Due to the nature of real-time public chat conversations, the following was cleaned up and rearranged to preserve the intended flow of conversation. The ideas have been maintained as originally presented. The original version can be read in Ascorbic's archive for 2009-12-03 at 18:00.
18:18: rootbeer277: I just can't appreciate Woody Allen. I've seen what I believe is a representative sample of his work but I just don't find them entertaining.
18:19: kthejoker: Well you're a fairly humorless man, so color me unsurprised.
18:19: rootbeer277: That's an entirely baseless accusation.
18:19: rootbeer277: Aardvark, am I humorless?
18:20: rootbeer277: Aardvark is taking too long to answer. This can't be good.
18:20: kthejoker: I just don't imagine you getting caught up in the zaniness of a Woody Allen comedy. Do you like The Muppet Show?
18:21: rootbeer277: I love the Muppet Show, except when they eat each other. That's just horrifying. Muppets can bounce back from any abuse -- except being eaten.
18:21: kthejoker: Quick, your 5 favorite comedies. (I'll be like Ayn Rand, and destroy you with your principles.)
18:22: rootbeer277 checks NetFlix
18:26: rootbeer277: Let's see here, Beetlejuice, The Big Lebowski, Ghostbusters, Arrested Development, South Park, Clerks, Futurama, Men In Black, Robot Chicken, Rush Hour 1 & 2, Team America: World Police, The Tick (animated), all got 5 stars from me.
18:27: Clockmaker: I will not trust any man who likes Ghostbusters better than The Blues Brothers.
18:28: rootbeer277: Blues Brothers wasn't really all that funny. It's like Monty Python, memorable and quotable, but funny? Maybe it remembers funnier than it experiences.
18:29: Clockmaker: Not really all that funny? D-: I...! You know what, just imagine I'm flipping out with indignation here, I can't be bothered to actually do it.
18:30: kthejoker: It's because lines "We're on a mission from God" and "I HATE Illinois Nazis" have just been internalized to the point where seeing them in their original context is less satisfying than getting to reference them out of context.
18:30: kthejoker: "How much for the leetle girl?" still gets a lot of play in my house.
18:26: GhettoAardvark: beer: Did you think Seinfeld was funny?
18:27: rootbeer277: Eh, I could take or leave Seinfeld. I didn't watch it so much for the comedy as the interaction between the character archetypes.
18:27: GhettoAardvark: Then that's it: rootbeer just doesn't think Jewish comedians are funny.
18:28: Clockmaker: Oooh, anti-semitism. How retro-chic.
18:29: GhettoAardvark: Whoa, hey now, I never said beer /hates/ Jews. Just... their comedians.
18:28: kthejoker: Yeah, Coen Brothers, Jeffrey Tambor, Mitchell Hurwitz, David X. Cohen, Barry Sonnenfeld, Seth Green ... none of them Jews.
18:29: rootbeer277 writes 100-page ranting treatise on how the Jews need to stay out of Comedy and stick to Banking.
18:30: DonJaime: Moishe, Moishe! Give me a chance! Buy a ticket already!
18:39: rootbeer277: Also, I was a huge fan of early-season Saturday Night Live, but it went smoothly downhill from there until it completely tanked in the mid-to-late 90s. By the time it picked up a little in 2000, it was too late, they'd lost me.
18:40: kthejoker: What I gather from your comedy list is that you don't have any real personal taste in comedies, and you basically like broadly funny things.
18:40: rootbeer277: I don't even know what that means.
18:40: kthejoker: I mean, did you like Beetlejuice because it was funny?
18:42: rootbeer277: That's pretty much the only reason to like it. It didn't have anything else going for it besides Tim Burton's dark and twisted backgrounds and animations.
18:42: kthejoker: And you found it particularly funny?
18:43: kthejoker: I guess I don't get what makes Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice funny but somehow Woody Allen ... not.
18:43: Fargus: wry maybe. The smoke coming out of the slit throat. Odo's taste in art.
18:43: rootbeer277: I remember it was funny when I saw it in the theater. I haven't watched it in years though. Maybe I'd find it less funny today?
18:43: kthejoker: Yes, that probably makes more sense.
18:44: kthejoker: I give Beetlejuice a lot of credit, it is *waaaay* out there on the comedy level compared to most movies.
18:46: kthejoker: The opening sequence with the dog on the board, Lydia's suicide note writing, stunt casting Dick Cavett, Zagnut - it all works.
18:46: lizardinlaw: I love Beetlejuice. Laughing at the dark.
18:47: Fargus: to this day I still imitate Keaton with "Psst. Hey...C'mere!"
18:47: rootbeer277: I like dark humor, and I like intelligent humor. I hate awkward humor, make-fun-of-that-guy humor, and vulgar humor.
18:48: kthejoker: Woody Allen is like ... the straight-up pinnacle of wry intelligent humor.
18:48: rootbeer277: Woody Allen is big on the awkward humor.
18:48: kthejoker: Awkward humor? Define.
18:49: kthejoker: You sound like Ned Flanders. I like Woody Allen films except for that nervous fella in 'em.
18:49: rootbeer277: Situations in which you're supposed to laugh at people because they've gotten themselves into an embarrassing fix and there's no obvious way out of it without suffering further shame.
18:49: GhettoAardvark: A lot of his jokes come from him trying to explain himself out of bizarre situations.
18:50: rootbeer277: A lot of it is that I don't like laughing /at/ people, I think.
18:51: Fargus: humor often falls into two categories -- self effacing or derision-of-others
18:51: kthejoker: Yet you like Futurama, which is essentially predicated on stupid people doing stupid things?
