I recently saw The Conjuring 2 at a packed AMC theater in Woodland Hills, CA on the Thursday preview night. I loved the first film and thoroughly enjoyed the sequel (or "squealquel" as I punningly say).
But as I was watching both the film and the audience reactions, I realized horror films and stand up comedy are basically two sides of the same coin. Both can make you laugh, both can shock you, and both can make you vomit.
The purpose of both are the same. To make you FEEL something. To feel alive. To feel apart of an experience. What's interesting to me is that even though horror films are filled with sex, murder, and blood, there is less apologizing asked for by groups than when a comedian says something outrageous. I'm sure someone is more offended by this simple Jim Gaffigan joke than by The Conjuring 2.
I'm not saying anyone SHOULD be offended; I'm just arguing that many take simple jokes and make mountains out of molehills. Why?
Well...I think it's because when comedy is done right, the audience has to come to some conclusion about a topic, whether that topic is dating, sex, religion, politics, cell phones, or scented dish soap. Does my hand really need to smell like a sour green apple?
Horror films attack the same senses, but don't attack anything personal. Most people don't battle ghosts, demons, or zombies. I do. But I taught junior highers, they're kind of worse really.
What comedy does, when done correctly, is it takes your emotions through a roller coaster. Just like a horror film. It's classic pull back, pressure, release.
I remember hearing a comedian tell a joke that is a perfect example of this. He said:
"I'm okay with gay marriage but not gay adoption. Nope. I'm against it. And I'll tell you why..."
At this point the audience is in pull back and pressure mode. Uncomfortable. On edge.
"...and the reason is because I never had a dad so what gives that orphan kid the right to have two dads!"
There is the release. We all laughed. But to laugh we had to be made to feel on edge. Just like in a horror film. In a film we have to beg the little kid NOT to run into the dark basement, and once his flashlight goes out and we sit in the uncomfortable dark, when that light comes back on to reveal the face of the monster, we scream or jump and feel better because the director gave us the release.
Its cathartic, to say the least. And it's healthy. All that tension needs a release. In many ways a good horror film or a good comedian can actually help release inner crap that needs purging.
So do yourself a favor and go see The Conjuring 2 or see a comedy show (I have a few coming up). But if you want to laugh at a movie instead, stay away from The Do Over. Now that's just a scary bad film.
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Paul Douglas Moomjean Blog's About What's on His Mind
Blogging allows for me to rant when there is no stage in the moment to talk about what's important and/or funny to me.