Friday, July 2, 2010

The Dumbing Down of Comedy

“Maybe the writers of Arrested were trying too hard to make ourselves laugh. We were all trying to be as funny as we could be, and perhaps we were working on a level that was too removed from what the viewers wanted.” -- Mitch Hurwitz, creator of Arrested Development

I'm reading a book called, "And Here's The Kicker". It's a bunch of interviews with successful - and hugely popular - comedy writers. It's fascinating. It's sucking me in. It's scaring the shit out of me.

Not in the sense that it's turning me away from this craft. It's making me want to do it even more. But at the same time - it's saying things like the above quote. If audiences and the general public are so dumb - then how does this work? If shows like Arrested Development and all the other "cult classics" can't succeed, for simply being too smart, then what do we do? Do we dumb ourselves down for the audience?

Man oh man.

All I know is that I have a show opening next Wednesday. It's a mixture of sketch and improv. And I hope, and believe, we didn't dumb anything down for our audience. Maybe we'll get away with it. Maybe we'll bomb. Either way, I'm happy that we did it our way and worked really hard to make each other laugh.

Let's go to work!

Oh, and by the way, I don't care how dumb you are. Watch Arrested Development. Idiots.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It all depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to leave, no? Stewart Lee has carved out a very nice career playing to just-large-enough audiences. Sure he'll never make big stadium Michael McIntyre money, but he makes enough to be happy. I guess in the world of TV where executives are breathing down your neck about viewing figures one doesn't have that luxury...Arrested Development has had a big impact on many of my friends. So what does "bombed" mean? Success is not purely about viewing figures...


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