I think the 90s will be remembered for the decade when humor turned on typical things.
Our humor has a huge element of making fun of set stereotypical things. It makes fun of itself. It’s purposefully stupid and stereotypical.
Think of the Austin Powers movies. (I’ve only seen the first one, so that’s the one I’ll give as an example)
Austin is captured by Dr. Evil, and is put in an “elaborate death involving an unnecessarily slow moving dipping mechanism”
The son says “why don’t you just shoot him…” “You just don’t get it, son.”
Then Dr. Evil closes the door. The son says “You’re not even going to watch??! But they could escape!”
Dr. Evil: No, I’m just going to assume it all went to plan.
This is all making fun of stereotypical action movies.
The 90s brought about Jerry Seinfeld, who specializes in observational humor: telling it like it is.
We in the 90s love that. We laugh at how it is. Seinfeld will say things that everyone notices but doesn’t think anyone else notices: “I hate taking showers in other people’s houses. There’s always that one hair on the wall. It’s up high. You don’t know how it got there. And you try to aim the shower head at it, but it doesn’t reach. So you cup your hand and throw water at it…”
We love this stuff. Some have taken it to the extreme. Jenneane Garafalo, case in point… “So I have my period right now. I’m having a lot of cramps, and diarrhea on top of that.”
She says this just as one would say “so I’m thinking about having a hamburger.”
It’s as if there’s no such thing as too personal.
I don’t know who first said “everyone’s a critic,” but I think it’s a really stupid saying.