Monday, March 26, 2007

History of Meatheads According to A Special Thing

While discussing Mencia's theft of Cosby's material, Jen Kirkman mentioned the alpha-male trend in comedy.

Also - anyone who thinks Mencia's rendition is funnier than Cosby's and therefore gets to "keep it" is part of the sad, new alpha-male generation of comedy boneheads who don't even see the subtle emotion of Cosby's joke(s). Fags.

I offered an origin story for this trend.

Former Onion writer Jack Szwergold weighs in.

I think that the trend towards meathead entertainment—in general—started to turn in the late 1980s and very early 1990s. The Diceman is one sign. But even look at the world of professional wrestling. During the early-1980s, the world of pro-wrestling was a lot more relatable, fun and creative. You all kinds of different characters that those guys would try to pull off and it was all accepted. Captain Lou Albano could only exist back then. Nowadays, pro-wrestling is focused only on being super-macho/musclebound and not much else. Ditto with radio as well. Clear Channel's first big moves at acquiring every radio station on earth began at that time, and look at the result. "Shock Jocks" are now more shocking—and less creative—than Howard Stern was back in the day. And it's all homogenized as well.

Not to be outdone, Patton Oswalt offers his own stirring account of the day the jocks took over.

And a lot of stand-up, now, is about people telling the audience how THEY got over on someone, or how much tougher or meaner they were than someone else. It's less and less about realizing embarrassing but enlightening truths about yourself (Cosby shrugging off his son's, "Hi Mom!" because he realizes it was his hubris and need for vicarious glory that got his son into that endzone) and more about expressing pointless rage ("That fucking bitch never played football with him!").

Though we might argue who the man resonsible for meathead comedy is, we cannot argue who the original king of nerd comedy is (current king is Patton Oswalt): Tom Lehrer. Only a nerd can have fun with the silent E.

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