Tag Archives: Comedy

Adult Swim, Anti-Comedy, and Cringe Humor: What’s the Appeal?

Note: This in an in-depth article on Anti-Comedy and Adult Swim programming. If I mention a given show, short film, or feature film, there is a strong chance that I will be giving spoilers for that video, so be cautious. Also, this is a multi-page article; the links to subsequent pages sometimes get lost at the bottom of the page.

 

Anti-Humor. Anti-Comedy. Meta-Humor. Non-Comedy. Whatever hyphenate you want to use to describe the brand of comedy that is purposefully not funny or otherwise lacking in traditional comic structure.

Anti-Comedy, as I will refer to it throughout the rest of this article, is a highly divisive form of comedy (my fascination with the divisive is well founded). Some dismiss it as destructive to quality comedy or simply lazy. Others can’t digest it as something humorous or necessary.

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Late-night television programming block Adult Swim, launched in 2001 as a complement to Cartoon Network’s children’s programming, has harnessed these alternative forms of comedy to seeming success. With shows like Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!The Eric Andre Show, and the short film series of Infomercials, Adult Swim has Continue reading Adult Swim, Anti-Comedy, and Cringe Humor: What’s the Appeal?

Entertainment (2015) Movie Review

The opening shots of Entertainment are largely static. The Comedian (Gregg Turkington, essentially playing in this film a fictionalized version of himself and his comedic alter-ego Neil Hamburger), stands in an airplane fuselage, looking down. He watches as a clown, Eddie the Opener (Tye Sheridan), prepares for a set at a prison.  He looks on dour-faced as the clown “wows” the crowd of prisoners by simply bouncing a ball and clapping his hands.

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The first spoken dialogue in the film comes from a tour operator who encourages The Comedian and others to “by all means, go ahead and wander.” Yet the film does the opposite. Continue reading Entertainment (2015) Movie Review

The Comedy (2012) Movie Review

Rick Alverson’s The Comedy is not a comedy. It is an anti-comedy. A satire of a self-destructive generation gazing on their own broken world. The film opens on a group of people, mostly slightly overweight men, drinking and dancing, spitting beer and stripping nude. This is a commonplace setting for this group of “friends.”

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The film stars Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric fame. Comedy partner Eric Wareheim co-stars, and their presence in the film in one instance is Continue reading The Comedy (2012) Movie Review

Zoolander 2 (2016) Movie Review

Sequels can be many things. They can be good…sometimes. Or they can be superficial rehashes. Or they can be pure nostalgia pieces. Or they can be re-imaginings with topical insertions to try and bring an old property into the present day, where these insertions take the place of original comedy.

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Zoolander 2 falls mostly into the latter category. Justin Beiber, Uber, and Susan Boyle are featured in early gags, in moments meant to hook the viewer in. These “topical” moments (Susan Boyle = topical?) feel Continue reading Zoolander 2 (2016) Movie Review

Hail Caesar! (2016) Movie Review

In Hail Caesar!, the latest from the Coen Brothers, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is an actor during the Golden Age of Hollywood. He is introduced on-screen in a meta framing—a screening within a screening—portraying a Roman leader in a historical epic a la Spartacus. During filming of this movie, Whitlock is drugged and kidnapped.

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Hail Caesar! is the Coen Brothers’ love letter to classical Hollywood cinema. The standard genres of the period are represented: Westerns, historical epics, Broadway musical adaptations, bourgeois romance, etc.

The structural issue of this love letter is that Continue reading Hail Caesar! (2016) Movie Review

Sisters (2015) Movie Review

In Sisters, the eponymous sisters Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) are misguided and somewhat juvenile. The two travel to their parent’s house in Orlando, which they find sold and emptied. They protest the loss of their childhood home, and ultimately decide to throw one last party in the house in an attempt to return to their glory days.

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The film totes the expected cavalcade of SNL alum. At the head are Fey and Poehler, both of whom Continue reading Sisters (2015) Movie Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) Movie Review

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is adapted from the book of the same name, and it is exactly what you think. Jane Austen’s famous characters return to the big screen, only now they aren’t combating class and gender barriers, they are samurai fighting zombies.

 

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The film, understanding that the audience is likely already familiar with the Austen classic, begins with some heavy handed exposition revolving around the nature of the narrative’s zombie outbreak. This opening scene involves an interesting point of view shot that comes from a unique perspective, to say the least. Unfortunately, Continue reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) Movie Review