Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, December 26, 2020

I came across the final episode of “Monty Python: Almost the Truth - The Lawyers Cut” a few weeks back. It contained a quote by John Cleese that I haven’t been able to shake loose from my mind:

“As you get older, you laugh less, because you’ve heard all the jokes,” says Cleese. “It’s the real stuff that makes me laugh [now].”

It’s a somber outlook on the prospect of aging. Who wants to reach 80 or 90 with a diminishing supply of chuckles? Especially when it’s due to lifelong repetition.

Cleese’s observation sticks with me because, despite being several decades younger than him, I’m experiencing that same been-there-done-that dynamic. Not so much with comedy — I still enjoy a healthy amount of laughs, both through presentational comedy and the “real stuff” everyday interactions. But in a wider cultural sense, I certainly get the sensation that advertising, movies, TV, sports, politics, and a range of other interfaces are serving up the same themes I’ve seen earlier in my life.

It’s occurred to me that this is, in fact, by design — there really is a finite amount of truly original ideas out there, and it’s just a matter of repackaging them. The killer is that they just get aimed at a whole new generation of audiences/ consumers/ constituents, who are experiencing those things for the first time. The subtext, of course, is that the older generations who recognize the rerunning don’t count as much in terms of the reactions — again, a somber realization that aging comes with not only less original stimulation, but also with increasing irrelevance.

I suppose I should cherish the jokes that tickle my funnybone, while they still are hitting that target. As for the real stuff, there’ll be no shortage of that.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/26/2009 11:26am
Category: Celebrity, Comedy, Media, Society
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