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What is Funny?

The Great Sid Caesar:

Categories:  1: Featured  Arts and Culture  Comedy

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1 ColoYank   ~  Nov 15, 2011 2:09 pm

What's funny changes moment to moment. It's a thoroughly Zen concept. Or it might be the most un-Zen thing ever. Not sure.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 15, 2011 2:11 pm

True. But a whoopie cushion always makes me smile.

3 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 15, 2011 2:59 pm

Jack Benny. That guy was funny.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 15, 2011 4:06 pm

Mel Brooks: funny.

5 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 15, 2011 4:22 pm

[4] No doubt. It's funny trying to come up with a list of people who are almost universally thought of as funny. Not that you have to love all their work, but that everyone would say "funny guy" (or gal, as the case may be). Even with something so incredibly subjective, there are a few names almost no one argues with.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 15, 2011 4:51 pm

So subjective. Adam Sandler: mostly not funny. Jim Carey: funny. Jerry Seinfeld doesn't make me laugh. Bill Cosby does. Richard Lewis doesn't make me laugh. David Brenner does. Don Imus: not funny. Howard Stern: funny. Dan Ackroyd: not funny. John Belushi: funny.

7 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 15, 2011 5:02 pm

[6] Dan Aykroyd *was* funny, long ago. Go back to some of that character stuff he did on SNL - E. Buzz Miller and the guy mauled by a bear. I think almost everyone from those early 70s Chicago & Toronto Second City casts is/was pretty damn funny.

I like Lewis and Seinfeld, too, but neither is one of my all-time faves and yeah, I get more chuckles from ol' David Brenner.

But let's not turn this into the Matt & Alex agree and argue about comics thread. (Here's a hint - we both love Albert Brooks).

8 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 15, 2011 5:04 pm

Ha! Mort Sahl. Smart, clever but not funny. Lenny Bruce. Crazy but funny. Dick Gregory, smart. Not funny. Richard Pryor. Insane and funny. Jonathan Winters. Also, insane but doesn't make me laugh. Bob Newhart. Straight but funny.

9 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 15, 2011 5:10 pm

Mort Sahl is funny, but not gut laugh funny. A clever, witty guy. Agreed about the others save Winters, who I find occasionally gut-bustingly funny (some old Jack Paar stuff I saw killed me).

Steve Martin - funny, whether he's being smart or crazy. Bob & Ray - dry, weird and funny. Bob Hope - funny until he wasn't. Don Rickles - funny.

10 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 15, 2011 8:56 pm

Funniest hour of my life.
Rodney Dangerfield Live.
My guess is I was hysterical for about 55 minutes of it.

11 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 15, 2011 10:28 pm

[10] Rodney was indeed a funny funny man. Man, would he kill on the Carson show.

12 Normando   ~  Nov 15, 2011 10:46 pm

[11] I used to love Dome DeLouise and Burt Reynolds on The Tonight Show. Hysterical, but I have no idea why it was funny.

13 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Nov 16, 2011 6:50 am

[11] Carson was the PERFECT match with Rodney.

Ben Stiller: not funny. George Costanza: funny!

14 Boatzilla   ~  Nov 16, 2011 8:25 am

I saw Seinfeld at Rascals in South Orange, way before the show Seinfeld. I could not stop laughing, crying. One of those laughs where your stomach hurts for days. Girl I was with was nodding out. That was are last date.

One other comic did that to me.....but on a DVD viewing. Eddie Izzard. I actually fell of the sofa. I actually cried. That dude is seriously funny-ass funny.

15 lroibal   ~  Nov 16, 2011 9:07 am

{1}Interesting article in today's NYT about female comedians. Johnny Carson, the gate keeper to who was funny didn't like bawdy women comics.
What's funny does change.

16 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 16, 2011 12:54 pm

[14] Izzard is great. Hilarious stuff. I like Gervais, too, speaking of current British comics. Gervais' gay animals bit is just great.

[13] It's true - Carson was really adept at helping a good comic seem even funnier when they were on his sofa.

17 Evil Empire   ~  Nov 16, 2011 1:58 pm

Larry David - funny as hell
Larry the cable guy - unfunny as hell

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