All I know is that when Ghostbusters became my favorite movie of all time back when I was in 3rd grade–I was eight–I didn’t see people rocking chiaroscuro Bill Murray bumper stickers on their Jeeps, or on their tee-shirts, worrying about their hipster status while sipping a PBR. When did that start happening?
I missed something, clearly. Stand-up comedy will always be at the foreground of the genre I believe, but take a closer look at some of the great American comedy sketch television shows of our time: Saturday Night Live. In Living Color. MadTV. Chappelle’s Show. From these three legendary shows alone do we know and readily acknowledge a majority of the once and/or future grandmasters of American comedy: Chevy Chase. Bill Murray. Dan Aykroyd. Will Ferrell. Jim Carrey. The Wayans Family. Jamie Foxx. Eddie Murphy. Tina Fey. Bill Hader. Dave Chappelle. Jimmy Fallon. John Belushi. Aries Spears. Key and Peele. This list goes on, and on, and on. If you missed comedy stand-up power hours in the form of Def Comedy Jam or weren’t allowed to see the live shows with the R-rated language, chances are you missed out on the jump-starting of careers of some of the aforementioned comedians, as well geniuses such as Richard Pryor, Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence, or Tracy Morgan.
Now we’re in a very interesting age of comedy, where older, established grandmasters such as Chase and Murray are practically worshiped, even if their current careers indicate no electric activity, and where writer-director-producer-screenwriter-comedian Judd Apatow has changed the face of comedy forever. His ragtag crew of hilarious, consistent collaborators, including Jay Burachel, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, and Steve Carrell, is on the foreground of comedy and they have pressed into a number of frighteningly impressive ventures. Hill, for instance, has been nominated for both Academy Awards and Golden Globes for his respective supporting roles in Moneyball, alongside Brad Pitt, and in The Wolf of Wall Street, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. In a similar move to Robert Downey Jr’s 2008 casting as Marvel superhero Iron Man, Paul Rudd, with his awkwardly unique sense of humor and knack for realistically funny retorts, has recently been cast as an Avenger–the title character in Edgar Wright’s upcoming 2015 Marvel Comics film, Ant-Man. He will more than likely reprise the role in the third and presumably final Avengers film.
Maybe I’ve just been sleeping, but has comedy–and have comedians–always had these heights conquered? Because Richard Pryor’s deuteragonist in Superman III does not cut it. I’m just thinking too hard perhaps. That, or it’s that I’m still not over the very recent death of comedy legend Harold Ramis, who legitimately had a special place in my heart ever since I was a child. His role as Ghostbuster Dr. Egon Spengler will live on forever.
Now go laugh. See you tomorrow.