Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quirk Off

According to this Atlantic Monthly article (via BuzzFeed), the quirky hipster sensibility behind Miranda July, Wes Anderson and This American Life is passe. Though I'm not sure I agree with all his examples (Flight of the Conchords transcends trendiness), I had tried to express a similar sentiment when I was interviewed by Time Out New York, saying that hipsters might ruin comedy. Like I say in the interview, they haven’t necessarily done so, but there is a great danger they might. Two things to add to what I said in TONY:

a) Quirk might not be such a problem, but the prejudice against non-quirk is a bit much. Heaven forbid anyone make anything close to a statement about anything. One of the few things that mainstream comedy can still do better than alternative comedy is put what’s wrong with the world (war, bigotry, etc.) into perspective. Irony has its place, but it seems like outrage against the war doesn’t play well in the alt rooms. I haven’t seen it anyway. In fairness, comedians are rarely able to pull off anti-establishment screeds as well as Hicks or Carlin did, but, like Michael Hirschorn says in the Atlantic Monthly article, irony is easy, which means that it often comes across cheap.

b) Irony is cheap because it is far from a scarce resource. But, just like too many cheap Dollar Menu burgers make you sick, too much irony—especially the nerdy, “robot vs. ninja” hipster/nerd variety, can be cloying. I guess it’s like indie rock—after a while, the clich├ęs wear on you, but the mainstream is far worse.

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