Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Comedy of Awkwardness Update

I’ve previously argued that one of the emergent strains of comedy in art these days is the exploitation of awkwardness, and (to recap) I think it comes from changes in our culture: we’re changing fast, with new norms and forms of communication etc. etc. We all know the changes are coming; we just don’t necessarily know the consequences. Well, the comedy of awkwardness is very real, as this semi-excruciating, semi-hilarious video proves fairly conclusively. (Via TPM)

Semi-excruciating, semi-hilarious is pretty much the perfect way to describe the comedy of awkwardness genre—if you aren’t squirming while laughing of recognition, the genre isn’t working right. And so, for every time you’ve witnessed an obnoxious, embittered ex-boyfriend lashing out at an ex-girlfriend, you recognize the outrageousness here.

While obnoxious ex-boyfriends making themselves known as such is not exactly new or unusual in the grand scheme of things, the method is: note the embarrassed question of Ms. Rittelmeyer, “Is this going to be on C-SPAN?” and the almost gleeful affirmation of Mr. Seavey’s; I’m guessing he planned this from the beginning. That’s what makes it, well, awkward: it’s funny to laugh at this misbegotten scheme of Seavey’s and terrible that it had to come as a consequence of humiliating Ms. Rittelmeyer. For a lot of people, though, I think life looks a lot like that: funny and excruciating all at the same time. And, not to be too literal about it, but that’s why we keep on seeing that comedy crop up.


  1. Damn that looks like a perfect match to me, I guess two years of talking over each other is enough though

  2. Rittelmeyer seemed nice enough if not particularly interesting; Seavey, on the other hand, seemed totally annoying.

    But yeah, two years of talking over each other is going to doom 99% of potential romantic couples, even the ones composed of relatively normal/well-adjusted people. This is why I wish people had more realistic expectations.