Is this what a break from comedy feels like?

Holy shit, taking it easy last night and tapping out after John Hodgman was the best possible idea. I can’t really be bothered doing a huge review for John Hodgman. He was charming and deliciously verbose. He wasn’t side-splittingly funny, but seeing him perform gave the same feeling as enjoying a well crafted This American Life segment. It was a comforting shift from the standup overdose of the past few days and helped me relax. I was so relaxed that I got 8 hours sleep for the first time in too long and I feel human again.

My mind feels like a well maintained engine, slick and smooth in its operation. Perhaps this is what happens when you don’t rely entirely on caffeine for brain function. After absorbing all this comedy, my brain has tried doing bits and I decided to jot a few of them down. I don’t know if I’m gonna try standup again, but I may as well keep these somewhere in case I want to revisit them. They’re raw and not tuned, in no way would they resemble the finished product. Enough disclaimer? What’s my brain been cooking up?

 

At some stage when being a nerd was cool again, we decided to spin the wheel of cooldom a bit more and reach for hipster status. Don’t believe me? Have you ever heard someone say “I was reading Game of Thrones (well, actually… A Song of Ice and Fire) before it was a TV show”? If you have, it was probably me.

I’ve stopped watching the show though. Great show, too much rape. Too much rape. For some reason though, people try to justify it. The number of people I’ve heard say “that’s what it was like in those days, rape everywhere.” Seriously? Game of Thrones is a book. It never happened. You’re applying your “historical knowledge” to a fictional fantasy land. Don’t try to justify the rape, it’s unnecessary and gratuitous. If you’re the kind of person trying to justify Game of Thrones rape you’re probably the kind of person who’s already spent hours trying to justify your purchase of truck nuts.

I’ve stopped watching that show though and it’s not because I’m a hipster and it got too mainstream, it’s just that I wanted to get ahead on the next big thing before everyone else. Okay, so maybe I am a hipster nerd, but I’m convinced we’re two years away at max from HBO picking up James Joyce’s Ulysses.

I’m not a “cool nerd” and that’s ok. I’m a nerd, as in loving knowledge and academia. I’m the kind of nerd who treats the site TV Tropes as a leisure activity. I’ve spent so much time on there  I’ve become a trope myself. You can find me under the entry “makes friends with the corn chips at a party”.

Because being overly critical isn’t fun. If you’re the kind of person who begins most of your sentences with “well, actually…” you probably couldn’t wait to tell everybody the Sixth Sense twist in the first act.

We get it, you’re smart and that’s great, but you don’t have to give us an unsolicited red dragon with your brain boner.

So I’m one of those guys (otherwise known as a buzzkill) and it’s hard for me to sustain suspension of disbelief. I thought I was finished, that big Hollywood blockbusters were a bust and I couldn’t enjoy a film for simply being entertaining without holding greater meaning and symbolism.

Then I saw Jurassic World.

When you see the park there are these sweeping aerial shots of this dinosaur utopia. It’s beautiful, there are kids riding little triceratopses, monorails surrounding gorgeous enclosures and a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. What more could you want? I saw this and my brain immediately said “I want to go there”. Now the wording here is important, my brain didn’t say “I would love to go there”, that implies some amount of conditionality. The condition being that this movie is fictional. Isla Nublar does not exist. My disbelief was so suspended that I forgot how reality worked.

No spoilers, but eventually something goes wrong. I mean, did you expect there to be no conflict? The big bad dinosaur they make gets lose and things go south. Immediately my brain started yelling “holy shit, they need to get this under control before it starts killing people”. Not because I cared about Chris Pratt (okay that’s a lie. Love that guy) and the safety of park visitors, purely because of personal investment. My brain was telling me “if the security measures take care of it and nobody dies, then regulatory bodies won’t close the park, I can leave this theatre and immediately book my flight.” My brain was so excited by this prospect that it had turned Jurassic World into a documentary.

Wait, is this what happens to Game of Thrones fans? They get so excited by the prospect of dragons it makes the whole thing seem real? Perhaps I’ve gotta reconsider my whole stance on the franchise. Now that I think about it, maybe truck nuts would look funny on my tow bar.

I do like ideas in it, but if I ever used those premises, my “tight five” would be a lot tighter than that. It tries too hard to be clever, without actually succeeding. It needs more callbacks, a better overarching theme. At least I stored it somewhere for me to tweak at a later date. Now to get back to watching real comedians do real comedy. Bring on JFL42 day 6.

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