Friday, June 2, 2023
No Laughing Matter: ‘Life of Brian’ is the Latest Battleground for the Future of Comedy - The Messenger
The attack on Cleese’s script should be the height of ironic humor. The movie featuring humorless, clueless activists with no sense of self-awareness is now being targeted by some of the very same characters in real life.
The problem is that the loss of such humor will only increase the rage in society. The ability to laugh about ourselves and others can help vent social pressures and force people out of their myopic, monotonous perspectives.
In the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, comedian Robin Williams left the country rolling in laughter over his role as disc jockey Adrian Cronauer, who savaged every possible political, religious and racial group. His nemesis, Lt. Steven Hauk, fails to replace him on-air with Hauk’s own safe, unfunny jokes.When a general refuses to take Cronauer off the air, Hauk defiantly declares: "Sir, in my heart, I know I'm funny.”
He wasn't funny, of course, which is why he needed a comedy horn to show people when to laugh. That is why we prefer to have comedies written by people like Cleese as opposed to government functionaries.
"Life of Brian" is a deeply nihilistic movie, but it is hilarious. Think of the lyrics to "Look on the Bright Side of Life:" "Life's really a piece of sh*t/When you come to think of it." Well, that's rather a socially unproductive POV. And obviously anti-Christian. But what do the censors latch on to? The scene where [what's his name] declares that he is now a woman and wants to have a baby. Ok, I get it, and it's funny. And I would not want to ban the movie. But it's just sad that that's the scene the censors want to cut out.