There’s an interesting contradiction between the increasingly fundamentalist Code of the Stand-Up Comic — an absolute ban on joke-stealing that sort of extends to using jokes that you’ve paid for — and the rest of popular culture’s growing enthusiasm for, uh, “reappropriations,” mash-ups, parodies, re-editings, and general meta-ness.
Oswalt’s much-forwarded piece was thoughtful, although Oswalt betrays his “good guy” persona by revealing that he’s still pissed off at that valedictorian who stole his bits.
Oswalt treats that kid to the same level of residual resentment he still has for Mencina and Cook.
Also creepy but not at all surprising, because he’s a liberal, is Oswalt’s placcid acceptance of the idea that total strangers (at least if they’re women who’ve supposedly been raped) should somehow be allowed a “say” in joke crafting.
The increasing democratization of all the arts — especially comedy — is a huge problem.
In fact, it is one of the reason heckling — one of Oswalt’s pet peeves, with excellent reason — is on the rise.
We’ve told a couple of generations that everyone is equal, that “all deserve prizes;” people think writing a letter to the editor makes them a “newspaper writer” and that leaving anonymous comments on a blog puts them on the same level as the blogger, and that spraying graffiti on the underpass makes them an “artist” and so forth.
So of course some idiots at comedy clubs presume to be “part of the show” or even “improve” it by yelling stuff out.
I fail to see the difference except in degree between that and encouraging sucky stupid females to “shout out” (albeit in “print”) that “comedians should think about how hurtful their jokes might be etc” Ricky! I wanna go to the club!! Whaaaaaaa!!!! Zzzzzzzzzz…
Art, like the Catholic Church, is not a democracy.
I blogged yesterday about readers who presume an intimate relationship with me that does not exist, and how annoying it is. (Cough…)
I don’t think Oswalt sees the inherent contradictions within his otherwise well-crafted essay, especially how putting it all out there like this, as more and more “thoughtful” comics have taken to doing, is simply going to encourage more (less thoughtful) Rupert Pupkins to make his life miserable.