BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe tends towards increasing entropy or “randomness” – molecules want to be gases because in a gas each molecule gets to move around freely and do its own thing.
Imagine comedy as liquid nitrogen, which is virtually impossible to contain or pin down. Now drop a brick on it and see how it scatters. It has to go somewhere – we need our daily dose of laughs.
See that brick as wokeness. Look at how wokeness is draining the laughs away from the usual sources of comedy, particularly the BBC…
For BBC executives are now too risk averse to produce great comedy shows. Try suffering the News Quiz under the stewardship of tedious Nish Kumar. Dare find an amusing segment in The Now Show. Put yourself through the torture of Mrs Brown’s Boys or Miranda. Try and ignore the canned laughter on the increasingly stale Have I Got News for You.
“Ah, but it wasn’t that bad,” has replaced the “did you see what happened to Trigger in the latest episode of Only Fools and Horses last night?” It is a fact that a lack of comedy is one of the key ingredients in the BBC’s ongoing suicide – paying the licence fee was not so bad when it helped pay for some guaranteed chuckles.
Speaking to Vanity Fair last month, Todd Phillips, the Director of comic book drama Joker said:
‘Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture. There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the f***ing funny guys are like, “F*** this s***, because I don’t want to offend you. It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, “I’m out.”’
Phillips is right. However he fails to point out the consequence of the second law of thermodynamics – that the comedy gas drifts elsewhere when displaced. In the case of wokeness, comedy has escaped the restrictions of wokeness and is now laughing back at it.
The humour ubiquitous on the intellectual dark web, through ridicule of wokeness on social media courtesy of the likes of Titania McGrath and the rise of blatant piss-taking of the increasingly bonkers Left across conservative news channels and programmes – all these phenomena are now as comedy-rich as the Labour Party soap opera without describing themselves as comedy at all. It is to these loci in the era of wokeness that laughs have escaped to make a new home. Those still selling themselves as “comedians” are the woke brigade who walk the woke tightrope and thus lack the spontaneity and the ability to offend which is so necessary in successful comedic genre – amongst them are some women and ethnic minorities promoted way beyond their actual funniness for fear of promoting others via comedy meritocracy or those who might effect anti-woke haram.
The old school comedy writers get the direness of the current desert and whine or rebel. The creator of Blackadder John Lloyd has blasted the BBC’s ‘unfunny’ modern comedies, warning that audiences will desert its channels unless it learns to make people laugh. Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow has a dig at identity politics and happily strays into unwoke territories. Ricky Gervais had his awesome pop at the SJWs at the Golden Globes this year. They see the wood from the trees, the old school – that wokeness and identity politics stifle free speech and squeeze the humour out of comedy to the point where it is forced elsewhere. They witness the public sterilisation of Frankie Boyle and have enough in the bank to put two fingers up to his castrators.
It’s not that we all laugh less. It’s not that Jim Davidsons are on the rise. Perhaps with the growth of social media we laugh a lot more now than when we had to wait for the next episode of The Young Ones or Father Ted. It’s just that what calls itself comedy is no longer as funny – frankly, much of it is unwatchable – and that is why wokeness is a temporary state which can only end in wokeness eating itself, just as identity politics morphs into the circular firing squad its revolutionary creators hoped it would become.
The funny thing is that the bitter creators of both identity politics and wokeness hoped to overthrow capitalist society and what they determine “the patriarchy”. What they have achieved instead is a refreshing – and a consolidation – of both, buoyed by a new love of our hard-earned freedoms. Communism always was counter-entropy and individuals were always too effervescent to be bogged down by some ridiculous group system offering square pegs in round holes – equality of outcome really sucks.