Thursday, April 7, 2011

Another Sign of Aging: Comedic Apathy

Last Monday, we rented a copy of “Megamind” from the local Redbox (I know; how quaint). I very much like the storyline to that one. And the voice acting – especially on the parts of Megamind himself and Minion – is wonderful.

Problem is: I don’t really know who Will Ferrell and Tina Fey are.

Oh, I know they’re big. Real big. Biggly big as far as movies and Saturday Night Live and such go. But I don’t watch a lot of movies. I don’t watch SNL. I don’t watch “The Office” or “30 Rock” or anything else these people may appear in. I have, in fact, been out of toch with 99.9 percent of popular culture for more than a decade.

Insert obligatory Grampa Simpson quote here: “I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was. What I was with wasn’t it, and what was it seemed new and scary to me. It’ll happen to you!”

It has.

So when I’m watching a movie and someone else gets really excited because Ferrell or Fey or Steve Carrell is in it, I say “Who?” then follow that up with something intelligent like, “Oh. That guy.”

It’s not that I find them uninteresting or unfunny, it’s just that, for the most part, they’re outside my current circle of interests. They may have a rich, comedic influence on current American society, but my intersection with that circle is spotty. I just have other things to do. And that’s fine. They obviously don’t need me to flourish.

And that circle goes both ways.

Consider Pixar’s Up. First time I saw it and heard Carl Frederickson speak, I said, yeah, that’s Ed Asner. Many of the younger folks, however, had a reaction similar to mine: “Who? Oh. That guy.” But I watched Mary Tyler Moore when it was on the air. I watched Lou Grant. I am a pop culture fossil. It’s quite possible my pop culture circle stopped expanding in the mid-1980s. I know a hell of a lot more about the Carol Burnett Show and Hee-Haw than do those of the current generation. I am pop-culturally rich, though my riches may appear to be as ancient as doubloons (or Daffy Ducks’ triploons and quadrooploons) to the infants of today.

So maybe I don’t feel so bad about not really knowing who Ferrell and Carrell and Fey are any more.

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