Why 2 Gryphon is not a comedian; according to 2 Gryphon
If you were to Google the definition of a comedian you would see it defined by Dictionary.com as an entertainer whose act is designed to make an audience laugh. Likewise the New York Times has a comedy critic, Jason Zinoman, who defines comedy in a moment of reflecting on his own career of analyzing them.
This often dictates the form of my column, since while the goal of comedy is to make you laugh, what’s fascinating about the art form — especially these days, when it’s so fragmented and aesthetically diverse — is that there are many ways artists accomplish that goal.
However, if you were to ask one furry who considers himself one, 2 Gryphon, you’d find an entirely different etymology of the word, and what the job of a comic is.
It's the JOB of the comic to bring forth uncomfortable things and question them in a way that makes people think about them.Since that has become "wrong", expect that the Western world will not be laughing as much. https://t.co/EIExUX5W2h— 2, The Ranting Gryphon (@2_gryphon) June 9, 2019
It is this quote that we are going to be over-analysing today. I have broken this down into three main points as to why this definition of the job of a comedian is not only a fundamental misunderstanding of the role, but also a resignation of the foundational principles of comedy.
Problem One: Call Me Old Fashioned…
When I personally think of the definition of a comic, the primary thing I think of is laughter. Because catalyzing such a response should, and should always be, the primary function of a comic. You can sprinkle in items of political politics or philosophical philosophy, sure. But if there is no laughter, there is no comedy happening. Like the above phrases comedy and laughter should be a redundancy. If you are saying one the other is implied.
A comic by that definition is no easy job, it requires an understanding of language and society that is quite deep. One has to be an assassin of simile, a master of metaphor, a player with punchlines. Once one reaches that level, then and only then can they comfortably start to dance with the dangerous dialogs dealing with devastating dilemmas that divide the denizens. Given the rapid changing sentiment of sensibilities, along with the trending globalization of culture, doing that dance becomes all the more precarious in time.
However, should the comic leave laughter behind at any time during this dance, they risk transforming themselves into something else entirely. And to me the quote by 2 about the scope of work of a comedian highlights his transformation, and that of “comics” like him.
“Comics”, which will be put in quotes when referring to it under the gryphon’s definition, will like to point out that those changing social dynamics are why people are ostracizing individuals such as themselves. They’re being put in a cage by those dang sensitive SJWs, or some such pejoratives. However, it must be noted that even according to modern sensibilities George Carlin is still seen as a titan of comedy during his time on this Earth. In his day, there were plenty of people who complained about Carlin’s comedy, particularly the religious.
So from what can be seen, criticism and people decrying “not funny” to comedians actually hasn’t changed as much as the “comics” would lead you to believe. What has changed is the way some of those on the stage have chosen to deal with it. The “comic” will preach at the audience about how offended people are, instead of making their counter-critique into a bit and transforming it into a joke.
Carlin did toss his punches at these critics periodically in his day, proving their ever-presence in culture. However it should be emphasized that Carlin moved on and didn’t obsess over people who didn’t find him funny. He kept to his job’s primary function of laughter. Despite having grievances of dealing with these people, he never lingered and preached about it. But it seems to be becoming more frequent these days by those on the stage.
Call me old fashioned, but I miss when comics remembered to focus on laughter first, and keep their preachy grievances to themselves. Or if you’re going to file a grievance, make your audience laugh while doing it. The audience is not there to take on the comedian’s angst. They are there to alleviate their own. If one forgets that, then that “comic” should not be surprised when they find themselves replaced by someone who remembers it.
Problem Two: Role Redundancies
In speaking of jobs and roles, there is something else wrong with 2 Gryphon’s quote. This can be discovered easily by playing a game of Family Feud with the definition given by Mr. Gryphon. We did a survey of 100 people, the top answers are on the board: “Name a profession that brings forth uncomfortable things and questions them in a way that makes people think about them.” What do you think the survey would say?
The first thing that comes to my mind as the possible top answer is a preacher. Which not only was a word that was quite pervasive in the earlier section, but was also what 2 Gryphon worked as in a previous lifetime. This background could prove a bit problematic if a comedian starts taking the role of the preacher, because proselytizing by those with religious zeal is what tends to make people feel grief and anguish that they go to comedians to alleviate.
You don’t need to believe in any invisible sky person to become infested with zealotry. Sometimes the biggest zealots are those that don’t believe in a God. For thou must believe in comedy as it shall raise you above the monotony. If you do not believe in the funny, then you shall not be saved. America continues down her dark and humorless path, and if she continues down that path she will find herself in the depths of comedy hell, presumably where all the bureaucrats go.
Other answers one could think of that may be on the board I have listed below. Some of them I actually got from my Twitter feed proposing the question as an open ended statement, which are linked:
- Politicians- Who usually speaks a truth their constituents are concerned about.
