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Friday, August 17, 2007

I Wish It Would Rain Down

Last night, in the middle of otherwise peaceful slumber, I awoke to pouring rain and thunder.

Not that such sounds are novel to me … it’s just that my life has lacked these things for several months. Here in the mid-Atlantic region, we are suffering from a severe drought.

So when this rare event occurred, I fell into a half-awake, half-asleep state and captured the essence of something that’s been troubling me for months. I finally was able to encapsulate the growing realization that’s been eating at me.

The Daily Show has lost its mojo.

This pains me more than most of you can imagine. My admiration, respect, and love for the half-hour parody news broadcast on Comedy Central has been a steady presence for years, since Craig Kilborn hosted. It’s difficult for me to admit that these feelings have faded.

These feelings have faded.

Perhaps it started when one of the show’s best correspondents/writers, Stephen Colbert, left two years ago to start his own show. Otherwise, I’m ignorant about the writing cadre of the show now compared to 2005, but the direction hasn’t been positive.

At least 90% of an episode now consists of two things.

First, Jon Stewart’s show now depends mostly on rather witless shots at Bush, Cheney, Rove, and a few other executive branch figures.

I’m a big fan of political satire, so clever jabs at our leaders give me no heartburn whatsoever. I think we need more intelligent swipes at all authority figures. But recently, trained monkeys could have crafted and delivered most of the show’s “jokes,” which rely on weak impersonations and stale exaggerations.

It doesn’t take a genius to make fun of this (or any) administration. Events and policies to mock are low-hanging fruit. It does take skilled comedic writing, however, to make that lampooning good. And The Daily Show is failing.

Second, Stewart has gone dirty—he now gets more bleeps per minute than Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Combined.

I like well-placed cursing. In fact, I love it. Authors like Chuck Klosterman use expletives naturally, and the aforementioned Colbert drops four-letter treats once in a while to great effect. Relying on profanity for laughs, on the other hand, is a downward spiral that one only enters once ideas dry up.

And it seems the mid-Atlantic drought has reached The Daily Show’s writers.

21 Comments:

At August 17, 2007 3:47 PM, Blogger goldennib replied to my musings ...

Over-use of anything, especially profanity, is just boring, which is why I don't think most shock jocks are funny. They're not funny, they're not shocking. Funny needs intelligence and a little something surprising; a neat twist of the mind.

 
At August 17, 2007 5:08 PM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

I was a fan of the Kilborn daily Show, I haven't really watched it since he left. I did read though they were taking it on the road to entertain the troops in Iraq.

You can have all of our storms, I am sick of the tornado sirens

 
At August 17, 2007 5:48 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

Last night I dreamt that I was Superman. I'm not kidding. That's completely irrelevant, but that's how I roll.

Anyhoo...I really think Stewart is a funny guy, but I haven't watched his show in a very long time. I think if you're going to do political satire, everybody is fair game.

I think the show has too much of a liberal slant.

 
At August 18, 2007 9:18 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

I don't watch the show very often, but am sorry to hear it has "jumped the shark."

Sigh.

 
At August 18, 2007 12:43 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

Far be it for me to belittle obscenity but The Daily Show just isn't funny.

 
At August 18, 2007 3:48 PM, Blogger dragonflyfilly replied to my musings ...

i haven't watched The Daily Show for ages, so I can't really comment...but I agree with you, well placed obscenity can be effective.

I won't tell you what my favourite "cuss word" is...because I hardly ever swear or use the F word, when I say this my daughter almost falls off her chair!

Hint, a hyphenated word, it starts with c, is slang for that female part of the anatomy and ends with -face...the mental picture of a dumb, thieving guy walking around with one where his own face should be just cracks me up!

 
At August 18, 2007 5:27 PM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

Hmmm, goldennib took all the words right out of my mouth.
Except I might have said, "They're not f*cking funny, they're not f*cking shocking."
Kidding!

 
At August 18, 2007 5:58 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

GN: A twist is a good thing for many purposes.

