Recently, three shows on Comedy Central left an impression with me. Talking about my impressions is this blog’s reason for being, so here we go.
Somehow I was enticed to watch the Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson. I never watched Baywatch. I did see her over-the-top private detective show, “VIP,” more than once.
I was impressed by Pamela, not because of her acting (because I didn’t really think there was acting involved in that show) but because of her ability to make fun of herself and do it in a way I felt was attractive.
It’s not a physical attraction I’m talking about. She just made herself seem like she was having a good time.
With all this in mind, I DVR’ed the roast. Awful. Terrible. Disappointing. Filthy too.
There were too many comics reading their material. There was too much that wasn’t funny. And, if Courtney Love has really been off drugs for a year… wow, it’s just very sad.
Next up on the hit parade is the new show, “Too Late with Adam Corolla.” Like Pam, Adam is someone I’ve found funny. Not all the time, but often enough that I’d tune in.
I’d better make a confession here. At one time, one of my best friends was his manager. That relationship won’t affect what I write, but you certainly should know about it.
Within the first fifteen seconds of this show, I began to smell the giblet gravy. This was a major turkey unfolding!
The first, then second, then third joke bombed. I’m talking about deathly silence from a studio audience that came to have fun.
Less than a minute in and I was breaking out in a sweat!
It was just unbearable to watch. The smart alec persona that drives so much of what Adam Carolla does began to seem smarmy and mean spirited.
I hit the buttons and erased the show. Then I unset the auto record function.
Maybe I did rush to judgment in the first minute or so, but it seemed so unsalvagable. If somehow I hear a good buzz, I’ll try again… but that seems so unlikely right now.
OK – that’s two bad. Now the good.
I am a huge Jon Stewart fan. He is the funniest man on television and has the only show I watch religiously. On top of that, he’s really smart. I value that above nearly everything else.
Of all the things Stewart does, what impresses me most and what I’ve never seen mentioned elsewhere, is his ability to be a straight man. This is one of the most difficult things a comedian can do and certainly one of the most valuable.
A good straight man must hold a moment. The natural reaction for a comedian, after someone else tells a joke, is to move on to the next laugh or try and top it. Not Jon Stewart.
Often Stewart can extend the laugh for one of his supporting players, making that person even funnier. And, to climb this comedic pinnacle, he has done little more than look into the camera. But, he has intensified what preceded him.
He is of George Burns or Bud Abbot quality.
Overall, the power of The Daily Show is to shine a light on the absurd, even if it didn’t seem absurd at the time. What people say… what they do… often seems comical once you step back and take a closer look.
Of the secondary players, the best by far is Steven Colbert. He is consistently funny. Coming on strong is Rob Corddry, a modern day, hipper, edgier, Fred Willard type.
What I don’t like about The Daily Show are the majority of their ‘field pieces.’ Often, they take advantage of people who are too innocent to realize they’re being made fun of. The Daily Show staff is too smart to need to do this. I just hit fast forward.