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People Aren’t Funny

There has been a big brouhaha lately about whether and how women are funny. The recently deceased Christopher Hitchens, Jerry Lewis, and most recently, comic and former Letterman comedy booker Eddie Brill (who, to be fair, has stated on several occasions that he finds women funny, sometimes funnier than men), have sparked debate on a now contentious issue.

Yet, all of them are missing the much larger picture.

Whatever you are, you must have heard the following from a human friend who is enamoring you with the delight of a new video that they just watched on YouTube: “There’s this video of this cat that mimics its owner’s jazz hands. It’s so adorable and funny. However, you’ll never hear a cat talk up their human owner in the same way: “Meow. Prrrrr. kAAAAAAAAH!”

How is it possible that the human race, arguably the most intelligent species living on the planet earth, is not funny? Based on the specific DNA and unrivaled mastery of the opposable thumb, there’s no need for people to be funny. Every resource imaginable is at their disposal and, if it isn’t, they’ll develop a way to access it very soon. Because they have exploited their intellect to climb their way to the top of the evolutionary chain and, as we can all agree because I’m just saying so in this persuasive essay, humor is a function of recognizing imperfections and faults, people aren’t encouraged to make the effort to be hysterical.  Leave it to kittens that don’t possess mastery over the beasts and fields to have to be funny for being “born into a losing struggle.”

I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are hilarious human beings. Most of them are have lead pathetic lives ridden with dire mistakes and horrid decisions spiraling them into a place below most of humanity where humor is one of a only few ways out of the hole they now reside in. Just look at any set of comedians to see lives of ill-advised debauchery and unnecessary ordeals for proof. It will become clear that there are funny humans, but it’s only because they embody the persona of something actually funny, like a pile of garbage.

The amazing eye-hand coordination of humans as well as the developmental process within the human brain certainly isn’t fodder for humor. Much of that has to do with the fact such genetic superiority is objectively not funny. Human abilities are perfect and, as such, infallible, which pretty much translates to being dull and boring.

To everything that isn’t human on earth, it’s hard to see them outside of the light of being the trailblazing species that takes everything for itself and never gives back. I mean, humans are just so greedy and self-destructive that they will all become batteries for the machines they invent.

And, let’s face it: potential batteries trying to be funny is just distracting.

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  1. Thesis Help says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the site is extremely good.

  2. Reed says:

    After hearing the most recent Nerdist hostful episode, I think there’s been a little more light shed on where Jake was coming from…

    This was obviously posted after having several conversations about it with other comics, since the Eddie Brill thing was big news. If I had to guess, I’d say it only came off weird because Jake was already deeply into those discussions before writing this, so it may have seemed a couple generations removed from the reading audience.

    For instance: Something big or bad happens in, say, the auto industry. You have a friend who works for an auto manufacturer, and you ask him how it’s going regarding whatever big news you heard. Then your friend answers with details you really don’t get, because he’s had a million conversations with other people within his business. I think that’s what’s going on here.

    So the most I can say is, a little background on Eddie Brill might have been helpful, because way more comics know about him. Even the nerdiest of comedy nerds sometimes don’t know who he is. Regardless, it’s totally valid to put out a defense for a guy you respect, whose comments were taken somewhat out of context (even if that context was just the guy’s harmless vibe)… Even if they are THIS far-fetched.

    ***I don’t mean this in an argumentative way, it’s just a different perspective, but I’ll note that the only little thing I won’t agree with from said podcast is this idea that everything a comedian says is for humor, even if there’s no implied joke… Being a comic isn’t just a license to simply state an extreme opinion without consequence, because you are still a human being, and not all your thoughts are jokes. Todd Glass has talked about this, come to think of it.

    Now, on the other hand, if you can say what you think AND accept the consequences just like anybody else, well… That’s the ticket. Just sayin, I did standup for some time myself, and saying what was really on my mind to my non-comic friends didn’t incur any less wrath than before. Comic-noncomic relationships are different than comic-comic ones, and I think that’s the key to understanding the complaints of an otherwise-friendly audience.

  3. @Scott I apologize for my comment. Upon reflection, it was rude. Being rude is opposite of my MO. I hope you do not hold my under caffeinated comments against me. I really am happy to find someone interested in Nerd Culture. I’m starting a new project and hope that you will read and comment. I need people to keep me on my toes so to speak.


