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#239- Yet Another Call from Ricky Gervais

 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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23 March 2021 13:03
 
MARTIN_UK - 01 March 2021 04:37 AM

I like his view and explanation on comedy, explaining the distinction between the subject and the target of a particular joke and how people might be offended by getting this wrong. It’s all about context and what/who is the target.

There’s another possible explanation: the comedian lacks information that the audience has.

There’s the old joke about the airplane’s black box.  If it survives the crash… why didn’t they just make the whole airplane like that?
An engineer who designs planes would never laugh at the joke, because the obvious answer is that it wouldn’t fly.  And of course, anyone who has ever heard someone explain that an airplane designed like the black box wouldn’t fly, immediately knows why the joke isn’t funny.

Bringing the example to Gervais himself, his jokes about transpeople just aren’t very funny if you’re a transperson, or have listened to transpeople talk about their experiences.  It becomes very obvious that at the time of telling the jokes, Gervais hadn’t taken the time to learn about those experiences.

IMO… it isn’t the audience’s job to figure out why the comedian’s joke is funny.  It’s the comedian’s job to tell a funny joke.  If the joke doesn’t get the audience to laugh… it’s not the audience’s fault.  They used to hire people to sit in audiences for TV shows to laugh at all the jokes.  The operative word being “hire”.

In general, I think Gervais is hilarious, and I love a lot of his work.  Doesn’t mean it’s my fault that I don’t find certain jokes of his not funny.

 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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23 March 2021 15:09
 

Well there you go.

 
HSLC
 
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HSLC
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18 April 2021 04:07
 

Explaining the inner workings of a joke to try and convince somebody that it’s funny is never going to really work . It’s like dismantling a watch to teach a child how to read the time off a clock face.
Humour is like taste in food , you either like the taste of something , find it bland or dislike it . Nobody can explain to you why you should like the taste when you don’t.

 
Ptbq
 
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Ptbq
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24 April 2021 15:23
 

Sorry about that, Martin. As you know, one trade-off is between brevity for other’s sake on the one hand, and nuance and context on the other, which can make things unnecessarily pointed. If you reacted to my unintelligence or stubbornness, may we still have meaningful exchanges.

If we don’t have such a culture already, may we develop one in which one can take a risky position, explore its implications and then learn to walk it back as appropriate.

Gervais shows concern for what it means to be a good person in both Derek and Afterlife and elsewhere and arguably exemplifies it to an admirable degree. (Will he join the Effective Altruism movement given his commitment to rationality and science, Harris’ recent endorsement and their relationship?) I’m happy to return to that.

We should use the word “some” to vaccinate ourselves against stupefying generalisations. So thank you for using that earlier.

A lot of my motivation probably comes from this poem by Piet Hein:


Taking fun as simply fun
and earnestness in earnest
Shows how thoroughly thou
none of the two discernest


(Original:

Den, som kun tar spøg for spøg
og alvor kun alvorligt,
han og hun har faktisk fattet
begge dele dårligt.

If you have Scandinavian friends, may it lead to great discussion.)


To give Martin credit, Gervais has said on Twitter: ‘It so surprises me that people think I bully my collaborators. They have to sign release forms and are in on the joke.’ I haven’t made the suggestion about ambiguity about the TV show An Idiot Abroad, for example, which also figures Karl Pilkington.

Ash Atalla - producer of The Office and who also appeared on the Politics DVD, has said he now feels uncomfortable with some of the things he participated in. Maybe it’s worth mentioning that Karl Pilkington asked to have the world wide poster campaign about him stopped because he thought it was “demeaning,” according to Gervais and Pilkington in this interview (1). We can discuss what that means and doesn’t mean.

With no expectation, but by way of communicating I invite you to be curious - given how incredibly popular the radio show is and the fact that some fans have transcribed many of the episodes - about why some episodes have still not been transcribed. And also about why there was only one episode of Learn English with Ricky Gervais on YouTube. I acknowledge these may be explained by mundane reasons. It may be my confirmation bias. Still, I would like to have posed the questions.

Perhaps of more interest, and perhaps it makes more sense to focus on: I see the Wikipedia article on British humour has a theme of “Bullying and harsh sarcasm.” It includes The Ricky Gervais Show among ten others: On the Buses, Blackadder, The Young Ones, Fawlty Towers, The New Statesman, The Thick of It, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock The Week, Black Books and Bottom. Maybe there are relevant comparisons in terms of blurring the line between reality and fiction(?)

Finally, Karl Pilkington took a Mensa test in 2007 and scored 83 IQ (2).

Gervais has said on Twitter that the test was “very class and educationally biased” (3).

I checked with British Mensa whether their test in 2007 had a verbal part. It did. When I asked about Gervais’ claim, they didn’t reply.

Gervais on the other hand, has said on Twitter that when he was 18, he scored 149 IQ. I think they used a different measurement then, but it may still be relevant context.

What do you folks think?

What would Harris think?

By the way, Gervais and Harris will appear in a new podcast together called Absolutely Mental that has approximately 12 episodes.

(1) From 6:15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy-dSORUk_0
(2) From 23:36 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdnecUl4jYA
(3) https://twitter.com/rickygervais/status/143765677084377088

 
MARTIN_UK
 
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25 April 2021 02:10
 
Ptbq - 24 April 2021 03:23 PM

Sorry ...brevity…

I love brevity.

A good list of shows you have going there. You should go for it man.

 
MARTIN_UK
 
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25 April 2021 02:11
 
HSLC - 18 April 2021 04:07 AM

Explaining the inner workings of a joke to try and convince somebody that it’s funny is never going to really work . It’s like dismantling a watch to teach a child how to read the time off a clock face.
Humour is like taste in food , you either like the taste of something , find it bland or dislike it . Nobody can explain to you why you should like the taste when you don’t.

What HSLC said.

 
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