3/13/12

Troublemaker at the Comedy Institute

Recently I was hired as a comedy consultant to help some brand creatives think outside the box.

Normally I despise hearing people talk seriously about comedy.  But the money was good.

Turns out the only thing worse than witnessing a panel on comedy is being part of a panel on comedy. People made sweeping generalizations and self-important observations. It was a difficult 75 minutes.

I did two things to simultaneously take my role seriously and (kind of) subvert it.

First, I arrived dressed as Dr. Millard Rausch, the jerk who appears on the panel show in George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD. (Fans will remember I wore this costume when I hosted  Kevin Geeks Out About Dummy Deaths -- honestly, it works better with the beard.)

Second, I tried to answer vague questions with a painstaking amount of detail.

For example, the bizarro question packet wanted to know "What are the genres of comedy?"

I suppose they want simple answers like "parody" and "slapstick."

Instead I wrote up 125 different genres of comedy.

I figured it would be fun audience participation, they could shout out a number and I'd reveal the specific sub-genre I listed.  And it pointed out how dumb the question is in the first place.

After the panel I never heard back from the agency -- dashing my hopes of a lucrative consulting position.  But here's my official comedy research listing the 125 genres of comedy.  (I could've listed more, but I think I made my obnoxious point, don't you?)


125 Comedy Genres
1.   Christian ventriloquism
2.   Greek plays by Aristophanes with lots of phalluses.
3.   Pre-Civil War Minstrel Show
4.   Internet Cat-based humor
5.   Porn parodies of popular culture
6.   Political cartoons with too many metaphors
7.   Nostalgia-based coming-of-age storytelling
8.   Post-PORKY’S teen sex comedies screened late at night on basic cable with all the dirty parts edited out
9.   Humorous fortune cookie



