As a recent episode of Too Much Coffee Man pointed out, there are lots of things that used to be staples of comedy, but which are totally unfunny today. A few examples:
[li] Domestic violence. Men getting beat up by oversized wives with rolling pins used to be funny (“Andy Cap” is one example).[/li][li] Alcoholism. The mere act of being drunk used to be funny, especially if you got hiccups(HIC!) or walked into street lamps.[/li][li] Sexual harassment at the workplace - aging CEO:s chasing unwilling secretaries around the office used to be a recipe for hilarity.[/li][li] Hillbillies used to be pictured as funny, stupid types(“Li’l Abner”) but at some point they started to be shown as being menacing/stupid instead (“Deliverance”).[/li][/ul]
Can you think of any others?
Not just that. These things are un-PC, true enough, but the point is, many of them are also simply not funny anymore (take a look at some 1950s cartoons or sitcoms to see what I mean). It seems to me that mainstream humor today is much more sophisticated than it used to be (compare “Seinfeld” to “I love Lucy”), and, PC or not, a lot of situations are no longer funny in and of themselves.
I agree that a lot of people still find racial stereotypes funny, at least privately, and that this will probably never change.
Not just that. These things are un-PC, true enough, but the point is, many of them are also simply not funny anymore (take a look at some 1950s cartoons or sitcoms to see what I mean). **
“Not funny anymore” is obviously a matter of taste. Or is there some sort of objective criteria for being funny? I find Woody Allen movies and “Will and Grace” to be “simply not funny”; millions of people would beg to differ.
It seems to me that mainstream humor today is much more sophisticated than it used to be (compare “Seinfeld” to “I love Lucy”), and, PC or not, a lot of situations are no longer funny in and of themselves.**
Who says Seinfeld is more sophisticated than I Love Lucy? I enjoy Seinfeld (one of my top 3 favorite shows of all time) way more than I enjoy I Love Lucy, but I wouldn’t say that “sophistication” is the reason why. Nose-picking, masturbation, and body odor are not what I call sophisticated plot devices; in fact, I think that’s why many people liked Seinfeld. It didn’t try to be sophisticated at all.
For the record, I find Andy Capp hilarious, despite his un-PC behavior of boozing. I find Ralph Kramden hilarious despite his threatening to send Alice “to the moon,” which some feel smacks of domestic violence.
I realize that this is a poll asking people what they think isn’t funny anymore, and that’s fine. I just don’t think it’s possible to objectively say that such-and-such “just isn’t funny anymore” since it all depends on taste.
SNL still does a good job of making things funny. IMHO, they did an excellent job with a skit in which an office staff member showed up at a meeting wearing a half T-shirt with “USA” on it and male thong underwear made of American flag material. He dressed this way after an office memo encouraged staff to be more “patriotic.” It was a hilarious skit.
Ya know, I think the real reason they don’t let us post more often than once a minute is so there’s a better chance that somebody will spot the goofy error in the intervening minute and post some sort of snide, sarcastic remark, thus inspiring people to preview.
As of a couple of years ago, anyway, we all thought Kramer’s clumsiness was still pretty funny. It all depends on how it’s done. John Ritter would be unfunny doing pretty much anything, if you ask me.
I actually think anything can be funny if it’s done in an original way that opens some new angle or presents something old in a new way.
Oh, I suppose Amos-n-Andy style racism couldn’t be made palatable anymore, but if you gave them Indian accents and made them convenience store clerks, I’ll bet a lot of people would laugh without thinking it was racist…
Things that used to be funny, but just aren’t funny anymore
All Your Base Are Belong To Us.
Seriously, racial humour and stereotypes have lost much of their fun - I’m thinking of black people, as portrayed in Gone With The Wind… kinda slow, kinda dumb… that’s just not funny and not acceptable.
How about game show contestants humiliating themselves on TV? Back in the glorious days of black and white, shows like Beat the Clock and Truth or Consequences would feature water balloons, pie fights, etc. accompanied by gales of laughter from the studio audience. Now, of course, you can put dramatic music behind it and call it “reality TV” but nobody laughs.