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April 30, 2006


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The New York City Math Teacher

I am playing it right now, and you can hear the jaw joints popping in the aghast silence. Holy bajoly.


Since I have a more than amateur interest in both humor and wingnut studies, I've been following the reaction to Colbert's skit with interest.

Of course, the professional hypocrites are squealing like Ned Beatty. (That's what they're for. Louder! Louder!)

But I am a little surprised -- just a bit -- at the near-complete press reaction of "rock back and forth if I pretend he's not there the bad man will go away nananana."

I wonder, was it the line about contempt? or the one about writing the novel? I will have to buy some drinks and find out.

Bernard Guerrero

I dunno, man. I don't mind politicians getting roasted at all, particularly not ones I voted for. Colbert, OTOH, varies a great deal as to quality. We turned him off last night after a couple of minutes. Very hit-or-miss as far as funny.

Now, Deliverance references are always funny. :^)


I really like the Michael O'Donoghue's quip, "Making people laugh is the lowest form of comedy."

But I agree, the show can sometimes be off-note. (I hope that everyone here realizes the Stephen Colbert persona is a group project.) It's an interesting, rather difficult comedic problem they've set up, and it might not be sustainable in the long run.

One thing I've learned, watching the edges of that world, is that the process of comedy has a lot in common with engineering.

Bernard Guerrero

the process of comedy has a lot in common with engineering.

Begs the question, do comics & comedic writers get Brain Eaten[FN1]? Might this account for the later seasons of Laverne & Shirley, not to mention the vehicles the Seinfeld crew tried to set up afterwards?

[FN1] I think I've found an academic description of said same in Tetlock's Expert Political Judgment


Bernard, some of them are born Brain Eaten.

But the things you describe are Brain Eaten at a different level. The Seinfeld cast member spin-offs, that's a programming decision. I suspect the same thing happened to the later years of Laverne and Shirley -- let's move them to California! -- although I seem to recall the actress who played Shirley had personal difficulties.

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