bill-swift - March 28, 2012
Gallagher has been in the news lately. The watermelon hating comedian has had a couple of heart attacks in the last week. While I wish him a speedy recovery, it doesn't change my opinion that he is one of the worst stand-up comics in history. Smashing fruit so that it splashes yokels under a tarp is not comedy. The rest of his stand-up routine was an amalgam of cliched jokes about men and women, politics, and sex. Take away his Sledge-o-Matic, and he might as well be an amateur trying out new material at a mid-afternoon open mic.
I'm not picking on Gallagher alone. He is but one representative of the worst paradigms in comedy. Here are the top 5 worse types of comedians...
The Prop Comic
This is the category Gallagher belongs to. Rather than rely on wit and cultural observation, they use stupid site gags. You glue a rubber chicken to a magnet and call it a "chick magnet", and call it your act. One of the most diabolical prop comics of all time is Carrot Top. He makes Gallagher look like Lenny Bruce. Where at least Gallagher bothered to write come jokes, Carrot Top just relies on sight gags. Then again, Carrot Top sells out his Las Vegas show every night, so what do I know?
The Observational Comic
Taking a look at the world and commenting on the absurdity of modern life is one of the backbones of comedy. George Carlin did this masterfully by breaking down language in his act. However, you can't just make an observation and leave it at that. If you were to say, "You know those 'do not remove under penalty of law' tags on mattresses? What's up with that?" That's not a joke. You have literally done nothing more than bring up something and say nothing about it. You might as well say, "Hey, chairs are weird." or "Milk is white." Now, if you say, "Why is milk always white? Does it come from racist cows?", you are on your way to a joke.
The Angry Female Comic
I don't believe Christopher Hitchens when he said women can't be funny. Some of the best comics ever have been women.What I don't think is funny is when a women comedian's act is just a bunch of dirty cliches about women. Now, I don't mean talking about relationships or how society treats women. I'm talking about comedians who talk about their periods and BJ's. They think that the only way they are going to make it is if they say shocking things about their vaginas. Just talking about tampons isn't funny, ladies.
While I appreciate the skill it takes to accurately impersonate someone, few people do it well. Most impressionists simply make unfunny statements while vaguely sounding like someone famous: "I'm Jack Nicholson. 'You can't handle the truth! I'm Jack Nicholson." Impressionists also tend to all do the same few people: Nicholson, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, William Shatner, etc. Also, they tend to sound less like the actual person than as the impression someone else does of them. Impressionists don't do William Shatner they do Kevin Pollack doing William Shatner. Ditto with Eddie Murphy's Bill Cosby. An impression of an impression is like a video copy of a copy. It gets worse each time.
The Stereotype Comic
Many of the best comedians of all time have been non-WASPs. Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Greg Giraldo, Eddie Murphy, and Cheech and Chong were some of the best stand-ups ever. The problem comes when a comic feels that in order to be funny, they have to portray stereotypes. Black comedians can only talk about how White people dance, women's butts, and living in the hood. Latino comics have to talk about fitting 15 cousins in a car and how much they love tacos. Take Carlos Mencia, for example. He is not Mexican, not from the hood, and is the most notorious joke thief in comedy. Yet his brown-faced minstrel show got him on Comedy Central.
Article By Jack Tomas
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