My Mother in Law* has a theory. She thinks that all men become miserable when they hit middle age, and remain so until they fall willingly into their inevitable graves. I assume she's known one or two men in her life, and his not wholly basing this on the fact that I don't dance on the tables, or run around the house whooping when she comes to stay?
I was reflecting on this, whilst watching an old episode of Dad's Army the other night. I enjoyed it, but didn't laugh once. I can't use the excuse that I had seen it before and knew what was coming, because I didn't. My enjoyment was wholly based around the nostalgia and the warm feelings invoked by these cuddly duffers. Conclusion? Either it wasn't funny or I've lost my ability to find it funny?
I tried to think about anything on TV or Films that I've seen recently or even semi-recently that had made me laugh, and came up completely dry.
Now I don't think I have become a total miserable bastard. I laugh a lot in social situations, and at work we have moments of extreme hilarity daily. Usually in the middle of something quite stressful and the expense of some poor bugger who said or done something stupid, which has resulted in an extensive piss-take. Of course the 'poor bugger' is always out of earshot. We laugh a good deal though.
I'd also exclude live stand-up shows, which by virtue of the shared experience, rapport and atmosphere will have me rolling in the aisles. Unless it's Lenny Henry of course (his accent irritates me).
So are TV and Films not funny anymore? Is it that I've become like that legendary cheerful bastard, Paul Simon and '..I don't find this stuff amusin' anymore'?
Admittedly, I don't watch many new shows, but have tried to get into newer stuff like Little Britain and The Mighty Boosh, but both left me cold. I liked both The Office and Extras, and DO remember laughing at the Extras episode with Kate Winslet in. Once.
None of them are a patch on A Little Bit of Fry and Laurie or Vic Reeves Big Night Out which had my younger self bandaging my ribs.
Likewise with films. I've seen the latest American comedies with Saturday Night Live performers promoted into celluloid starring roles, Stiller and Ferrell and Carrell et al, but barely an 'hmph' of mirth has passed my lips at their 'hilarious' antics.
Nothing like the exhaustion I felt leaving a screening of The Man With Two Brains where I laughed so hard I almost broke in two.
So, am I wrong? Is anything funny today? Or is, as I'm starting to fear, my Mother in Law* right?
As a lazy end of the week embed, here's something that also made young VS laugh hard. Steve Martin, before he started taking himself too seriously, making a teenage Jonathan Ross look distinctly out of his depth..