10.                 Folklore
11.                 “Mockumentary”
12.                 Summer camp comedy sketch
13.                 Final news story of the night
14.                 Subway graffiti
15.                 “culture jamming”
16.                 Mash-up videos of movie trailers
17.                 1960’s beach movie, incorporating Cold War politics, jewel thieves and one-hit wonder band. 
18.                 Hidden camera prank series
19.                 Dating-themed Reality Show based on print-ad campaign characters
20.                 Mean-spirited twitter obituaries made while the celebrity corpse is still warm
21.                 Bootleg audio cassettes of Prank phone calls
22.                 Post-Civil War Minstrel Show
23.                 Direct-to-video feature film comedies licensing the National Lampoon brand name
24.                 Door-slamming farce
25.                 Ironic viewing of 1940’s hygiene films
26.                 Comedy sketches performed by college Acappella group in-between songs.
27.                 Live-tweets of Televised Republican Debates
28.                 Post-modern television sitcom in which characters sometimes deliver their lines to camera and acknowledge that it’s a TV show.
29.                 Rom-Com
30.                 Brilliantly conceived Branded Content
31.                 Dramedy directed at audience members preparing for a mid-life crisis
32.                 Long-running British sitcom you have no desire to watch
33.                 Drag Queen humor
34.                 Three-panel newspaper comic strip
35.                 Multi-award winning web-series you’ve never heard of
36.                 Las Vegas Comedy Show utilizing impressions of celebrities who have been dead for over 20 years
37.                 Musical theater
38.                 Tumblr blog dedicated to single-issue (i.e. celebrity plastic surgery gone wrong)
39.                 Internet meme
40.                 Character-based long-form CGI animation for children of all ages
41.                 Basic cable clip-show featuring comedians you’ve never heard of commenting on “fair-use” clips
42.                 Podcast you have been meaning to listen to, but can’t seem to get around to.
43.                 Classist websites devoted to the unfortunate exploits of “dumb” criminals
44.                 Forwarded email listing jokes falsely attributed to George Carlin, Jay Leno, Stephen Wright or Larry the Cable Guy.
45.                 Non-televised Friar’s Club Roast
46.                 Irreverent bumper sticker
47.                 Middle-of-the-road name comedian appearing at early morning corporate event for $2500
48.                 Morning Radio Zoo Crew riffing on current events
49.                 Mobile media that recaps last night’s reality show winners and losers
50.                 Insult comic
51.                 Magazine section devoted to photo-based reviews of fashion disasters
52.                 Pun used on pajama top of a child who cannot yet read
53.                 Live stand-up comedy album
54.                 3D View-master reel summarizing an episode of a live-action TV series.
55.                 Improv comedy show centered around a Fantasy series (Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter)
56.                 Internet Fan Fiction
57.                 Self-published ‘zines devoted to movies that are “so bad they’re good”
58.                 “Kids says the darndest things” Facebook Status Updates
59.                 Talk Show “desk segment”
60.                 Groundbreaking sexually explicit literary humor (Phillip Roth)
61.                 Funny sound-effects key-chain (see also key chain that quotes cult films like Napoleon Dynamite, The Big Lebowski, etc)
62.                 Funny poems for children
63.                 Politically Incorrect T-shirts sold on the Boardwalk
64.                 Observational humor in newspaper column
65.                 Bookmark with funny witticism by celebrated dead novelist
66.                 Classic French-language satires taught in high school class where the instructor over-explains topical jokes from the 18th century.
67.                 Sarcastic customer reviews on online consumer site
68.                 Humorous quiz about dating disasters in magazine for pre-teen girls
69.                 Heckling at live events
70.                 Novelty song
71.                 Silent Film where loveable tramp kicks bigger guy in the seat of his pants
72.                 Live re-enactments of iconic films (Star Wars Trilogy as one-man show)
73.                 Campy dramatizations (Daily Show dramatizations with puppets)
74.                 Erotic baked goods
75.                 Yo Mamma jokes told in a neighborhood
76.                 “Crazy” Japanese Game Show
77.                 One-liners
78.                 Audience-participation live comedy event (Tony & Tina’s Wedding)
79.                 Ethnocentric Radio Call-In Show
80.                 Humorous DVD commentary track wherein once-powerful stars distance themselves from their earlier work
81.                 Funny iPhone app that simulates body sounds (i.e. farts)
82.                 Gags and novelties (the whoopee cushion, the dribble glass, the joy buzzer)
83.                 Vaudeville duo performing as “Immigrant” characters
84.                 Mad-libs with dirty words
85.                 Ironic gag gift (Snugee, Chia pet, battery-operated singing fish)
86.                 Splat-stick (horror-comedy genre that combines graphic violence with Monty Python style humor, see Evil Dead 2 orPeter Jackson’s early films)
87.                 Caricature Art at County Fair
88.                 Politically-charged Halloween mask
89.                 Profanity-filled blooper reel
90.                 Twitter account for foul-mouthed alter-ego
91.                 Wedding speech
92.                 Dry humor piece for The New Yorker
93.                 Traditional “Desi-Lu” 3-camera sitcom claiming to be taped before a live-studio audience
94.                 Critically acclaimed single-camera sitcom
95.                 Subversive button/pin
96.                 Grotesque Paintings with wry titles
97.                 Gallows humor
98.                 Man on the street segment designed to make pedestrians look uneducated
99.                 Happy Days spin-offs (including the two Saturday morning cartoons)
100.             Pop-culture list piece in glossy Men’s Magazine (100 Sexiest Robots of all time)
101.             Cutting-edge Swiss Mime
102.             Rick-rolling
103.             Male stripper at Bachelorette Party
104.             Epic Super Bowl Beer commercial
105.             Morning news show banter
106.             Humor at the expense of disenfranchised minorities who have no voice in the media
107.             Catch-phrase based stand-up comedy
108.             Snarky photo-captions on “found” photos
109.             Creepy European Clown Troupe
110.             Off-broadway bawdy puppet show
111.             Humorous corporate video about copyright infringement
112.             Gong Show Lip-Sync using tennis rackets for guitars
113.             Racy Greeting Card with Double Entendres
114.             Illustrated YA novel
115.             Coffee mug with a chuckle-worthy phrase
116.             Holiday-themed variety show
117.             Canned anecdote for press junket
118.             Character-based one-man show
119.             Self-important recovery memoir
120.             8-minute live-TV comedy sketch framed as talk show parody
121.             Oddball comic book targeted at weird, loner adolescents of all ages
122.             Kids’ quasi-educational show featuring references for grown-up co-viewers
123.             Funny music video for a non-funny song
124.             Groundbreaking 1970’s socially-relevant network sitcom
125.             Crowd-sourced photoshop contest



Related posts: More fun with sabotaging myself

2 comments:

Bill Scurry said...

No separate category for clarinet tremulo?

Thomas Vaultonburg said...

You make a good MillardRausch