There are many comedy clubs that specialize on improv throughout the country, such as Second City and The Improv (Truth in Comedy from Charna Halpern and Del Close). The reason there are so many improv clubs around the country is that it is a popular form of comedy, the reasons why will be expounded upon later in this post. Some of these clubs don’t employ true improv, most of the sketches are written and revised before the performers get on stage, and a large portion of the material is being developed for upcoming shows. True improv can be very hit or miss, there isn’t much worse than bad improv, so it makes sense that these clubs don’t use true improv every night.

The three big comedy theories from the first week of class can be used to explain why improv is such a popular piece of comedy. The superiority theory can explain why improv can be so funny. Really bad improv is similar to cringe humor, you almost feel uncomfortable listening to it. As an audience member, I could also laugh at how bad it is and think that even I could do better than that. It is like the scene of Michael Scott from the Office trying to control the improv, it is funny partly because he is so bad and we feel superior to his character. One of the rules of improv is “keep it simple, less is more.” It can be humorous to see a comedian pressing to make the scene funny. Incongruity can also explain why imporv is popular. People like certain comedians for their style and the types of jokes they tell, which is fine. With improv, the jokes that come from the scenes are often unexpected, you don’t know what is coming and that enhances the comedy.

My questions are related to the key points of improv from Halperns book. Do you agree with Halpern that “there’s nothing funnier than the truth? Can silence during improv enhance the experience?

 

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I Don’t Always Lie, But When I do I Argue that Women are Funny

 

If you are reading my blog post I am assuming it’s either because you saw my offensive title or the featured image of bears. Bears are majestic creatures, definitely one of my top ten favorite animals. Maybe next blog post I’ll show y’all my top ten list. You won’t believe what number 7 is!

While reading the articles for the week I thought of this: Are women considered less funny in just American culture, or is this  feature of cultures around the world? I assume because women are treated as inferior to men in most if not all countries (I am not learned in all of the cultures of the world so I don’t know for sure) that their comedy is considered inferior as well.

Christopher Hitchen’s Article “Why Women Aren’t Funny” argues that women aren’t funny for a variety of reasons: men have to be funny so they can attract women, they are slower to get the joke, they learn it from their unfunny mothers, the list goes on and on. He attempts to use some science to prove his point, even taking from a Stanford University School Of Medicine study. He has some interesting points, however, the way he presents them comes across as very offensive.

Hitchens argues that men have to be funny to impress women, while women don’t have to be funny because men are already attracted to them. “The chief task in life that a man has to perform is that of impressing the opposite sex.” This can be contrasted with, “Women have no corresponding need to appeal to mean in this way.” In a way he’s saying that because women have the power to pick the man that they don’t have to learn to be funny. I think that he is vastly overstating the power that women have in society. If women truly had this much power, then wouldn’t they have more of a say in other matters of popular culture? There would also be more representation of women in media if this was true.

“Precisely because humor is a sing of intelligence (and many women believe, or were taught by their mothers, that they become threatening to men if they appear to bright), it could be that in some way women don’t want men to be funny.” This quote is very thought provoking. Hitchens is insinuating that women are either less intelligent than men, or are taught to feign this as to be more appealing to men. First Hitchens is arguing that women don’t have to be funny because they are already attractive, but they have to be or at least act unintelligent to attract men. He then says that men don’t want women to be funny. Comedy is a mechanism of affirming that men are more intelligent and superior to women. It’s not that women aren’t funny, it’s more that men don’t want women to be funny because then they could be considered as equals. This is why there are significantly less women featured in comedic roles.

 

Fake News isn’t Real (but it teaches us a lot about ourselves)

Is this the greatest article you’ve ever seen? Follow the link to see

My question is: Since all news reported contains at least a slight bias, when does a news story become altered enough to become fake versus excessively biased? I know that statistics can be picked to back up someone’s story without truly representing the truth.

“You only hear what you want to hear, not when I tell you to wash the dishes,” is a phrase my mother would often tell me. I think this holds true for when people read any news, that people read something and believe it’s true (even if it actually isn’t) because when they see a story that reinforces their viewpoints they are more likely to believe it and not do the necessary research to confirm if it is true or not. Fake news can also be used to in a satirical manner, such as in Jonathon Swift’s “Modest Proposal” to spread a more serious opinion as well as mock the viewpoint of those opposing.

Image result for fake news about obama

This news story above is obviously fake, saying that Obama is banning Christmas cards sent to servicemen overseas because they are offensive. This is obviously not true, however to someone who thinks former President Obama wasn’t patriotic enough or more sympathetic to Muslim people than he should be, it is almost believable. It seems like something he would do. This fake news can be used to spread a viewpoint, as well as for the fiscal benefit of the creator of this news (like the people from Macedonia).

Fake news can also be used for comedic relief. A perfect example of this is the Onion. The article below was written in the wake of the tragic Patriots Super Bowl win that left the majority of America in sadness. It’s funny because the Patriots just won their fifth super bowl.

Sixth Super Bowl Win Continues To Elude Patriots

Fake news is a common term used today with Donald Trump and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer. There isn’t as much as a financial gain for them, but more to save face. Many of the false news stories regarding Trump are actually quite believable, and sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

In Swift’s “Modest Proposal” he uses an absurd idea of eating poor children to show people that the poor need to be sympathized with more. Although it is apparent that he actually isn’t supporting eating little peoples, it helps people to his view.