS jokes. I was watching an old Sam Kinison tape which was very, very funny. However, near the end of the tape he gets into an anti-homosexual rant about AIDS. The humor thudded to a complete stop. He was just wrong in almost every way. Not just in his anti-homosexual bias, but in the very facts of AIDS and its spread. I think Sam Kinison was a very funny man, but these bits of his simply will not make you laugh. Laughing at ignorance is funny, ignorance itself rarely is.

Has anybody seen any funny impressionists lately? I sure haven't.
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#25
Old 10-17-2001, 09:05 AM
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Laugh-In was the "Seinfeld" of its day (everyone at work talked about it the next day).

With a couple of minor exceptions (Martin's idiocy), it's painful to watch.
#26
Old 10-17-2001, 10:08 AM
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I comedy about the differences between men and women painful to watch. (Sadly, for some reason, this comprises the entirety of many female stand-ups' acts.) The old "Ya just can't understand women/men are so clueless" thing is so hackneyed and cliched it just can't make me laugh anymore. Every joke's been done to death.

Sitcoms are the same thing but in script format. Eery sitcom focusing on the "battle of the sexes" is the same, every character identical. The guys are well-meaning but clueless, self-centred oafs who have no social graces; the women are socially aware but bitter, panicky martinets. Invariably, the women gets the man to see the importance of being aware of the existence of other human beings, while the man gets the woman to see beyond nitpicky details to the Big Picture.

Yawwwwwwwn.
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#27
Old 10-17-2001, 10:31 AM
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A lot of physical humor doesn't age well. I find it interesting to look at the Marx Brothers - with the exception of a few absolutely brilliant bits (the Stateroom Scene, the Mirror Scene), much of the pratfall stuff is just irritating. Most of the time, you could safely lose Chico and Harpo (I just accidently wrote Charco, who I suppose was their long-lost black cousin - oh, what was that about racial humor again? I'm going to get so flamed for that. As it were.)

Where was I?

Oh, Chico and Harpo. Yeah, you could digitally edit them out without missing much.

Or Looney Tunes. About half of the reason the 50s were such a high point was the quality of the writing. Previously the humour was very broad, physical comedy, but somewhere around 1948 everything suddenly jumped a level. [Alistair Cooke]The wordplay of the Duck-Rabbit-Duck series will, I'm sure, remain classic for generations.[/Alistair Cooke].
#28
Old 10-17-2001, 11:32 AM
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I don't know if this qualifies as "not funny anymore," since even when I was a little kid I didn't get what was supposed to be funny about it.

In some comedies (I remember it specifically being done on Not Necessarily the News, The Gods Must Be Crazy, and perhaps also Laugh In), they would run a film of something forward, then run it backward for a second, then run it forward again. A film of someone walking would have him suddenly back up a step, then walk forward again, perhaps to make it look like he was doing a double-take. I could gather from the laugh track that this was supposed to be funny, but it never seemed like anything but a particularly stupid and unoriginal camera trick.

Seriously, was this ever considered a brilliantly witty form of comic expression?
#29
Old 10-17-2001, 11:45 AM
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[Hijack]
Quote:
Oh, Chico and Harpo. Yeah, you could digitally edit them out without missing much.
I beg to differ. Try doing the Tutsi Frutsi routine from "A day at the Races" or how about "Why a Duck"?

Harpo also had some funny moments too, especially the bit with the peanut stand in "Duck Soup"
[/Hijack]

Back to the OP:

Those seventies movies where merely swearing was thought to garner laughs. (See Kentucky fried Movie) They dropped any real humour or clever dialogue. Instead they thought that if a character said sh*t or f*ck that was enough to get a laugh.
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