What I Learned About Comedy This Week

I had a lot of emotions on my birthday this year. One, because I turned 22 and realized I’m officially getting old. And two, “The Interview” and Sony disaster.

I’ll be short on this point: I call it a disaster because, like a lot of people have said, canceling the release of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s “The Interview” sets a scary trend. This is really just a repeat of everything people, including President Obama, have already said. Sony shouldn’t have canceled the film because now North Korea or any other country really may be inclined to threaten the U.S. to do other things by simply sending us cyber threats.

We all understand how truly terrifying this situation is. It’s sparked international debate. It’s merged politics and entertainment. Sony officially canceled the release of “The Interview” on my birthday and although it’s sparked a lot of fear and anger in me the thing I may be most disappointed in is how people may think of comedy after this.

Comedy is so important to me for many reasons. It got me through high school. It’s getting me through college. I’m fascinated by the fact that there is an entire industry devoted to making people laugh.

I think comedy is a powerful tool. When used right it can save a kid like me. Making someone laugh, if only for a moment, is the best kind of gift you can give someone. I respect comedians because it is not an easy job. It’s an industry that I try to participate in by writing this blog. It’s also an industry that I study like an eager student every day.

I really enjoy Seth Rogen and his writing and producing partner Evan Goldberg and their body of work. They’re a different type of comedy from things I love on SNL and watch in stand-up specials. Movies like “Superbad” got me through some tough times in my life by making me laugh. Rogen and Goldberg stole a lot of my innocence. I learned to be tough and not be offended by every little thing from them. Somehow I’ve learned a lot of worldly things from their films.

That’s why the Sony situation enrages me so much. The cancellation of “The Interview” scares me for comedy’s sake. The only way comedy in movies works is when it’s smart. The only way any type of comedy works is when it’s smart. Rogen and Goldberg have been geniuses with films before (“This is the End” anyone?), but they, along with Sony, probably could have fixed “The Interview” with a few simple changes.

It’s a movie. You can make up whatever you like for a movie! The implications would have been there. Movie goers are smarter than we give them credit for.

Another thing to remember about comedy is that it’s not serious. It’s meant to make you laugh. Comedy has always been edgy, though, so I can see where Rogen and Goldberg thought they were pushing the envelope in a major way. And maybe “The Interview” wouldn’t have had that edge if they changed the story a little. Maybe then, Sony shouldn’t have let them make the film at all. It’s a damned if they do damned if they don’t type of situation. Should we really be making a movie like this? Should we really be afraid to make a movie like this?

I’m all for artistic expression and of course free speech especially when it comes to films and comedy, but maybe there is a line between comedy and global affairs that should never be crossed.

Rogen and Goldberg taught me how to not take things so seriously and to not be offended easily. It’s a good thing to know, but being respectful is also something good to know. Good comedy is smart and respectful at the same time, which is why it’s the hardest genre of film, television, and Internet to write and produce.

What I really hope is that people don’t start to think that comedy has to be filtered and blurred. It doesn’t have to be. It can be edgy and still be funny. We need to remember that comedy is not meant to spark cyber attacks. It’s meant to entertain us. Comedy is comedy; it’s not meant to be taken seriously. It just baffles me that a comedy film could start such a scary political debate. I don’t want something I love so much to suddenly be seen as evil or, worse, tied with politics all the time.


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