Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Philosophy of Humor

I’d never want to write a book on philosophy of humor, partly because I fear that analyzing humor too much could take all the fun out of it. But for me, the best comedy is unpredictable. I hate lazy humor. This is why I don’t like most sit-coms, and why I’d always pick Conan O’Brien over Jay Leno. Leno’s a gifted stand-up comedian, but the jokes in his monologue are usually the sort of generic riffing on the day’s events that any writer could come up with. O’Brien is not like that so much—he has bursts of creativity that I’ve never seen from Leno. You can see this in O’Brien’s twitter feed. After he lost the Tonight Show, O’Brien opened a twitter account and now tweets once a day. Not every tweet is a gem, but one from August 28 made me laugh out loud. Here’s what he said.

I may be jumping into this whole Muslim controversy a little late, but really? He's going to call himself Kareem Abdul Jabbar?

No doubt after the first sentence you thought he was going to make a statement about the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York City. But O’Brien takes it in a different direction by jumping instead (“a little late”) into the 1971 controversy that surrounded basketball star Lew Alcindor’s conversion to Islam and subsequent name change. O’Brien is a bright guy. If you need a laugh, I’d recommend looking at his twitter page: http://twitter.com/ConanObrien.

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