let the eagle soar. a rebuttal.

george washington. the king of 'merica.

critics are always way too harsh on the USofA. we’re tyrants, war-mongers, fat, greedy, lazy, black, brown, our comedy sucks,our health care sucks, white, arrogant, our newsmedia is evil. while maybe one or two of these criticisms remains true, i think our comedy really gets a bad rap. while british comedy is undoubtedly amazing, we are really only getting the best of it. we don’t see what flows through the airwaves on the bbc. from what i’ve heard, it’s mostly garbage. it appears as though we, finally, have something in common with our former rulers. the comedy that’s come over the ocean to our tv’s and hulus and dvd players is definitely strong, but we have a few hilarious flavors of our own. “what?” you ask in disbelief.

let me break it down—after the jump, of course.

when it comes to stand up comedy, the states take it. we’ve got george carlin. case closed. in this clip, george carlin sums up dogs and cats perfectly.

not everybody loves raymond, but show me someone who doesn’t love seinfeld. i guarantee you, if they don’t like seinfeld, then they probably spent their thursday nights twiddling their thumbs waiting for TGIF — and believe me, mr. cooper and balki bartokomous had nothing on george or kramer. seinfeld killed the american sitcom, and i mean that as a compliment. after seinfeld, we were really only left with frasier, which, to me, only served as “that show after the seinfeld.” and how can we forget the amazing midi slap-bass theme?!  i’m glad larry david has kept things going with curb your enthusiasm, but it does not measure up to the pure excellence that is seinfeld. in this clip, george and jerry have decided to come back home after taking a vacation from themselves. deep.

bob and david brought sketch comedy to the next level with mr. show. these sketches were often absurd but were always written extremely well. mr. show always pushed the limits of comedy and just when you think they couldn’t offend anyone else, they cross more lines.  in this clip, bob plays a suburban teenager who was discovered to be the reincarnated dalai lama. david is his friend from the hometown visiting the temple. he proves to be a huge help to them when they face the fat camp in a  yearly field day-like competition. keep your eyes peeled for ducky! (yes. ducky.)

the state just released their much anticipated dvd set, but i watched a few of their clips on the youtube and enjoyed it to an extent, but the comedy really isn’t as refined as some of the more current products we’re seeing from state alums. two of my personal favorites are, obviously, michael ian black and michael showalter. not to leave david wain out, but he was definitely the weak link when i saw stella. perhaps that’s the schtick. michael and michael are the dynamic duo of the aughts (that’s this decade). the prologue of michael ian black’s latest book, My Custom Van, is comedic gold. all i will tell you is that it is written by abraham lincoln, himself. or is it? check out this episode of the michael showalter showalter with michael ian black. they have the best banter since seinfeld and costanza.

and how can we forget zach galifianakis? did i spell it right? a lot of people have to be in a certain mood to get this guy, but not me. i get it. i got it. i will keep getting it. he’s on the up and up these days with starring roles in two summer blockbusters, the hangover and g-force. how can you not like this guy? he’s got a beard and his awkwardness makes michael cera look like friggin’ paul newman. the talk show format seems to be popular with these indie rock comedians. check out the latest episode of between two ferns.

in short, god bless america.

our comedy is just as good as anyone else’s. a lot of it’s just as mediocre too! i chose not to include the office (because that’s not an original american comedy) or 30 rock in this list because i don’t think those shows are really contributing to comedic culture. no, really. 30 rock sucks. it’s really just a rip-off of the muppet show anyways. proof.

before you leave… waverly films is definitely noteworthy. check it…

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3 Responses to “let the eagle soar. a rebuttal.”

  1. Tom Katsumi Says:

    I’m inclined to agree. While, in all honesty, I tend to prefer British comedy we do make a lot of guff. One american show I thought was great (and quite american in style – i mean that i don’t think it could have been made/reproduced in Europe) is Arrested Development.

    point in case:

    Bad British comedy:
    My family
    We are klang
    Graham Norton
    only fools and horses

    Good British comedy (just for good measure):
    Bill Bailey
    Eddie Izzard
    Jam (or anything else by Chris morris)
    The IT Crowd
    Spaced
    Catterick

    (ok, i couldn’t think of as many bad ones – but they ARE fairly forgettable)

  2. felixincognito Says:

    i’d like to think of it as a draw. you get our really good stuff, i assume, and we get your really good stuff. the rest stays under lock and key in the vault that is network syndication.

    i trust you’ve never seen according to jim, or any other sitcom of the sort. yeah. there’s tons of that shit over here. everything that gets any acclaim, like 30 rock, isn’t mediocrely written. it’s a shame. there’s a 30 rock porno parody that seems as well written as the actual show. just but xxx 30 rock (NSFW) into your google engine.

    i love eddie izzard, i haven’t really given the IT crowd a good watch, spaced changed my life (i tried to add the gunfight scene, but bbc doesn’t let us embed). have you seen black books? i’ve seen and enjoyed, thoroughly, one episode.

  3. Tom Katsumi Says:

    black books is great – as is dylan moran’s standup. I heartily reccomend Catterick; featuring vic and bob, a british staple double act (and if you enjoy that then maybe even jam – although perhaps a little dark for most american sensibilities… sorry if that sounds patronising).

    according to jim, 30 rock, i’ve heard these things before but never seen them. To be fair we do get a lot of your shitter stuff too – i’m sure there can’t be much stuff worse than “2 and a half men”, “everybody loves raymond” or “world’s funniest animals” – a show that’s actually BETTER with the sound off… but then i never could quite get “fresh prince of bel air” despite all my (apparently well adjusted, educated) friends swearing it was genius and doing the rap to me all the time much to my mortal embarassment.

    I suppose that there’s some stuff in spaced that’s harder to get – cultural references etc – for example, what starts the gunfight: the old ki-ora advert “it’s too orangy for crows” (that’s a british ad right? seems too racist to be american: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LvLn9PWln8). But then again i suppose most of the references are to american movies.

    I really like some american stand ups (for example, mitch hedburg) but i find i have to look hard for them over here.

    Have you ever heard of Charlie Brooker? He’s an angry columnist/comedian who does funny documentaries about TV: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/charliebrooker

    and another very popular comedian who’s good at the moment is David Mitchell (very british – he’s made a whole routine of it) from “peep show”.

    oh yeah, lastly… Rich Hall has become popular over here recently – he’s american right? not canadian?

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