Comedians know all to well the need to share stories about relationships and sex
This morning I woke-up to the hilarity of a comedian names Jimmy Carr. A British fellow with an acerbic whit and a no holds barred set of intelligent jokes. I marveled at how much the crowd roared when he discussed issues with his girlfriend as well as anything having to do with sex.
In my morning haze, I quickly realized that the laughs were being generated most effectively when Mr. Carr was talking about his personal relationship problems and his issues with sex. Was the crowd laughing at him or with him? Were they being mean and insensitive or were they in fact laughing at themselves and their own issues with their relationships? These questions, I found out, have been asked many times before and it has become a science as much as a form of entertainment.
If you are PC and loaded with morals, then you won't get these jokes
There is no doubt, that those people who have a higher sense of morality or need to point out how un-politically correct the jokes are, were not and are rarely in the audiences to hear these comedians rip both genders and anything that can relate to their fans. It is well known to them as it is to us, that the more the audience can relate to the jokes, stories or barbs being shared, the more people will laugh and shake their heads in agreement.
I won't get into retelling any of the specific jokes, but I was almost crying with my wife giggling beside me. She also agreed that most of the jokes that dealt with the comedians girlfriend, sexual prowess, or lack thereof and anything else romance, passion of intimacy related were pretty funny and my wife isn't one to laugh at just anything. She's a tough customer when it comes to comedy. We then began to consider who else in the last 50 years, would also use this strategy and think about their careers. Those like Eddy Murphy, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams that are from the previous generation and the successful ones of today like Louis C.K., David Attell and others (yes there are women like Amy Schumer who talk liberally about porn and sex to a higher level of laughter than their usual schtick, but women can always get away with describing female genitalia and specific acts of sex far more securely than men can. Whether they get laughs from men is another story). We can even stretch back to the foundation (WWII) generation that laughed at Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, George Burns and so many well known names that all used the same formula. Self-deprecating humor dealing with their personal relationships, but with far less discussion of actual sexual positions and what is common today, references to sexual positions and more detail than any of these foundation comedians could have even dream't about in their heydays.
Heckler's would do well not to comment as their personal lives will be targeted
When Gilbert Gottfried shouts about a woman's vagina, or when Joan Rivers complains about older men's sagging family jewels, we can all recognize from whence this humor comes. The laughs keep coming and the comedians keep practicing how to engage the audience as well as heckler's who refuse to consider their disadvantage shouting at a man or woman with a microphone and for the most part, a quick whit. This is where many comedians shine. Jimmy Carr actually has dozens of out-takes of his performances where he relishes chopping hecklers off at their knees and usually their "banana sacks" as he preferred to reference that part of the male anatomy. No surprise too, that almost to a person, the hecklers are men. Yup, sometimes little boys just don't grow-up!
Of the top five product categories that exist, relationships, including dating, sex, marriage and related issues is number one beyond politics and religion. We are all touched by it, whether we admit it or not. Our minds, driven by hormones and evolution, key into these issues and when we are left to laugh and told it is OK, the floodgates open. These comedians know it and emphasize it. Certainly their are those that focus on as many issues as possible and even those that may not spend much time on relationships but still don't ignore taking shots at personal issues.Sex sells in comedy as in life, but in this trade, it isn't as simple as showing a lingerie clad model or having an actor read a sexually oriented innuendo. The craft of comedy is far more sophisticated than that, despite so many less talented comedians simply using copious amounts of expletives in their acts and getting by on almost that alone. Those comedians don't last and neither do relationships without substance.
No comedian ignores relationship issues if they want to be successful
Louis Black who is a vicious political commentator, is one such comedian and there are many more. One of the original experts on discussing rudeness, George Carlin, who was best known for his word-play, would regularly talk about his wife and sexual exploits, or lack of them. He was one of the few who could truly mix-up the topics with seamless control. Carlin's masterful control of language can be juxtaposed with the sexual and relationship heavy and unabated attacks on all ethnicity in the bedroom by the "Queen of Mean" Lisa Lampanelli. Don't let the content fool you though. Like many professional comedians who may use relationships as a punching bag, their own lives are anything but. In fact, Ms. Lampanelli is happily married, a lovely woman who is a true professional despite those who want to take her down for practicing unrelenting attacks on all manner of minorities their sexual preferences, the LGBT community and anyone else that the crowd can relate to. Of course, there are plenty of examples where relationships are a chosen topic of discussion because their own are disasters and their comedy sketches and routines act as a form of therapy or salve for their personal love and romance wounds.
We can debate the reason why so many comedians include issues relating to matters of the heart in their routines, but we know these same issues drive the music industry, the advertising industry and so many other human related communication mediums that the outcome of any study would simply be confirmation that humans deem sex, intimacy, romance and relationships (not necessarily in that order) as supremely important. How people choose to relate to this issues is driven by a variety of impacts, but any good comic understands these truths and develops their skills within this genre. If not, they find themselves mired in sub-niches that have few followers, points of reference or truly tickle our funny-bones because we can all identify with the subject matter.