When I was in my second year of university, I wrote a lot of comedy. One of my teachers criticised this, claiming that comedy can’t be serious. It can’t have a hidden message. He didn’t like that I challenged this idea.
I would never try and defend some forms of comedy. There’s always going to be those that are there purely for a laugh, but the really great comedy is the stuff that has meaning. That’s the stuff that lasts, and it’s the stuff that makes us listen. It makes us think. It makes things easier to process and to digest. Why else would comedians get away with saying what they did? Why else would they make jokes out of politics or war?
I dare you to try and write a joke. Go on, I’ll wait. Is it funny? Or is it just funny to you? Making people laugh is one of the hardest things to do. You either have natural talent for comedy, or you don’t. It’s not something that you can learn, and even those people with a natural aptitude for comedy don’t write amazing jokes all the time. I’ve done stand up and had it gone down fabulously, but I’ve also had it go down like a lead balloon. Comedy is very hit and miss, but then, so is most writing. The difference between comedy and most other genres is that comedy can do two things at once – it can make you think, but it can also make you laugh, sometimes even cry (with laughter, hopefully). The ability to do something like that requires a greater understanding of how the people around you think, because whilst most writing is selfish, we write comedy for other people, because it’s those other people that will class is as a comedy, and if they don’t find it funny…well then you’re pretty fucked, aren’t you?
So tell me, how can something that makes things easier for people to understand whilst also making them laugh not be serious? How can it not be taken seriously? And how can Bridesmaids keep losing out?
Yes, I am bitter.
Give it some credit, folks. It deserves it.