Episode 49 – Comedic Theory and the Atheism of Doom

This week’s episode features a conversation with comedian Joseph Scrimshaw, author of Comedy of Doom.  Joseph sat down with us to talk about comedic theory, atheism and his new Kickstarter campaign for Flaw Fest.* Joseph is also a podcaster and Molly will be appearing on a live recording of his podcast, Obsessed: with Joseph Scrimshaw at CONvergence this year.  We talk about all of this and more in our far reaching conversation that, of course, includes five questions of doom!  We also have a chance for you to win Joseph’s Comedy album “Verbing the Noun!

*Note – since the episode was recorded, Tim’s band, The Dregs, have been signed up to write and record a song should the Kickstarter be successful.

Show notes below the fold:

Follow Joseph on Twitter here.

Follow Mr. Suckface on Twitter here.

Tim mentions Nordling’s review of Cabin in the Woods on Aint-it-Cool-News.

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4 Responses to Episode 49 – Comedic Theory and the Atheism of Doom

  1. This is from Keith Lowell Jensen, who used to do “Atheist Church” on YouTube:

    Keith: Knock-knock.

    Audience: Who’s there?

    Keith: The atheist.

    Audience: The atheist who?

    Keith: The ath – you know what, I’m sorry, never mind. I forgot. We don’t actually knock on your door and bug you when you’re doing other things.

    The clip this is from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QfRv62Oulc

  2. Albatross says:

    My comedic principle is “Comedy is dangerous.” By this I mean that comedy is most effective when it toes or crosses lines. If you’re telling jokes that threaten no one, you’re not really doing your job as a comic IMO. The job of comedy is to illuminate life’s contrasts in order to challenge the audience to re-evaluate those contrasts. If you illuminate contrast without challenge, you comfort the comfortable, and that’s not IMO the job of comedians.

    The other meaning of “Comedy is dangerous” is as a warning – one should not attempt comedy if one is not prepared for the (often unforeseen) repercussions. Not merely the joke that is misheard or alternatively interpreted to hurt or cause unintended offense, although that’s always a danger. But the joke that causes repercussions that one ought to be able to fully anticipate. In other words, don’t try comedy if you’re not ready for the repercussions.

    In short, if you’re going to do comedy you ought to be doing comedy that discomfits the comfortable and risks repercussions. If you’re not doing comedy that pushes boundaries, you’re not doing comedy hard enough.

    Just my POV.

  3. Remember ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’? In there the hero learns what it means to be human by watching chimp beat each other up. And started Laughing. Then a discussion on what is humor. Heinlein states that humor involves ‘pain’ or ‘suffering’ in some fashion. Any joke that is falling down funny must involve some form of ‘pain’ that the receiver can empathize with or it wont work. Which is why puns and word plays do not actually make you REALLY laugh. The laughter is a way to release the tension of the stress caused by the empathizing with the ‘pain’ of the joke.
    I have been looking at the jokes that make me really laugh and so far this has held true.
    The ‘pain’ can be physical-emotional-insults-implied.etc.

  4. I’ll disagree only insofar as your comment that puns and word plays don’t really make you laugh. Good puns and world play make me laugh in a manner that is completely genuine.

    And I believe they fit the definition of causing “pain” in that we have a certain expectation of how the joke is going to go and puns/word play jokes are in conflict with what we expect. That conflict causes itellectual pain that finds a release through laughter.