Humour and pedestals

The Stammering Dunce
3 min readApr 16, 2023

Also published on Wordpress.

I can enjoy comedies and I can enjoy dramas. But, I love comedy-dramas even more and that’s one of the many reasons why I love Everything Everywhere All At Once.

While it is not a must, I consider it a big plus point when a work of fiction makes me feel a wide-range of contrasting emotions… and comedy-dramas are certainly great in that regard.

Obviously, simply adding jokes won’t do. In excess, they can be too distracting and stick out like sore, infected thumbs. I mean, they are called comedy-dramas; the name calls for a balance of lightheartedness and seriousness.

I also don’t think crassness is necessarily bad in comedy-dramas. As long as we weren’t promised family-friendliness and the jokes thematically fits the story, I won’t be put-off.

EEAAO fulfills them. Not only the amount of jokes isn’t excessive, the humour style fits the story’s overall absurdity. Not to mention I didn’t expect the film to be family-friendly/

There is also another aspect of humour which I find intriguing: it compels us to not take a story too seriously

I know I am pointing out the obvious here. But, we can easily slip to such territory, especially when the story is thematically and emotionally-loaded; the humour reminds us that we can also have fun.

I don’t know whether some people find EEAAO snooty or not. But, if they exist, they are a minority among the detractors; from what I observe, they hate it mostly for its “woke” content (for having minorities as main and non-stereotypical characters), “incomprehensible” story and “Rick and Morty” humour.

In fact, they believe those reasons — especially the last one — should disqualify the film from getting any nominations.

Wait, shouldn’t it be a bad thing that a film I consider to be of high quality… is not being taken seriously by many?

Well, no.

I don’t see anything wrong about loving a film; if anything, enjoyment of arts and entertainment is innately human. But, there is also such thing as loving something a bit too much.

If you love something way too much, you are going to perceive it as an utter perfection. Your mind refuses to believe it can have any flaws. You are going to end up extremely self-righteous, if not borderline delusional.

As much as I adore EEAAO, I should also be reminded that it may not be as deep as it seems; the humour — the lighthearted aspect of the film — is that great reminder.

And the harsh criticisms, particularly about the humour?

I don’t let differing opinions affect my enjoyment. But, the film’s lack of universal acclaim also benefits me. It reminds me that my tastes are not universal and the world does not revolve around them. It gives me humility.

Two of my favourite film directors are Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman. Without doubt, they are giants of the arthouse world, certainly beyond the league of Scorcese, Coppola, Tarantino and the likes.

But, their works’ humourlessness can be a problem; because of the seriousness, I feel more compelled to put those films on the highest pedestal…. and I also feel more compelled to put myself on it, simply for loving them.

Obviously, I don’t need humour to keep my film appreciation unpretentious and humble. But, in my case, it certainly helps big time.

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