I can't watch my favorite thing anymore
The value of the comedy special... has diminished to me in recent years :( that's what the post is about btw, comedy specials, my favorite thing, I can't watch them anymore. Or it's at least rare. And I don't think anyone's to blame really. Viewers like me have made them a high premium, all the streaming sites have delivered, and successful comics are doing what they've always done: talking about what's on their minds. The sad part is that everyone's thinking about the same shit.
It's 2023. I'm on Twitter too. I know what's happening as it's happening, and another 65 bad things happen everyday. And we all know what the big ones are. Genocide in the Middle East, Ukraine is still a war zone, homelessness and civil rights in the U.S., and I don't wanna hear another joke about any of it. Not even because any of the fodder should be off-limits, it's just not original. Even if the joke is new, I've had all these same thoughts before. The comedic echo chamber doesn't have a filter for trans jokes because every fucking comic on netflix has a ten minute set about trans people, and I'm profoundly bored hearing about the most important events of my time.
I don't even know what the remedy is either. Stronger jokes? Find a news article that wasn't the #1 result on Twitter? Maybe just find a way to talk about your day that isn't hacky or obvious? Tell an actual funny joke? This is the saddest example of a self-aggrandizing comedy-hipster opinion, but the question is worth asking. Why are hour specials so painfully unfunny now? My only guess is that anybody successful enough to catch an HBO deal is so saturated in a life of general ease and wantlessness that all their takes are unrelatable and their audiences are so conditioned to laugh at every cue that an A-list comedian doesn't have to try that hard.
It's just a bummer for anybody who's more than a casual consumer of the medium. I've watched or rewatched probably 60 specials a year for the last 5 years and before that I'd go through a season's-worth of Comedy Central Presents episodes on a weekly basis. Let's not go without mention an obvious cause of the problem: overconsumption. Nobody's destined to enjoy the same thing at that rate without total burnout or being diagnosed with a condition. But I just wouldn't have expected to go without cracking a smile at nearly every special released in 2022. But bit by boring bit about cancel culture, and the pandemic, and kanye (lowercase k, yeah we mean business), and allllllll the fuckinggggggg trans jokes. Why is every new bit so obvious?!
Bill Burr, Trevor Noah, Taylor Tomlinson, Nick Kroll, Chappelle's special that wasn't quite a special, a bunch of showcases on netflix that we all would have been just fine without. The c*ncellation trend might be the only thing to save us from these comics bc most of them would be completely fine to de-platform by 2023, simply for the sake of saving us from boredom. Relieve us from the bad takes cast upon us by the industry giants that are ruining the industry.
Though the problem has helped me to rediscover one beacon of light that still shines through the haze of professionally released sludge in this field: The live comedy show. The disappointment I feel watching my favorite thing at home has only accentuated my genuine surprise when I watch a solid set at an open mic. I haven't been yet let down by the shows that aren't even necessarily meant to be impressive. Seeing a half-baked set with five or six really funny moments out in the wild- the unsupervised, unapproved depths of the Chicago comedy scene completely save me from the glum hour or two I would have spent watching a boring, carefully coordinated and cultivated, televised set by legends that I used to idolize. My new idols stand right before me. I recommend others look for theirs closer to home too.