Comedy (stand-up and otherwise) in the US is in deep crisis: Funny People


Although Hollywood Jesus reviewer Elizabeth Leitch (“Elisabeth is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, with a BA in Literature-Writing”) gives Judd Apatow’s film an excellent review that does find the “deeper” themes that the writer/director meant for audiences to notice, I am underwhelmed – totally. And I wanted to like it.

Here’s what I wrote to a Christian filmmaker/critic/theologian; trying to understand the penile-centric, genital grunge film (remember, I am not a film critic that wilts in the presence of humanity; but boredom is a cine-slayer):

“I like that Apatow is going “deeper”; Sandler was very good as was good as was Seth Rogan. His roommates were sleazy and maybe they were supposed to be. But we have seen these characters before; the threat of death of a stand-up comedian is new; mortality is new. What I don’t get is that this movie was not funny, the stand-up was not funny (and after my appearance on Last Comic Standing I would say that Apatow has captured American stand-up comedy really well. It’s genital grunge. The film shows that stand-up comedy in America is in deep crisis.) That the white male American is stuck in eternal adolescence; is Apatow damning the American male to this filmic ground-hog day?

“Like all Apatow’s films, it has a heart  but “Funny Men”  is so submerged in the penile that it was not enjoyable, it was not funny to me. Watching boys who are supposed to be men watching (or so extremely aware of) their genitals, is boring. That this is their entire world is a depressing idea – the reign of narcissism. That they are so uneducated, unenlightened, or have not integrated their education, that they cannot see beyond their genitals to see the irony in all of life, is sad. That all the characters can use the “f” word – and they do – so what? Does Apatow have a mission to move generations of adolescent “men” to the next stage of human development?  Has he succeeded? What am I not understanding?”

Does Apatow have another tune to play?

Is this all we are ever going to get?  

(OK, the Eminem scene was kind of funny.)

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