Comedy is rare and essential and highly subjective. All we know with any degree of certainty is that the Three Stooges were never funny and never will be; the Marx Brothers were always funny and always will be. Dennis Miller and Eddie Murphy used to be funny, but not anymore. The Simpsons is incapable of being anything less than consistently hilarious, and Jerry Seinfeld makes American Express commercials worth sitting through. Here, in no particular order, are a few other thoughts:
Richard Pryor is God.
It is astonishing that evil genius Ricky Gervais and the team responsible for The Office are able to get through each scene with a straight face. Is this brilliant, lacerating look at working life better than The Larry Sanders Show? Better than Mary Tyler Moore? It's a close call, but the answer is yes. (Available on DVD.)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart makes bad news good. Correspondent Stephen Colbert might be the funniest man on late night.
If you missed Never Scared, Chris Rock's last HBO special, it's out on video in September.
Riotous, ironic, melancholy, magical, Pure Drivel by Steve Martin is the perfect blend of silly and smart.
If you read nothing else, read everything ever written by David Sedaris.
Mike Nichols and Elaine May are God.
We'll give you a subject: Mike Myers—now talk amongst yourselves.
Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) is a scream in front of and behind the camera.
Sure, playing chess with death is amusing, but forget Ingmar Bergman—Andrew Bergman writes and directs extraordinarily delightful films (Blazing Saddles, The Freshman, Honeymoon in Vegas, Soapdish).