Recently I was hired as a comedy consultant to help some brand creatives think outside the box.
Normally I despise hearing people talk seriously about comedy. But the money was good.
Turns out the only thing worse than witnessing a panel on comedy is being part of a panel on comedy. People made sweeping generalizations and self-important observations. It was a difficult 75 minutes.
I did two things to simultaneously take my role seriously and (kind of) subvert it.
First, I arrived dressed as Dr. Millard Rausch, the jerk who appears on the panel show in George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD. (Fans will remember I wore this costume when I hosted Kevin Geeks Out About Dummy Deaths — honestly, it works better with the beard.)
Second, I tried to answer vague questions with a painstaking amount of detail.
For example, the bizarro question packet wanted to know “What are the genres of comedy?”
I suppose they want simple answers like “parody” and “slapstick.”
Instead I wrote up 125 different genres of comedy.
I figured it would be fun audience participation, they could shout out a number and I’d reveal the specific sub-genre I listed. And it pointed out how dumb the question is in the first place.
After the panel I never heard back from the agency — dashing my hopes of a lucrative consulting position. But here’s my official comedy research listing the 125 genres of comedy. (I could’ve listed more, but I think I made my obnoxious point, don’t you?)
125 Comedy Genres
2.Greek plays by Aristophanes with lots of phalluses.
3.Pre-Civil War Minstrel Show
4.Internet Cat-based humor
5.Porn parodies of popular culture
6.Political cartoons with too many metaphors
7.Nostalgia-based coming-of-age storytelling
8.Post-PORKY’S teen sex comedies screened late at night on basic cable with all the dirty parts edited out
9.Humorous fortune cookie
12.Summer camp comedy sketch
13.Final news story of the night
16.Mash-up videos of movie trailers
17.1960’s beach movie, incorporating Cold War politics, jewel thieves and one-hit wonder band.
18.Hidden camera prank series
19.Dating-themed Reality Show based on print-ad campaign characters
20.Mean-spirited twitter obituaries made while the celebrity corpse is still warm
21.Bootleg audio cassettes of Prank phone calls
22.Post-Civil War Minstrel Show
23.Direct-to-video feature film comedies licensing the National Lampoon brand name
25.Ironic viewing of 1940’s hygiene films
26.Comedy sketches performed by college Acappella group in-between songs.
27.Live-tweets of Televised Republican Debates
28.Post-modern television sitcom in which characters sometimes deliver their lines to camera and acknowledge that it’s a TV show.
30.Brilliantly conceived Branded Content
31.Dramedy directed at audience members preparing for a mid-life crisis
32.Long-running British sitcom you have no desire to watch
33.Drag Queen humor
34.Three-panel newspaper comic strip
35.Multi-award winning web-series you’ve never heard of
36.Las Vegas Comedy Show utilizing impressions of celebrities who have been dead for over 20 years
38.Tumblr blog dedicated to single-issue (i.e. celebrity plastic surgery gone wrong)
40.Character-based long-form CGI animation for children of all ages
41.Basic cable clip-show featuring comedians you’ve never heard of commenting on “fair-use” clips
42.Podcast you have been meaning to listen to, but can’t seem to get around to.
43.Classist websites devoted to the unfortunate exploits of “dumb” criminals
44.Forwarded email listing jokes falsely attributed to George Carlin, Jay Leno, Stephen Wright or Larry the Cable Guy.
45.Non-televised Friar’s Club Roast
46.Irreverent bumper sticker
47.Middle-of-the-road name comedian appearing at early morning corporate event for $2500
48.Morning Radio Zoo Crew riffing on current events
49.Mobile media that recaps last night’s reality show winners and losers
51.Magazine section devoted to photo-based reviews of fashion disasters
52.Pun used on pajama top of a child who cannot yet read
53.Live stand-up comedy album
54.3D View-master reel summarizing an episode of a live-action TV series.
55.Improv comedy show centered around a Fantasy series (Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter)
56.Internet Fan Fiction
57.Self-published ‘zines devoted to movies that are “so bad they’re good”
58.“Kids says the darndest things” Facebook Status Updates