- Philosophers - A sort of secular derivative of a preacher.
- Scientists- whose findings seem to make people more uncomfortable these days. Like “the planet is on fire”, “vaccinations are good for you.”, or “you should stay home during a pandemic”
- Attorneys- There may be some reasonable doubt about this one
- Teacher- You learned WHAT in school?
- Doctor/Vet - The prognosis of the one you love is not good, do you want us to keep them comfortable or continue fighting?
- Therapist - I’m embarassed to say that though this is obvious, I didn’t think of it myself.
- Bank Teller - Anubis, you are overdrawn
- Newsperson/critic - I guess what I do would be an acceptable answer?
Comedian may be on the board somewhere, but it would probably be at the bottom section of the list, as it isn’t the first thing people think about when it comes to that definition.
What I am saying is that this concept that 2 Gryphon puts forth as being the role of the comedian is actually shared by so many other roles in life that it is not a defining feature. Which then makes you ask, what is the defining feature? This would make you put the ‘ha’ in ‘ah-ha’.
Problem Three: Contemplate my words, just don’t take them seriously.
So many people who have read up to this point may think I’m over analyzing 2’s words. That as a comic, his lines should always be taken as a joke or in jest. Many who defend his jokes say that they should be treated as sacred items because they are just a joke because he's a comic.
However, under the way Mr. Gryphon just defined a comic, we are now required to interpret the words of the “comic” with serious thought. Because it is not the job of the comedian to make people laugh. It’s not the job of a comedian to just do it for the lulz. It is instead, as he sees it, the job of the “comic” to challenge their audience’s political or spiritual philosophy.
The punchline here is when the fandom has done this serious contemplation of his words in the past, and taken it as something to give consideration for debate, the “comic”, or his fans, will in turn become a wall to this discussion. “You’re taking his words too seriously. He’s just a comic.”
You can’t have it both ways. You cannot demand that people take your words with absolute seriousness because you are a comic and proclaim it’s your job to challenge people’s viewpoints, but when people counter that view point with their own jokes or thoughts, then hide behind the wall that a comedian is beyond reproach because they are just jokes. Clearly demanding both is to demand the impossible. You are stating that people should both listen and take a comedian’s words seriously, but your audience can’t rebuff the comedian’s words as absurd in a non-comedic way because the person on stage is just a comic.
The above paragraph is quite circular, so you can imagine that it can lead to quite a bit of frustration on the part of the critic. It’s a paradoxical shield used by many in the business who are bad at it, and usually serves as the first line of defense. Perhaps, instead in those moments the comic could listen to the critic’s words which reveal harsh truths in and of themselves. By listening the professional could learn and improve, yeah? Nah, those people are just humorless, stay the course and never change. You’ll be filling up those comedy clubs in no time.
It seems more and more these days that “comics” want to be the emperor, but unlike the emperor they don’t want to go through the effort it takes to put on the robe. And they’re not even going to point out how goofy it is that they’re running around naked as a result.
And that’s supposed to be their job!
Losing a job you never really understood
Due to the rules of Flayrah, I obviously have to mark this as an opinion piece, because despite what I’m stating is a fact based on the above statement and evidence, it’s quite a provocative statement for me to say. There is of course those who will defend 2’s right to call himself a comedian because he calls himself one and that is good enough. This is why I am obligated to mark this as an opinion piece. However, in some people’s opinion the United States didn’t land on the moon, so I guess in this brave new world we’ll have to label documentaries of the lunar landings as opinion pieces.
The Gryphon’s own definition of a comic has nothing to do with invoking laughter in others and thus alleviating tensions in some way. To any comedian that should be the bare minimal standards of being a comic. The fact that since that is the foundation of comedy and that it’s no where in 2’s definition of a comic, it is clear he doesn’t know what a comedian is, and thus it's not his goal to be one. A person doing a job without knowing their scope of work are going to start doing things outside their job’s function at some point. Those people typically don’t have that job for long. And that is why he had lost his stage time more than being a victim of political extremism as has been proclaimed. There were other furry comedians who were ready to fill that role of helping their audience laugh. You know, that thing comedians are supposed to do.
If a comedian's job truly is what the Gryphon states and is to make someone think about things that make them uncomfortable and not include laughing about or at them, then maybe that is the reason that the Western world isn't going to be laughing as much as it used to. The fault is not the SJWs, but "comedians" trying to change the role of comedians.
I end this with the words of one self-proclaimed “comic”: maybe just because you say you identify as something, doesn’t necessarily make you that thing. Maybe he should come up with a new name for this reinvention of "comedy" rather than trying to reinvent furry fandom. At least then I could stop using the quote button so much.