The word "unfunny" surely applies to Mr. Myers's obnoxious attempts to find
mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the
strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, The Love Guru is downright
antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh
Friday, June 20, 2008
From Tony Scott in today's NYT:
The funny's a tenuous thing; you can lose it at any point and similar to one's virginity, once it's lost, it takes a helluva magic trick to get it back. It's as close to being an athlete as any other human endeavor in that quality; except athletes have predictable career arcs and a decline that usually occurs over a protacted period of time. The funny can leave anyone at anytime. I don't know that it happens to everyone; George Carlin, let me suggest, still has the funny, which is why, based on career value, were one doing a ranking of stand up comedians in the way that I'm currently ranking baseball players - you'd have to rank Carlin at #1 ahead of Pryor; you'd like Pryor for peak value, but Carlin runs over him in terms of longevity.
There's a more systematic way to approach this; really, what I should do is do some research and chart this more methodically, but I feel comfortable in saying that you've observed the same phenomenon ; The Case of the Disappearing Funny. Robin Williams, for example, once had funny and no longer does. Same with Billy Crystal. Makes you wonder about the funny sucking powers of Comic Relief; I wonder if you went back and looked at the tapes, could you see the precise moment when the funny left each of their bodies; in my mind, if you watched it frame by frame, it would look like when Buffy would stake the vamps - you could see their funny just turn to dust.
I'd throw Whoopi into that basket too, but she's never had the funny, let's be honest.
If you can't find all of those old Comic Reliefs on the youtubes or the whatnot, consider Bowfinger, a set on which both Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy clearly left their funny.
edit - you can find the updated rankings under the label - best baseball players ever
#177 REGGIE SMITH RF Red Sox/Dodgers
Not on the list - the Dodger infield from the 70s. Cey was very, very close. Garvey was not.
#176 BOBBY ABREU RF Phillies/Yankees
Note that he and Smith have the same bat, adjusted for era. Abreu right now, this second, would be lower, he benefits from a nudge upward that active players are getting. It's a small nudge for Abreu. He and Andruw Jones, who has already appeared, are good examples of guys who have been in sharp decline since the heightened steroid scrutiny, but who haven't been tarred at all with the "cheater" brush. Abreu's power disappeared seemingly overnight, and Jones is in total freefall. This isn't to say they (1) used steroids or (2) gave up steroids or (3) that steroids are a significant factor in their declines even given (1) or (2). It's to say that even within baseball, the tarnishing of guy X as opposed to guy Y has been capricious. And considering the entire sports landscape - I heard Terry Bradshaw just this week talk about using steroids under a Dr. care - and why is it that Evander Holyfield gets to keep his reputation as a good guy; look at the evidence connecting him with steroids. One of the tests of any system, be it legal or ethical, is its ability to be applied consistently. The scarlet letters we've thrown onto certain baseball players of this era as opposed to other athletes serve as examples of how wrongheaded our approach to steroids has been; and while I'm largely wishcasting with this next part - I think history will not be kind to this period of sports commentary regarding PED use.