  4. scott says:

    @-DI i get hugely frustrated when an article with a simple cat video is the only thing on this brilliant website that has stumped myself. i read it five times because of my love for nerdist culture and i wanted to make sure i didnt misunderstand what was being talked about. my doors for oppourtunity are always open. im alright with it lol it still confuses me that it was written. and yes MORE CAT VIDEOS Preferably acting silly with maybe a nice backdrop. ive got water colors so i coul help on set .. or maybe i could hold the boom.. Watch it!! the lighting rig goes over by stage B and im sorry sir/m`am but we are going to have to cut this interview short. I ve got alot of pussy to film, biggest Hollywood blockbuster to be viewed in dec 2012 i say. it will be in good company with summer 2012s “Pushd In Face” starring a Brilliant Nick offerman and co-starring antonio banderas as the evil cat burglar. So i say good day to you sir..GOOD DAY! *slams shoe abruptly against ground, spins around and walks out

  5. Nathan says:

    I understand what the article was going for, but the theory it’s going for is fundamentally flaud and the majority of the arguments are hyperbolic. The whole idea for the article feel like a late night thought that never really had an end game. Saying cats will never talk to each other about how funny their human is, is perfectly accurate, but mostly because cats don’t have a form of vocal communication outside of noises to gain attention and threaten. The act of laughing in the animal kingdom outside of humans is actually a mocking gesture more than a recognition of humorous situations or presented ideas.
    To say humans aren’t funny is ironic because humor is an abstract human concept that wouldn’t exist without us, like a tree falling in the woods thing.
    And yes, there is a lot of humor found in the tragedy of others, but we aren’t laughing at the person’s struggles and hardships. Jimmy Dore has said many a times “A comedian doesn’t say funny things, he says things in a funny way.” If a homeless person came up to you and told you of his struggles and you started laughing in his face, you’d be a sociopath. It’s about presentation – something only a human would be able to intellectually comprehend.
    We all love a good cat video, but let’s see a cat or a sneezing panda come up with a tight 45 for the Improv.

  6. Lokey says:

    None of these comments are funny.

  7. Maria says:

    I concur with Scott. I am also disappointed with the teaser of a debate on the innate comedic nature of men verses women, which, did not come to pass. As for the inherent “funniness” of animals, I would argue that it is all and simply dependent on our human perception of what is funny and not due in any conscious way to the animal. This begs the question: If an animal does something “funny” and there is no human with a sense of humor there to perceive it, is it still funny? I doubt it. Was this article supposed to be written from the perspective of the animals? If so, all it “proves” is that animals really have no sense of humor.Nor is Jake.

  8. -Di. says:

    There are not enough cat videos on the internet. Maybe there was a reason why I was called the “Cat Woman” when I worked at the animal hospital. It wasn’t just that I could handle cats.

    @scott I’m sorry that someone was holding a gun to your head making you read that. I thought that practice was stopped ages ago…..
    You read it 5 times. One would think after one or two times you would have just moved on. 🙂 I’m also not trying to be mean. Your behavior just confuses me.

    I liked the reference at the end. I agree with @Abbey! A very good article.

  9. Abbey says:

    But even if I completely missed the point I liked it. It was interesting, made me think AND had a cat video in it. What more do you people want!

  10. Abbey says:

    I think all they are trying to say is that we aren’t naturally funny. When an animal does something funny they aren’t trying to be funny, where as when a human is funny it’s calculated (to a point), intentional and with a purpose.

  11. Jared says:

    Good article. It’s nice to see someone taking such an interesting perspective on dissecting comedy. And according to your first commenter, your writing, like comedy, is subjective.

  12. Luke says:

    Obviously the point is that Catwoman deserves her own stand-up special. Why doesn’t she have one? Because humans are sexist against cats. You day-walkers sicken me.

  13. scribe999 says:

    I think I get it … maybe. Just keep the kitten videos coming…it releases an adequate level of dopamine into my system.

  14. scott says:

    I am shocked to say this at all but seriousley the worst posted article on this amazing website. Clearly this post was not needed at all. Worse than that,something uneeded that speaks a negative tounge towards how we precieve comedy. i think he woke up realizing he wasnt funny and had to write out why to bring everyone else down.seriousley though…..WHYd you write it???? ive gone through this post seriousley 5 times and still cant find a reason for the post lol it starts with talking about women not being funnny then ends with how being funny isnt funny. thats actually funny because (as its put in the article) im laughing at your lack of mental fortitude to present an intriguing peice of LITTERature that was somehow supposed to relate itself to this surrounding community.

    Best save the posts for Perry,Katie,Kyle and Christopher Hardwick.

    P.s Really not trying to be mean 😉