Our world today seems to have forgotten how to be funny. Most modern humor on television, streaming services, or movies depends on humor that shocks the viewer into laughing. It’s as if the writers and producers think that only R rated material can be funny. Recently, I heard one director of comedy movies say he was getting out of the business of making comedies because he is tired of people complaining about the way his movies insult people. He complained that our culture has gotten so sensitive that it was almost impossible to make a funny movie without getting sued. Well, I’d like to say that’s because that comedy director and just about everyone else making comedies today have forgotten how to be funny.
Comedians of the past didn’t depend on shock value to be funny. I grew up watching many great comedians in a plethora of hilarious tv shows and movies that were for the most part clean. This blog post is the first in a new series of posts called Now That’s Funny. In these posts, I’ll be sharing clips from the past that highlight some of the truly funny people and entertainment of the past. If I come across anything similar that is more current I’ll share that too. My goal here is to remind us all that comedy doesn’t have to be vulgar and insulting to be funny. On the contrary. As you’ll see with this post and those that will follow, comedy was once a thriving and fulfilling genre of the entertainment world.
SCTV was a late-night comedy sketch show that came on during the ’70s. I remember watching it after Saturday Night Live, and that show started at 11:30 on Saturday nights. So, SCTV came on really late, but boy was it worth staying up for. I quickly decided it was twice as funny as Saturday Night Live. The show was pure comedy with no political satire and no musical guests. The show was built around the premise of a fictional tv station and the actors all played characters on the station. The cast members played multiple characters; some that worked at the fictional station behind the scenes while others were actors in cheesy tv shows. It was brilliant and funny from start to finish. Many of its stars are still working today as some of the best character actors around. In this clip called Half Wits, you’ll recognize Eugene Levy, John Candy, and Martin Short.