Phats: Kilborn was much underrated as a host. His timing was fantastic.

Phoenix: Funny you should say that ... last night I, too, dreamed you were Superman, too. No, I wasn't Womder Woman.

Lisa: "Jumped the shark?" That's new to me.

Fuzz: Exactly. Obscenity well used rocks. Obscenity relied upon in the absence of wit sucks.

DFL: That is a good mental picture. Except for the perverts running around after the thieving guys trying to do bad, bad things to their faces.

Tai: I'm trying to get the image of her mouth and yours intertwined ... and your ne wline has done it! (For a moment.)

-- david

 
At August 18, 2007 7:00 PM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

You might have nailed my reason for removing it from my season pass. Shooting a wild moving target can be considered sport but shooting something sleeping on the porch... not so much. I think that's why I used to enjoy Saturday Night Live's Weekend Report so much.

I also agree that creatively-placed cursing can be effective and otherwise it can lead to a spiraling career similar to Andrew Dice Clay.

 
At August 18, 2007 7:42 PM, Blogger Pixie replied to my musings ...

I don't think I have ever seen the show, too many channels too little time...

I wish it would rain here and cool things down.

 
At August 20, 2007 1:21 AM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

I didn't like Kilborn on ESPN, The Daily Show, or the Late, Late Show; calling him unfunny is being polite. I feel the same way about Colbert, and Stewart is rapidly approaching the same fate.

 
At August 20, 2007 6:26 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Martin: Great example of a career taken over by profanity. Sam Kinison might also qualify, but he was diversifying when he died, so I'm not sure.

Pixie: I'll drink to that!

Bruce: Let's agree to disagree. I liked Kilborn's timing and style, and I find Colbert's parody of the O'Reilly types excellent. On Stewart, I think we're getting closer!

-- david

 
At August 20, 2007 4:09 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

I have no issue with profanity in moderation, but I think when it's overdone it's a sign of creative laziness. It means the person dropping the "F", "S", or any other Bomb like a sumo wrestler with diarrhea lacks the creativity to come up with better material.

I actually miss Kilborn on that show, I know I'm in the minority. I also enjoyed Kilborn's fake news bits on his short-lived late-night talk show-- "Tonight's fake news is brought to you by salt and butter... Have some salt and butter." (I don't know why but I found that to be utterly hilarious).

 
At August 22, 2007 7:51 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

I'm so outta the loop...I have never seen The Daily Show.

My bad...;(

 
At August 22, 2007 11:10 AM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

I agree 100% David. Colbert has even been a little dry lately...

 
At August 22, 2007 11:36 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

David, here you go!

http://www.jumptheshark.com/index.jspa

 
At August 22, 2007 2:16 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Perplexio: We see eye to eye on this, as on many other things.

PQ: Watch reruns of old shows, you're better off that way.

GW: In the past few weeks, I've seen some brilliant spots on Colbert and some rather lackluster ones.

LIsa: How about that--a whole community built around the phrase. BTW, I agree with the consensus on the site that Scrubs hasn't "jumped the shark" yet.

-- david

 
At August 23, 2007 7:39 AM, Blogger DaBich replied to my musings ...

Stacy ~ you and me both! I've never watched it and I don't think I care to after this post LOL. I'd rather watch the lightning and listen to the thunder ;)

 
At August 26, 2007 10:05 AM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

I am gonna have that song in my head all day now!

Colbert has talent, but I did not like him getting his own show. It did seem to ruin Stewart a bit. But I ain't gotta worry about it too much being that I can never stay awake that late anymore.

 
At August 26, 2007 7:57 PM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

yep, its been stuck in my head all day

 
At September 07, 2007 11:44 AM, Blogger Scott Roche replied to my musings ...

Hey! Found your site thanks to your guest post on TAGB. I totally agree that the show isn't what it used to be. IMO it's because John and crew are being a little to "political". I mean I know it's a show that's meant to parody political news shows, but now it's trying to make political statements. Colbert still rocks and I hope he'll be around for years to come.

 

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