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Marshall Fine Headshot

That's Not Funny

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I host and program a film series where the usual fare tends to be fairly serious, whether as a drama or a documentary. Occasionally, the patrons of my series will ask, "How about a comedy?"

And I try -- I really do -- to find comedies that will work for my audience. But I have one big problem: I find so few comedies that work for me. Two recent examples: last week's This Means War and this week's Wanderlust. To paraphrase an old joke, if humor was dynamite, these movies wouldn't have enough to blow their nose.

That's true at the movies and on TV. While there are shows that make me laugh on a regular basis (from Curb Your Enthusiasm to The Big Bang Theory to Hot in Cleveland), there are many, many more that don't.

I don't mean to pick on women's sitcoms, except that they seem to be all the rage this year, with their penis and menstruation jokes -- but I'm sorry: Whitney isn't funny. Same with 2 Broke Girls.

New Girl? Not funny. Not even cute. Indeed, it's made me rethink my position on Zooey Deschanel, who I used to enjoy.

Are You There, Chelsea? Sorry -- nope. Guess I never realized before I saw this that Chelsea Handler had built her whole stand-up career doing an impression of Parker Posey circa 1995.

I shake my head sometimes at the stand-up comics who seem to hit on Comedy Central. I don't understand why people found Carlos Mencia amusing, or Dane Cook, or Jeff Dunham. Now that I've seen Russell Brand do stand-up, I want to rescind the laughs I gave him in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Come to think of it, that's the only time he's made me laugh.

And yes, you heard me right: I said I laugh at Hot in Cleveland. The show is completely retro and its humor is often raunchy -- and yet the ability of that cast to knock that material out of the park raises it several notches in my estimation.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest. The whole Whitney thing has been bugging me. Unfortunately, Whitney Cummings couldn't carry Sarah Silverman's jock strap.

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