I was explaining why I write for a presentation coming up. I explained I like to show a situation so people can view it and see how they feel. As I was writing I wondered when we see something in a comedy movie, do we think it’s permissable? That situation or interaction was funny in the movie. We saw and heard people laughing. Some people might think replicating what they saw would get a laugh in real life.
In my experience, it causes confusion. What do you mean being mean to someone for no reason isn’t funny? It’s not.
I wrote a sketch called The Compassionistas. The Compassionistas are a group of three girls. Two stick close together and ride the charity-of-the-week bandwagon so they look cool while ostracizing the third girl who cares deeply about a few specific causes.
The mean girls have the funny lines while the third is the straight person. the mean girls are funny because we see how warped and absurd their views are. They are caring because it’s cool and change their causes like they change their wardrobe, not because they honestly care.
But do people watch comedy and think some behaviors are permissable because they saw it in comedy?
I would hope not. They’re funny because they’re not happening to us. We’ve all had that day from hell and know from within its confines we’re not having fun. We laugh when we see someone having a day from hell because we can empathize with what they’re going through. Their problems can also be exaggerated so you can’t believe that would actually happen to someone. Sometimes we can’t laugh because it’s too close to our reality. We did have that day from hell on the day of the interview that we needed to nail in order to get the job that would save the house.
I’m mostly concerned about dialogue and personal interactions. Life isn’t a movie. There’s no “cut”. No one saying, “We’re going to do that again, this time come at it like this”. No one’s paid to have a problem with you then suddenly like you.
Bullies and other mean people are made funny to show how out-of- line they are. Horrible situations are made funny to show how horrible they are. I showed a bully manipulating a counselor to believe he was the real victim. The bully had been beating up a kid. Finally the kid fought back. The bully knew he was in trouble, went to the counselor, the kid who fought back got suspended for fighting. People thought it was funny. Some said, “That never happens.” Others said, “All the time, what are you talking about?”
Movies and life do have controlled circumstances. Movies have actors and directors while we control our actions, reactions and emotions. We decide how to interact with people. We choose what to say and when to say it. We choose to laugh or get mad.
But what do you think? Do you think people are influenced by what they see in comedy?