Dave Studies Media

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Power of Humor and Truth

There's this clip I really like of Jerry Seinfeld doing stand up in New York. He mentions how difficult it can be to use an unfamiliar shower - how much difference will a tiny twist of the dial make? The best is the hair on-the-wall part, but have a look for yourself:

This is so funny to me because of how true it is. I have definitely been in that situation with the hair, and done the exact same things to rid myself of it, in the same order. It's funny because it's not something I've ever heard discussed anywhere else, (so I'm not expecting to hear it), but I recognize it as being valid.

In the same way, a lot of comedy is funny because we recognize the truth in it. There's another part I like in a Robin Williams stand up routine, in which he alludes to the uselessness of certain products sold on TV infomercials. He does a good job of outlining how ridiculous the premise of it is, and makes a joke out of a concealed but strong suggestion that people start thinking more carefully about the things they buy.

If comedy thrives on truth, then I wouldn't be quick to dismiss "fake news" as having no real potential. As it exists right now, in forms such as The Daily Show, it's certainly important to understand the issues before you watch. But perhaps one day we'll find a way, (likely one that embraces the "also/and" model [I believe that's what we called it?]) to integrate this sort of familiar humor into our main channels through which we get our information.

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