Don’t Make Me Laugh (Or Why I Avoid Comedies)

comedy_tragedy-753761.jpgOver the past few years, I’ve come to the realisation that I kinda hate comedy as a genre. This is surprisingly easy to live with for someone who goes to the cinema as often as I do. “Do you want to go and see the latest Adam Sandler movie?” “No.” “Do you want to come and see some depressing Art House movie about child slavery” “Yes.”

Part of the reason for said realisation is my relatively recent love for going to the cinema on my own and watching whatever I like. Those of you who haven’t tried it should. It’s like watching a DVD at home on your own. Only surrounded by strangers. And not at home.

You’ll feel like a loser the first time you do it, but soon you’ll realise the benefits of not having discussions/arguments about which movie to see and inevitably settling for the safe comedy genre: because everyone likes comedy right? No. No ‘everyone’ doesn’t.

It’s not that I actively hate the experience of watching a comedy. You won’t see an active scowl on my face during the experience. Heck, I may even guffaw or chortle a few times. It’s just that for me comedy is much like Fast Food: enjoyable at the time, but something that leaves you with a horrible empty feeling by the time you’ve finished.

I think another reason, is that unlike so many other genres: action, horror, musicals or science-fiction, I can get the same experience of enjoyment and entertainment a comedy might give me by hanging out with my friends — with the added bonus of perhaps forming/cementing relationships at the same time.

It’s not like I don’t like any films of that genre. Annie Hall, The Princess Bride and Amelie are among my favourite films. It’s just that in those cases there’s something much more than humour that engages with me the story and characters on film.

So it’s not the funny in films specifically that bothers me, it’s more the idea that someone has made a film with the sole intention of making me laugh. A film with such limited scope has limited appeal.

Is it just me? Am I the only who avoids going to films I know will be so one dimensional? Maybe, you dear reader, are just like me, but didn’t want to be considered some sort of miserable, party-pooping, loser who lacks the ‘gsoh’ that every personals ad ever requires you have to have to be a functioning human being. A scrooge, the type of person who has the triple threat of Morrissey, Radiohead and Jeff Buckley on repeated shuffle every hour of every day. A dour, despondent, drab, dullard who saps the life out of every room they enter. In short: Gordon Brown.

Anyway if you fit the description, I implore you to ‘come out’ and stand up for more films about child slavery and stuff. Should comedies really be the default option for group trips to the cinema or DVD nights? Or should we try and challenge one another with a more thoughtful and meaningful affair? Especially at the possible expense of coming out feeling like we’d been punched repeatedly in the face, unable to fully digest at that point the full impact of what we’ve seen. Unlike a comedy, that experience leaves me with a warm, fuzzy, and above-all happy feeling inside.

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5 responses to “Don’t Make Me Laugh (Or Why I Avoid Comedies)

  1. I agree.

    I also think that film-makers are aware of the group mentality of “we can’t decide, so let’s just settle for a comedy”. They know that people will settle for it, so just churn out rubbish.

    It’s probably no coincidence that some of the worst films I have seen are supposed to have been “comedies”.

  2. I disagree.

    I think this would be a good podcast topic so I’m reluctant to voice too much of an opinion right now!

  3. Totally agree, but I think, hope, you knew this already. I think you capture it in,

    “So it’s not the funny in films specifically that bothers me, it’s more the idea that someone has made a film with the sole intention of making me laugh. A film with such limited scope has limited appeal.”

    I’ve tried explaining this to people before but can never quite work out how to say it. I like watching a film that means something. I’m not saying ’17 Again’ doesn’t have it’s place on a dull Sunday afternoon, but I’m definietely not going to pay to see it, and it’s never going to be my film of choice.

  4. Good post Mark. I kinda agree with you, I will watch comedies but generally on DVD rather than in the cinema and none of my favourite films I can think of are comedies and none of my favourite comedies I’ve seen in the cinema.

  5. The reason I never o see comedy at the fringe, I don’t get the whole something made to make me laugh.

    However how do you explain Monty Python?

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