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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The Word

I think I might have coined a new word this weekend.

Something is “meta-funny” if:
You find yourself laughing, not because of the material itself, or its delivery, but because of the idea that someone somewhere thought that this was funny or in some other way good, and convinced some requisite number of people that the material was in fact amusing or otherwise worth watching such that you, the viewer, were subjected to it.
Usually “meta-funny” material was intended to be funny, but sometimes material intended to be dramatic can fall into this category as well.

Most of the laughs an average recent episode of “Saturday Night Live” comes from its meta-funny nature. It is what in fact makes the recurring “Wake Up Wakefield” sketches almost watchable.

I never watched it, but I imagine “Baby Bob” and many other disastrously failed sitcoms fall into this category. The ten minutes of “Oliver Beene” I came across reeked of meta-funny.

Television is a richer source of “meta-funny” than film since it generally takes more people to make a feature film and somewhere along the line there are more chances to torpedo bad ideas. But sometimes horribly misguided ideas make the big screen too. (I think we should all, whether we believe in a higher being or not, pray to someone or something that the proposed remake of “Casablanca,” starring Ben Affleck and J. Lo, never happens.)

Perhaps the most “meta-funny” concept of all time is the very idea that they even made a Broadway musical out of Stephen King’s “Carrie.” How many different people had to give that one the green light to allow such a thing to happen?


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