I Don’t Want to be a Funniest Home Video

Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m a huge fan of comedy in general – I think stand-up is one of the great performance arts in existence and I go every chance I get. I follow my favorite comedians, I’m a regular at the DC Improv and the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, I download comedy albums all the time … I even have a fair amount of material written, should I ever have enough sack to submit a tape for amateur night somewhere local.

One of the things that has always brought a malicious smile to my face is when wonderful comedians end up in lucrative yet poorly-suited environments. I’ve always enjoyed Bill Maher, but he unquestionably had a regulator bolt on him when he was on Comedy Central and ABC. Sit-coms are a bonanza for comedians who work blue on-stage but have to temper themselves when they’re doing network programming. But the greatest character sell-out of all time has to be Bob Saget doing America’s Funniest Home Videos. You know, the show where an audience of mongoloids is harvested from the slot machines in Atlantic City, bussed in, and supplemented with a laugh track as they giggle hysterically at videos of dogs biting men’s crotches, men falling off of bikes and landing on their crotches, or young kids hitting pitches back into their fathers’ crotches. It’s a curiously-G-rated crotch apocalypse. And although every appearance I’ve caught with Saget in the last several years, including his roast on Comedy Central a year or two ago, has shown me a twitchy, coked-out, un-funny freak … in his heydey, Mr. Saget was one of the greatest comedians I’ve ever seen.

Have I ever mentioned that I love Alison’s sense of humor? Life is basically a series of situations where she has to temper her reactions to things – to some extent, all of us have a super-ego that governs our id, but Alison’s super-ego deserves combat pay. I particularly love it when it says “to hell with that” and takes itself for a walk. Sometimes that comes out in stream-of-consciousness posts — at the pool, on a plane or at the dentist. Sometimes it comes out in the form of 12-year-old possession and fart jokes. Today, it arrived in the form of a fun video post on Facebook:

I’ve seen this before – Jim Vance, the primary newscaster in the clip, is a local TV icon and has been for as long as I can remember. The guy goading him on is George Michael, the sports guy, also on television for at least as long as I’ve lived in NoVA. But, as Alison pointed out, it just gets me giggling every time I see it. You can tell that Vance has seen the clip prior to airtime and has tried to discipline himself against laughing about it, but he cracks a little and Michael sets him off completely. It’s all downhill from there.

Alison’s sister, Alicia, has the same wicked sense of humor. Post one embarassing trip to the ground and you’re going to get that other classic – the wine stomping turned self-stomping. If you’ve never heard someone make these noises when they hit the deck, you should, at least once. Getting the wind knocked out of you never went over so big. I’m pretty impressed, actually, at the network anchors who managed to avoid laughing and expressing concern.

The upshot, you ask? Perhaps that I pretended not to like AFHV but actually did, and liked it more every time Saget shot a nasty look at the producers standing off-camera when he had to read something egregiously cheesy off a teleprompter. More likely, this is why I’m carefull always – Alison’s quick with her camera phone, and the Farmer sisters are brutally honest and hilarious when something is legitimately funny. I’d much rather pile on than fuel that fire.

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