Thursday, July 1, 2010

Frighteningly Funny


Laugh-out loud comedy is wonderful. I’ve often said there are three undeniably funny concepts: monkeys, fat babies and people falling down. These are cross-cultural, universally accepted gags that require no context or language skills. You see the fat baby, hopefully eating something, and you laugh out loud, with gusto even. Watch a person slip and fall on a game show. It starts in your gut and explodes up your windpipe, hopefully pushing a liquid.

Then there is the laughter that stays in your head. This tends to be sparked by clever witticisms and delicious puns. Unlike the universally appreciated fat, baby monkey, this silent laughter usually requires a lot of context and shared culture. The Daily Show’s rifts on politicians probably aren’t as funny to the Germans as they are to us.

John Oliver’s Terrifying Times gives the best of both worlds. While the notion of an inflatable barbeque requires a context of consumerism to really appreciate, a three-balled president is universally hysterical. Plus, we all know how bloody alluring the English accent can be.

As proof of the universality, here’s the whole thing on a Japanese website. 42 minutes well spent.

No comments:

Post a Comment