I am a comedian, along with a dad, husband, project manager, Condo Owner’s Board member, and dumbass. Comedians minds don’t work like everybody else’s. We struggle with the mundane, and we often have a hyper-observant nature, seeing sheer lunacy in something quite small, blowing it into zeppelin-like proportions, when really it’s no more than a child’s floating soap-bubble. All the same, leaving a shopping cart in an empty parking spot should be grounds for having one’s photo posted on a website. Oh hey… maybe I’ll start doing that…
Comedians also generalize. Broadly-sweeping statements leave us open for retort, and stating anything on the internet increases the inroads of replies by a million-fold. What humors me is the fact that many people have yet to grasp two key elements of web-published statements:
- Now that we have a chance to say something, very few people actually have something to say, but very rarely will that stop them from saying something anyway.
- When posting something in a medium that allows comments, one should expect at least SOME comments, but shouldn’t hinge one’s worth on the tone of the comment.
We’ve seen the Facebook posts of people saying they are going to lunch, YUMM!, or pictures of food-piles on plates, or statements that make us think “So you logged in to this site and out of your life to make THAT statement about some guy in a truck not knowing how to drive, yet didn’t post a picture of your abs? What’s the point?” So yeah, what’s the point?
The best comedians use an economy of language that not only describes exactly what they want to convey about their subject matter, but they also don’t generalize. To go so broadly as to say “Nobody does THIS” or “Everybody loves THAT” and NOT have an absurdity to make the statement a joke is to invite disagreement. Example:
BAD: Don’t you hate when you are taking a picture with your phone, and you drop your phone in the toilet land then you gotta let it dry? [OK, I see where it’s going, but then there’s nothing after the “phone in the toilet.” What’s the point
GOOD: Don’t you hate when you are taking a picture with your phone, and you drop your phone in the toilet, and then you gotta ask the guy in that stall to hand it back over and he’s a jerk about it? Broad, narrow, specific.
So, folks, if you’re gonna say something, say Something. Two of my favorite comedians, Marc Maron and Jake Johannsen, have two phenomenal lines that sum up our online lives.
Marc Maron (about MySpace, and it still rings true): Someday the aliens will come down here after we’re gone, and they’ll pull our old hard drives out of swamps and hook ’em up and say “Wow, they really thought they were important, didn’t they?”
Jake Johannsen (about people posting pics of their meals): Why are you showing that to people? If you think that’s normal, just hold your plate up to the table next to you and tell them “HEY! Hi! This is my food! I’m gonna eat this!” See how fast you’re asked to leave.
Oh, and Teens, please keep posting every video and picture of every debaucherous thing you do. YOLO, but you will get fired many, many times.