Nothing makes me happier than misguided anger. (Well, maybe a slice of steak, medium rate, at the end of my fork piled with mashed potatoes and some peas.) Like when this guy mutters at his butler. Am I alone in feeling relief when someone on screen gets needlessly petulant? There’s a sense of completion. And a little of my own arrogance. Whatever it is, I feel good and superior. And as long as this guy isn’t in my life, I’m happy to watch him.
“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” – Mel Brooks
What happened to misguided anger in advertising? Anger is a truth of the human condition. And advertising has carved out this truth as being uncommercial. Today, we find ourselves in an unreal world of niceness and irony. I call it hipster comedy – wry, ironic, kinda-sorta-meta, “Wouldn’t it be funny if he was like all, ‘Cool, an orange monkey in my pants. That’s so random!’” We’re floating in a nest of bliss-following Coachella grooviness.
Anger is designed to urge us into action – fight or flight – based on perceived danger. But since there is far less danger in our lives, our egos makes some up. And our ego’s reaction feels a lot like seeing triceratops bearing down on us. Anger is funny because we don’t know the difference between a blood-thirsty dinosaur and a guy who forgot to switch on his turn signal. So comedy is misguided anger – the mistaken belief that something unimportant is worth fighting for. Don Quixote tilted at windmills. We fume when a web page doesn’t deliriously pop up in a microsecond.
I’m not suggesting we all start yelling like Italians at a Bensonhurst dinner table. But there’s nothing wrong with anger. It’s what happens when people’s egos are assaulted. And it’s normal. Which means it’s absurd. Which means it’s normal. Comedy is made from such human nonsense.
More on this later. Clearly I'm preposterously angry.