So it seems Helen Razer has quit the high-stress world of online op-ed writing:
I have written capably to a large audience for some time for next-to-nothing. I made a contribution that was not without merit. And one to which you are no longer entitled. Because you give me shit and pay me shit.
Wait, why do we care about yet another internet flounce? Well, because of this:
In my head, it was nothing but a reasonably considered jocular urging to the left to hone its thinking and find its focus.
Thing is, what she actually wrote was more like this:
But can Mirabella be so bad and vexing as your stupid Facebook groups and your idiot opinion pieces suggest? And if she is, as seems to be the consensus on the lazy-left, a warmongering succubus who reproduces hate with her devil-vulva, then where is the evidence?
This is relevant to our concerns here because Razer got her start – well, not her start-start, that was hosting the heavy metal show on Triple J (hence the name “Helen Razer”) – as a wacky breakfast radio DJ alongside Mikey Robbins. Whatever she might be now, she started out as a comedian, and it seems she still thinks like a comedian when it comes to writing op-ed pieces – only, you know, instead of jokes she says “stupid” and “idiot” and “lazy-left”.
Razer is her own creature and what’s happening here has only limited relevance to the wider world of comedy, but it is worth mentioning as an example of what happens when you think you can do “comedy” without having to be “funny”. Comedians are allowed a certain leeway that more serious forms of discussion / entertainment aren’t because we all understand that making us laugh is a worthwhile end. If you don’t actually make us laugh – or even try to – you’re abusing this trust.
For example: Chris Lilley couldn’t make a drama series where he played all the main characters in drag / silly outfits / by pretending to be half his age. He might increasingly want to (just look at the growing level of dramatic moments in his “comedy” series), but even he knows that people won’t accept him playing, say, a teenage girl, unless it’s in a series clearly marked comedy. So he throws in enough snarky lines and bitchy hair-tossing to make sure it’s filed under comedy and then gives everyone terminal cancer or some other excuse to get all serious in the final two episodes.
Razer seems to have been under the impression that even though she wasn’t making any jokes (aside from insulting her readership) she was still covered by the rules of comedy. And maybe she should have been: her hyperbolic style is a difficult one to take seriously, even when she’s clearly trying to make a serious point. But if you’re going to try and (re-re-) build your career around insulting the only people paying any attention to you, then being a metric shitload funnier certainly couldn’t hurt. No doubt a lot of the backlash she experienced was due to people disliking her opinions, but we think there was at least a little of Homer Simpson hitting his TV set while shouting “Be more funny!” mixed in there.
Slightly more predictably (at least from our end), is this:
The pilot for Australian actress Rebel Wilson’s new TV comedy, Super Fun Night, does not live up to its title, according to critics in the US.
The pilot for Rebel Wilson’s new TV comedy hasn’t given critics much to laugh about.
The Australian actress is preparing to debut Super Fun Night in the US on October 2.
But even before its premiere the pilot has been panned by a number of US critics.
“Super fright night is more like it. This show is so painful and cringe-inducing that it’s scary,” writes Chuck Barney for the Contra Costa Times.
How is this a surprise? In every single movie role she’s had she’s had the easiest job in Hollywood: the person who drops the occasional funny line to get laughs. She hasn’t carried a film and she hasn’t even been important to the plot of any of her films – she’s played the kind of roles where if her lines don’t work they can be cut and no-one will notice. So all that gets left in the film is the good stuff… and from that she’s got her own sitcom?
Last time this happened we got Bogan Pride, which was, um, not good. Ever since then we’ve been arguing that a little goes a very long way with Wilson and that over-exposure (or just plain regular exposure) would be the quickest way to kill her career stone dead. Not that we didn’t want her to get that exposure: having her career fizzle out wouldn’t shade our day in the slightest.
But if her US career dies then she’ll come back here and we all know the Australian networks would be falling over themselves for at least a decade to give work to someone who starred in even one half-successful US film. So while we hope Super Fun Night tanks because it sounds like the usual thing Wilson does and that thing doesn’t fall under “funny” in our book, we don’t want it to tank so badly she comes back to Australia looking to “reconnect with her roots” or whatever. Stay overseas, keep plugging away, make appearances in movies we never see and sitcoms we never watch: hey, if it’s good enough for Jason Gann…