When our grandson, who was 11 at the time, stayed with us for a week, we decided it was time to introduce him to the classics as well as to the concept that movies are best shared rather than watched alone on his own devises. So, we decided to watch the 1980 movie Airplane together, I remember laughing hysterically at it when my husband and I watched it so many years ago. I’ll confess we saw it more than once, although I doubt anyone could surpass my brother’s claim he watched Animal House over 80 times.
I guess a show that has been on the air for 49 years has to evolve, and each generation has its own concept of what is funny.
While he loved Jaws and ET, he just didn’t get why Airplane was that funny. And while we still laughed at some of the gags, the movie had its politically incorrect moments that were a bit cringe worthy. I guess the point I’m making is that comedy is generational. If my parents had watched Jack Benny or Phil Silvers or Sid Caesar or Milton Berle with my kids, I’m sure they would not have found them funny. I could barely understand why they laughed when Jack Benny, born on Valentine’s Day of 1894, insisted he was 39 years old on every birthday past 1933. Why was that so funny? 39 was pretty old.
Tommy Smothers, age 86, died recently. He was the guy on the left, jokester to his brother Dick. I loved the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late 1960s. So many others who made me laugh are now gone: SNL cast members Gilda Radner, Andy Kaufman, John Belushi, Chris Farley, John Candy, Norm McDonald, Peter Ackroyd, Phil Hartman, come to mind. So many more who could leave me in stitches are also gone – Gene Wilder, Robin Williams, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Madeline Kahn, and Garry Shandling, to name a few.
But watching today’s version of SNL usually leaves us wanting to ask our grandson why most of the skits are funny, who the musical guests are, and why the only part we sometimes like is the Weekend Update section. I guess a show that has been on the air for 49 years has to evolve, and each generation has its own concept of what is funny.
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.