Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Make Me Laugh

Word on the street is that I'm a sourpuss.

Recently, a friend of mine sent me this article, and encouraged me to add the interviewer to the "the list."

For the ignorant, "the list" is the mythical list of racists and bigots black people walk around with in their heads. Well, at least this black person.

Anyway, after I checked out the interview I decided I shared her sentiments. I then passed along the interview to another friend of mine.

Now, this guy and I often disagree on stuff, so when I pass stuff to him it's mainly because I want a different perspective to shake myself up. I like to force myself to defend and consider all my positions so that I can be comfortable explaining why I believe what I believe. I think I told y'all about this compulsion before.

Anyway, this friend tells me that I'm be too sensitive about the article, and I've missed the point. Mainly, the interview is for laughs, and there is nothing sinister about it. He chided me for looking for a reason to be offended.

This ain't a new thing. Those of y'all who have been following the blog for a while know I've discussed sensitivity and humor.

My friend's comments made me think. Have I lost my funny bone? Has my newfound pledge to treat folks the way I want them to treat me, or more importantly, the way they would like to be treated, turned me into a simp? A boring, bland mush of unfunny?

I don't think so.

I like humor, and I can laugh at stuff that's risque. I think Dave Chappelle was a freaking genius.

That said, I'm tired of this new breed of comedy that focuses on demeaning folks for laughs. I'm tired of snarky blogs that poke fun at any and everything and turn away complaints by hiding behind the stock response of "Lighten up." Yes, being intelligent is nice, but why do so many folks need to reaffirm their intelligence by taunting others? Why is that funny?

I wrote a while back about the lack of ass whippings in the world. I stand by that sentiment. While I don't like using violence to solve problems, I cannot deny the fact that violence can be a great deterrent. When I was growing up children talked about each other all the time, but there was always the understanding that things could get physical if you crossed the wrong line.

For some cats that was a momma joke, for other cats it was something else. No matter what, everybody understood that unless we were bosom buddies, you had better be careful with your mouth if you weren't ready to fight.

This interview reminded me that without checks and balances things get out of hand. In my opinion, the interviewer was lazy, and relied on stereotypes and snark instead of actually working for real laughs.

It wasn't funny at all.



guttaperk said...

I'm with you 100%.

Deacon Blue said...

There were a couple decent riffs, but overall, it just seemed like the writer was hoping to make Warren G look like a moron, or hoping to make himself look really quick-on-the-draw witty, or sometimes both.

There were several times in the past that I did some Q&A style interviews for a pair of relationship/dating oriented books, and I was told to keep things as irreverent as I could and try to inject some humor while also generate real information and useful tips. My own personal rule was that if I was going to aim for a joke or try to push the interviewee into making a joke him/herself, it should be something generally oriented and not something specific to that person. Too much of this seemed like traps set for Warren G.

I'm not blindingly offended by the article, but if the writer had spent more time trying to elicit some useful comments (funny or otherwise) about the state and direction of hip-hop rather than showing off his wit, we'd have had a much better article.

Big Man said...


I felt like not only did the author try to "trap" Warren G, he also set himself up as some sort of hip hop expert while showing a lack of understanding about basic hip hop facts.

The author was trying to push a meme about hip hop, but he didn't even bother to do his research. For example, anybody who his a "hip hop head" should know what the song "Gimmme Tha Loot" is about. It's the first track on Biggie Smalls most celebrated CD. Anybody with common sense who listened to that song would know it wasn't about celebrating the bling lifestyle, but rather about robbing and stealing to make ends meet. Which seems incredible relevant in today's world.

Then the author's comments about "swagger" were woefully off base. It was like this cat was looking for an easy target to make a funny, decided on those black guys in hip hop, and then picked some random rapper who would love the attention. It was just wack to me.

Raving Black Lunatic