Instagram Comedians are Killing Comedy
It’s 2017, I shouldn’t have to write a post about why rape and sexual assault are not punchlines.
I’ll be honest, I enjoyed Vine in its early days. It was fun but after a couple of years you could tell it was losing steam and people were moving on to bigger and better things, like Instagram videos. When Instagram introduced fifteen second videos, we all knew Vine was on its way out but what we weren’t prepared for was longer videos from “Vine Stars” who are now Internet Personalities or Social Influencers. They moved their material to a different platform and made it longer. Now it’s longer than ever since Instagram keeps increasing its video bandwidth.
And oh my god, it’s so bad.
If you frequent the Instagram explore page, you will occasionally come across videos labeled “Comedians”. When I first saw it, I thought cool, I like comedy, and innocently clicked to sit through trainwreck after trainwreck but now I think deeply about all the time I wasted trying to laugh. Why didn’t I just watch that new Mike Birbiglia special like I had planned? I whisper as I cry myself to sleep. When I watch these videos, I’m almost certain my brain puts itself in a coma so that it doesn’t have to witness this incessant garbage. At least that’s what I’ve convinced myself because if something is labeled “comedy” my brain is prepared to laugh but once I watch one of these videos, my brain feels betrayed. Even if it doesn’t make me laugh, I should be able to watch the material and think “that was funny” in the VERY least. However, I may think this material is bad but apparently millions of viewers find it entertaining and enjoyable so,
I guess, what the hell do I know??
As a comedian, I know that people won’t always find the same things funny. I get that. I also get that I’m not going to find every single video funny but hoe tell me how I have found not a single one funny; not even chuckle-worthy. I don’t particularly love Hannibal Burress’s stand up but I know that he is definitely telling jokes that are actually funny to someone. I also know that he’s a great performer, i.e. Broad City. When I watch Instagram comedy, I’m rattling my brain to figure out who these millions of viewers are that find this demonstrably damaging claptrap funny.
Instagram comedians can neither do comedy nor perform it well. For years, SNL has been scrutinized for weak writing and performances but honestly, as we are now witnessing, it could be so much worse. SNL could’ve given us Instagram comedy 40 years ago. Can you imagine Steve Martin or Eddie Murphy writing and performing Instagram comedy? Fuck no. They are so above that. And it’s SNL, the program everyone loves to shit on. Sure, they have their issues with lack of diversity and aiding in humanizing 45 but for fuck’s sake at least their writers are educated, specifically in comedy. I’m just saying, maybe it wouldn’t hurt Instagram comedians to take an improv or sketch writing class, like please I’m fucking begging at this point. Because I know they’re not going anywhere so the least they can do is go to comedy school.
Maybe I’m being elitist about comedy but you know what fuck it.
If comedy is your career, it should be taken seriously and there should be a sense of pride in it. You should be allowed to be elitist about something you really give a fuck about. Comedians invest time and money on honing their craft just like any other profession. Maybe these Instagram comedians don’t want to be Louis C.K. or Tina Fey but they need to recognize that their terrible comedy reaches millions upon millions of viewers and they are now responsible for setting the tone for what is funny to a whole generation of young idiots.
Not only are these videos not funny, they are also kind of repulsive. These people are most definitely social influencers in a big way. There “comedy” reaches millions of viewer including impressionable children who take part in social media and witness “comedians” making light of sexual assault and rape. At least with stand up comedians that make insensitive jokes, we can try and control what kids are seeing of that specific comedian’s because their material is usually rated R or you can only catch them live at comedy clubs. But these assholes rule the internet and put their shitty shit up for everyone to see, including kids who now think rape is a punchline.
If you want an excuse to post videos of your abs or just be nekkid, then do it. Don’t do it in the guise of comedy. Just post videos and pictures of yourself being beautiful; that’s fine, no one will complain. I like booties. But don’t you dare insult my intelligence by calling what is obviously meant to be one thing something else. Basically, don’t call your bullshit comedy. Stop that. Instagram comedians think that putting that punch/gun sound at the end of their video dignifies what they believe is a punchline. With these Instagram comedy videos, there is no rhyme or reason. You can tell that they made certain videos just to use a prop they found on Amazon or a camel (?) wtf or to use a song they like or something equally irrelevant. Most of the videos captioned “When you…” are not even relatable to the people watching OR making the video.
The sad thing about it is that someone is actually spending time writing, planning, and producing this horrendous abuse of internet power. There’s literally a group of people sitting around going “you know what’s funny? A CRAZY EX.. AHAHAHAHAH” as if it’s never been done before. They can’t even get creative with an unorginal idea. And I find this so offensive to creators in the digital world who are really good at what they do. It takes a lot of guts and it’s hard work, yo. I know that. With the millions of views Instagram comedians get, the one thing they do manage to make a joke of is every good independent digital creator’s work. There are great examples of YouTube personalities and then there are not so great examples but nothing comes close to the shittiness that is Instagram comedy.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely funny stuff on Instagram just not what Instagram personally labels as comedy.