Hack movies vs. hack comedians

Mike Lawrence is a funny comic who's a student of both comedy and movies. I know he hates hack comedians but I also know he goes to see a ton of movies, including plenty of bad ones (e.g. Transformers 2, comic book-inspired flicks, etc.). I read something that made me think about that...

Me:

saw this (link)...

"People complain about Hollywood's tendency to be unadventurous with its big-money titles, but the moviegoing masses clearly get the most excited when they are not being surprised. In other words, the multiplex really rocks when movies are served up the McDonalds way: predictably and comfortably. 'Transformers' is definitely that."

...and thought of you. question: how can you hate hack comedians so much yet still (i think) go see so many hack movies? isn't that why Hollywood makes so many bad movies? explain yourself!!? ; )


Mike:

I'm personally involved in comedy and so I demand more from it.

And I hope that great films get made, but I do have fun watching some of the bad ones. And let's be clear here: Star Trek, Iron Man, Dark Knight, and Up are all big budget summer movies that were highly marketed but are also genuinely great films. Transformers isn't a good movie. I didn't think it would be, but it was fun to watch on a sunday matinee with a buddy and make fun of it the same way I would during a [redacted] set.


Me:

Fair enough. But we all vote with our dollars. By buying a ticket, you're encouraging Hollywood to make more movies like that. Couldn't it be argued that, in effect, you're keeping the Dane Cooks/Carlos Mencias/Blue Collar Tour guys of the movie world at the top of the Hollywood heap?

(yes, I'm just being difficult)


Mike:

Yes it could. And you know what, I hope they do. I need movies like that every once in a while. I'll openly admit, that my tastes have eroded a bit since I started living here and a lot of that has to do with how much money I make and how little time I have to do anything. I used to go to independent movies all the time. I don't anymore. I want a big experience that entertains me. And there are millions of people like that.

It's very easy to shit on the Mencias and Cooks and Cable Guys (And I will continue to), but the truth is, they do stuff that's appealing to the lower class. We often don't. Go to an open mic and it's a lot of stuffy, pseudo-intellectual "look how fucking smart I am" whiny, self-indulgent bullshit. And I admit, I contribute to that whole-heartedly. What I don't do, is openly appeal to the lower classes. Those comics do. And thank god someone does.

When I'm at my job and I talk to people about pop culture it's very different than when I'm with other comics. Movies,comedy,music,etc. is just one more thing for us comics to over-analyze. To people making 8 dollars an it's just an hour they don't have to worry about how they'll take care of their kids or worry about what happens when they get sick and don't have insurance.

So basically, yes Transformers and Mencia are examples of bad art. But they do so serve a purpose that thankfully you don't have to worry about understanding.


Ah, if only I could stop myself from worrying about Transformers and Mencia. Actually, what if Mencia is really a Transformer??? That would explain so much.

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10 Comment(s)

Blogger RG Daniels said...

I think we all know who's name was redacted from Mike's response. Am I right fellas?

7/13/09, 12:52 PM  
Blogger myq said...

I was just reading "And Here's the Kicker," wherein one of the interviewees brings up Steve Martin (among a couple other examples) as someone who appeals to smart people and dumb people. (And I don't mean to directly correlate "rich and poor" with "smart and dumb" in response to Mike Lawrence's assessment that Blue Collar comedy is meant to appeal to the lower classes... Technically speaking, I'd say that lots of the "look how smart I am" comics at an open mic often could be poorer than people who can afford to go see Larry the Cable Guy in concert.)

It's amazing when comedians CAN appeal to nearly everyone who sees them (Regan and Chappelle spring to mind, though I'm sure they have some limited amount of detractors as well), but certainly not everyone can. Or should.

As far as what we can or should do... Matt brought up voting with one's dollars (which, interestingly, should be something that the upper class should have more power to do, no? because I hear the top 1% of the population controls something like 95% of the wealth, so if it's all class-based, then rich people need to get their shit together), but most of the time with comedy (unlike movies), I'm not paying for it (except for DVDs and CDs, where certainly the bulk of my purchases fall along the lines of stuff I like and respect, though I will purchase cheap used copies of people I don't particularly like, for comedy education and such). So is there really a parallel that can be drawn from paying to see shitty movies to not paying to talk shit about shitty comics?

I'm all for voting to give as much power to those who I respect, but most of my voting gets done with words instead of money. I vote that we vote with words. With words, I vote that.

We should watch the comedians we like, and encourage other people to learn and know about the comedians we respect and want people to know about, and if people are interested, even let people in on the dirt about who's a thief and such, because there are lots of people who don't know and would be interested (though probably not as many as know and don't care).

Love,
Not a rich person.

7/13/09, 1:37 PM  
Blogger myq said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/13/09, 1:37 PM  
Anonymous londoncalling said...

lower class ? oooh how snobby and elitist does that sound ?

7/13/09, 2:03 PM  
Blogger myq said...

Not very? Sounds more like a definition than anything?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_lower_class

Also, the reason one of my comments was deleted was either because my browser was weird and published the same post twice OR there's some secret information that isn't available to be perused by the common blog-reader. Elite only, everyone!

There's a reason that "elite" is the middle part of "deleted."
(Works better spoken.)

7/13/09, 2:12 PM  
Blogger myq said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/13/09, 2:13 PM  
Blogger Danny Solomon said...

This is an example of "Businessman Lawrence." Ask him about Tyler Perry sometime.

7/13/09, 2:27 PM  
Blogger Mo Diggs said...

Does hack exist in the independent film world or alternative comedy world?

Here's a great article that pretty much attacks the hacks of indie cinema and comedy.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200709/quirk

7/13/09, 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Mike Lawrence said...

I grew up in a trailer park,and have worked minimum wage jobs for ten years and I can tell you the conversations I have about movies and pop culture in general are nothing like the ones I have before shows or when I was in college. There's is some correlation between class and quality. Obviously there are exceptions, but I don't think the issue can be outright ignored.

And my opinion on Tyler Perry is that you can criticize his films all you want but no one else is even making an attempt to cater his core audience and you have to applaud him for that.

7/13/09, 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hack Movies forever! www.hackmovies.com !

7/13/09, 5:14 PM