The State of Comedy.

After watching I Love You, Man and the new trailer for Funny People over the weekend, I had a conversation with a friend about the comedic groups that have graced the big screen for the last two decades or so. It seems like every comedy that comes out nowadays includes the same group of people. But it’s not a new trend.

The early 90s had the Adam Sandler / Rob Schneider / Allen Covert / Robert Smigel team, which transitioned to the Will Ferrell / Ben Stiller / Vince Vaughn / Owen Wilson days of the early millennium. Eventually leading to today’s Judd Apatow influenced squad of Seth Rogen / Paul Rudd / Jason Segel / Jonah Hill.

I likened it to a type of fraternity. The current crop, for example, has grown to include a number of supporting players from Bill Hader, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann, and James Franco to name a few. The professional relationships they’ve formed over the years has resulted in them dominating the genre.

My friend brought up the idea that had a movie like Billy Madison been released today, it wouldn’t have been as successful. It’s an interesting thought. One could argue that as long as a movie is funny, it would be successful no matter what era it belongs to. Which group produced the better movies overall? That’s a tougher question.

My feeling is each group is a byproduct of its generation, so it would be too difficult to compare. Being part of today’s target audience of young adults, I would choose today’s generation of comedies. I was old enough to appreciate those that came before, but they weren’t geared towards me and consequently, they were less relatable. In the end, it’s all moot. Funny is funny. Who knows when the next group will come along? We should enjoy it while we can.

– JD


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