18:51: kthejoker: In an admittedly very funny way, but still
18:52: rootbeer277: Okay, granted, a lot of the humor in the show is basically laughing at Fry, but those aren't my favorite parts.
18:53: rootbeer277: The main plot humor tends to be "laugh at", but along that backdrop are all the other jokes that they either hide in the background or use in passing in subplots and suchlike.
18:53: kthejoker: Woody Allen also has many jokes which don't involve laughing /at/ people.
18:54: kthejoker: "What are you doing Saturday night?" "Committing suicide." "How about Friday night then?"
18:55: kthejoker: Or the entire scene within the film of The Purple Rose of Cairo. Dianne West's impeccable knowledge of fish in Radio Days. The argument of "bun" vs. "gun" in Take the Money and Run. Paul Simon in Annie Hall.
18:55: rootbeer277: Similarly, Arrested Development has a lot of "laughing at" humor, but again, it's not all based around that and my favorite parts are the parts that don't do that.
18:56: kthejoker: Well, that's ridiculous, the best parts of Arrested Development are when Gob or Tobias is being emasculated.
18:56: kthejoker: Also, the loose seal.
18:56: rootbeer277: No, I don't like those parts. They're not funny and I really don't like those two characters, or Buster.
18:57: rootbeer277: Also I've only seen the first season so far.
18:57: kthejoker: I mean, I guess it's funny that you watch shows that basically owe their entire lifeblood to Woody Allen combining vaudeville one-liners and wit with flawed characters with real emotions.
18:58: rootbeer277: There are flawed characters that exist specifically to be flawed so the audience can laugh at them, and there are flawed characters who are so just because they're 3-dimensional.
18:59: kthejoker: Yeah, and Woody Allen writes the latter, not the former.
18:59: kthejoker: Wait, you don't like Gob, or Tobias, or Buster, and you *like* Arrested Development?
18:59: rootbeer277: Michael, Lucille, and George Sr. are hilarious.
19:00: kthejoker: Incredible.
19:05: rootbeer277: Can we agree on Looney Tunes?
19:08: GhettoAardvark: You're some kind of soul-murdering hate-monger if you don't like Looney Tunes.
19:09: kthejoker: Well, we can agree on it, but again, Chuck Jones and Woody Allen basically come from the same school of comedy.
19:10: rootbeer277: Yes, a lot of comedy evolved out of Vaudeville, but some of it evolved over THIS way and some of it evolved over THAT way.
19:11: kthejoker: Right, but what I'm saying is Futurama and Woody Allen and Clerks are all on the same side.
19:09: kthejoker: Duck Amuck is basically a 7 minute brilliant exercise at laughing at someone.
19:11: rootbeer277: Duck Amuck is a 7 minute brilliant exercise in the exact kind of cruel humor I don't go for. I've never seen it done so well, but Daffy Duck was funnier when he was zany. Later they turned him into a foil for Bugs Bunny and Speedy Gonzales and he lost a lot of what I originally liked about him.
19:12: rootbeer277: But he's still hilarious when he's the butt of backfired pranks and situations that he originally set up that were twisted back on him.
19:12: kthejoker: I guess your own life is not filled with frustration and absurdity?
19:12: rootbeer277: No, not really.
19:12: kthejoker: You don't like Kafka, I take it.
19:13: rootbeer277: Is this not normal? Should I be a frustrated victim of absurd circumstances beyond my direct control?
19:13: kthejoker: You're an engineer in a factory beset by byzantine rules and other engineers.
19:14: kthejoker: I guess it's just something most people relate to in one way or other. Hell, at the teleologic level if nothing else.
19:14: rootbeer277: I find myself relating to Michael in Arrested Development.
19:15: kthejoker: Michael is fucking Duck Amuck.
19:15: rootbeer277: No, he's not a victim. He gets assaulted from all sides by the laziness and irresponsibility of those around him but he fights through it.
19:16: kthejoker: Daffy Duck is also not a victim, he fights through Duck Amuck like a pro.
19:16: rootbeer277: Hold up. Duck Amuck is the one where the omnipotent artist is abusing him, right? We're talking about the same cartoon here?
19:17: kthejoker: Yes, that's the one.
19:17: kthejoker: The struggle is pretty much where all the humor springs from. The same for Michael, it's a battle, sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. You can't only laugh at when he wins.
19:17: rootbeer277: I laughed my ass off when he burned down the banana stand.
19:18: kthejoker: The second season is better than the first season, if for no other reason than it becomes not just about the Bluth company's plight.
19:22: auraseer: I can't watch that show. I don't like seeing the one sane, competent guy torture himself trying to save rich idiots from the consequences of their spite and greed.
19:23: auraseer: Come to think of it, I can't stand to watch any show where the one sane, competent guy is the butt monkey. Couldn't watch Green Acres either.
19:24: auraseer: The scenario is probably too much like my career history.
19:19: rootbeer277: I like it when people are the agents of their own failure, when the cruelty they try to inflict on others is turned back on them, when their own web of lies and deceit comes back to bite them in the ass. That's Daffy to a T in the Hunter's Trilogy.
19:20: rootbeer277: In fact, now that I think about it, that's Bugs Bunny's whole shtick, which might be why I like the wascally wabbit so much.
19:21: kthejoker: So basically, Jane Austen novels and Woody Woodpecker.
19:29: kthejoker: There must be something to this. Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck as stand-ins for existentialist positivsm vs. nihilist fatalism.
19:30: kthejoker: I think we all wish life was like Bugs Bunny, but we secretly suspect it's all Daffy Duck.