The Original "Dark Knight" Was The Joker

Lots of public blather — in the disguise of public discourse — about the latest mass shooting. However, let the record show lone killers are not a problem for Sociology as much as for Psychology. It’s not the guns but the human heart that needs change. Or as the original Dark Knight, joker Lenny Bruce, explained it in his often banned nightclub act of the 60s: “Pain plus time is what equals humor.”

His comedy was especially dark for those times. Deeply rooted in the pain and anger of the human heart. Now of course comedy has to not only deal with human pain and anger, it must be fiercely scatological. Just a couple steps up from the high school bathroom wall! Catch any comedy club or cable standup today, and Lenny Bruce sounds like a PTA president. The last of the “clean comics” include Bill Cosby, Woody Allen and Bob Newhart. After them, not many you want to bring your kids or grandma to see.

Many reasons are offered for this darkening of our national humor. Some say the times are so dark, our humor has to reflect this reality to be real. Just as our movies and music have. The box office rule is civility in love. Moon-in-June lyrics, and happy endings simply don’t sell!

But here’s a question for the studios, the recording companies, and the comedians: If you step into a dark room, isn’t your first inclination to reach for the lights? I’ve worked with Bill and Woody, and grew up with Bob. They were never especially angry men. Somehow they seem to find their humor in the frailties of the human heart more than its fears, in our eccentricities more than our evil, in still hoping our dark side is something to outgrow rather than to enjoy.

What’s really funny is that so many of us today feel clean-comedy isn’t funny anymore.

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  • "civility in love. Moon-in-June lyrics, and happy endings" ... this Geezer still seeks these ... we are unapologetic about it ... there is enough angst in the world ... give us 'Clark & Claudette' anyday over 'Scissorhands Scenes' and the depressing 'Darkness' of so much of the current fare foisted upon the world ... two cents from one who has seen the 'Dark Side' and has no desire to sip tea with 'Lord Vader'.

  • Geezer ~ That's a **** answer. And for those who know not of the immortal Clark and Claudette, they'll discover their own version soon.. But probably not soon enough to totally escape this trap!..

  • I had the impression, for a while back, that people in comedy clubs were not funny.

    But you also have to figure that some types of comedy--especially Newhart talking into the telephone--have become technologically obsolete. Who is going to watch someone texting, other than @IAMGUILLERMO Tweets on Jimmy Kimmel. Similarly, the main source of comedy today is editing YouTube or CGI modification of news video.

    Also, as implied by Kimmel, "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship" is more fun than the real dirt.

    And, of course, comedy has to reflect the times. Sarah Silverman is funny, I suppose for the incongruity of a nice little Jewish girl having a dirty mind. I've told others that with respect to such things as birth control pills, Sarah Silverman agrees with you (with the saved videos to prove it).

  • Sarah and her peers are funny to THEIR peers...I suspect in front of a national audience from all strata, they would bomb... I'm just old enough to believe great comedy like great drama has to have a universal rather than a boys-bathroom appeal to it

  • In reply to Jack Spatafora:

    I figure that, at least given the ADD under 35 generation, "all strata" is not going to happen. For instance, nobody is bringing back Leave it to Beaver (except occasionally on Antenna TV), because children today won't watch it.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack ~ Let me think about whether or I agree with that

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