Comedians and Their Humorous Influence
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Few moments are comparable to the pleasant feel of a good laugh. This pleasant feeling is intrinsically shared across the globe. More simply, who hates the funniest person in the room? Humor has the ability to shed a smile on the darkest moments and make serious situations feel like a minor debacle. The role of a comedian in society can be as important as a politician or psychiatrist. The Mayo Clinic touts humor as a great health benefit. Laughter has both long term effects including mood improvement, pain relief, and increased personal satisfaction and short terms effects of organ stimulation and tension soothing.
No drug or policy can ever make me feel as down to earth a well constructed joke, especially during the brutally uncertain times we live in. Sitting on the couch listening to a brilliant artist illustrate peaceful humor during such irritating situations is a remarkable way to decompress. Not only will you find yourself decompressing you may be lucky enough to leave with a new outlook on life.
Doesn’t the whole process sound remarkably simple? All you have to do is relax and laugh. Well as the viewer who may have it pretty easy, but creating these complex jokes are is not light work. That’s certainly why the top comedians of the business are handsomely paid and live luxurious lives. Forbes reports that some top earning comedians such as Kevin Hart or Jerry Seinfeld have earned tens of millions of dollars preforming stand-up, creating films and tv shows, along with hosting television shows and award ceremonies. Being the funniest in the room certainly has its economic benefits, but what happens when the punchline starts offending people?
Let’s use comedian Bill Burr as an example, he can attest to receiving criticism for his material.
Comedian Bill Burr
His comedic resume is quite remarkable. His work has earned him multiple Netflix specials, a successful podcast series, and multiple movie appearances. Recently he was invited by Saturday Night Live to be the star guest of an episode. His witty humor pokes fun at all sorts of topics and he isn’t afraid to make a few jokes about himself either. However, his most recent performance on SNL received major criticism.
Link to performance - https://youtu.be/O1xgXJ5_Q34
Bill Burr isn’t the only one who has received push back this year. Ricky Gervais’s most recent golden globes monologue overshadowed the rest of the ceremony. Now did either of these comedians cross a line in the sand? Are their joke topics that are untouchable? There is no one answer to either of those questions depending on who you ask, perhaps because we all have different tastes in comedy. I for one am a believer that comedians should be able to touch on any subject. Not only should this be the case for comedians but all artists. Although artists should have extreme freedom, there is a difference between being witty and creating vulgar jokes for the sake of being different. Those extremely vulgar artists are rightfully not known as successful or top tier comedians.
Comedians need freedom the same way fish need water. If we draw lines around certain topics to avoid creating a negative discourse, we are simultaneously strangling any possibility of positive discourse.
All in all, it is undeniable, comedians are a vital necessity to the mental stability of society. Whether it be SNL or Colbert Reports or Ellen DeGeneres having a sense of humor on the most serious topics is not only a great way to relieve anxiety, but also acts as a check on society.