Last Updated on February 11, 2022
Is it just me or did what many people seem to call comedy stop being funny at some point along the way?
I think I missed a memo.
I grew up in a great time for comedy on television. All of the greats were still around or were recently around enough to still be remembered and referred to. I’m talking greats from Bob Hope to Jack Benny to Johnny Carson. Sitcoms in the 1970s included shows like All in the Family, M*A*S*H, along with reruns of classics like The Andy Griffith Show and Gilligan’s Island.
Sure, there was silliness to be found in these programs. I wouldn’t presume to deny that.
In fact, in an early 1980s interview on Good Morning America, Alan Hale, Jr., known to generations of fans as “The Skipper” on Gilligan’s Island addressed the appeal of the silly nature of the show critics loved to hate:
That’s one of the big ingredients that made the show so successful over the years: People do need nonsense.
Fast-forward forty years.
How many of the comedies on television today are actually funny? Somehow, it seems that there are far fewer comedies that are worthy of the internet abbreviation LOL. There are “hit comedies” on the air today that I’ve tried to watch, and after ten minutes, I haven’t laughed once.
Even Saturday Night Live used to be funny. Back in the 1970s and 1980s. At some point, it went from funny and some silly to silly and no funny.
Part of my problem, I will happily admit, is that two of the actors regarded as among the funniest on the planet — Jim Carrey and Will Farrell — just don’t do it for me. They’re not funny in my book; they’re just annoying. The few movies I’ve really enjoyed of Carrey’s are ones in which he played a serious character. As soon as he goes anywhere near the Dumb and Dumber-style schtick, I’m out.
The cable channel TV Land, which used to offer a huge array of classic TV, seems to be determined to program as many originals as it can without any regard for how many older, better classics it can displace. And the newer ones are nowhere near the quality of the older, simpler ones.
But apparently, I’m in a very slim minority when it comes to what I think is and isn’t funny.
Fortunately, I have Netflix and DVDs. I’ll take my Andy Griffith and M*A*S*H reruns over most of the “comedy” on the air any time.