Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

by Daniel Depp

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12925
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 02, 2009 11:21 am

When I asked Daniel at the San Jose book signing, “why mystery”? he said that there are two genres of people that can get away with telling the truth. One would be standup comics and the other would be mystery writers. He says that both can get away with commenting on society. Stand-up comics “can say anything they want and be accepted.” Stand-up comics deal with society’s problems, and so do mystery writers "if they are good at it". Also, mystery writing “is flexible, and you can do all kinds of things with it”.

And from The Scotsman Interview:


"I said that the two genres with the most freedom to criticise the culture and get away with it are stand-up comics and mystery writers, because people will tolerate it. Stand-up is obvious; with mystery writers, it's because the genre's never quite been considered literary."

Do you agree?

Can anyone else get away with criticizing the culture?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
shadowydog
Posts: 89520
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:47 pm

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby shadowydog » Sat May 02, 2009 11:56 am

:perplexed: Not sure. Stand up comics exagerate human foibles and make us laugh at each other and ourselves. Mystery writers (those that I have read) deal with human stereotypes more than human foibles. Not sure either deal with much of the reality of human society but rather exagerate it. Not sure either can get away with much analysis or criticism of human society in the sense of poking fun at the extremes of people's sacred cows and prejudices. Not sure I have a clue what I am talking about. :lol:
I have nothing to do and all day to do it in.

User avatar
Betty Sue
Posts: 1428
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:37 pm

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby Betty Sue » Sat May 02, 2009 12:16 pm

Maybe Daniel's right about comics and mystery writers getting away with criticizing the culture better than anyone else; all the other critics I can think of (politicians, clergy, reporters, the guy next door...) do not get away with it. I just remember thinking when you first mentioned this comment, Liz, that I thought it was pretty clever of Daniel to have that for a reason to choose this genre. :cool:
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

User avatar
ladylinn
Posts: 752
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: Kentucky

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby ladylinn » Sat May 02, 2009 12:30 pm

I think more get away with poking fun at the culture than criticizing it. Mystery writers can because most of their story can be considered fiction. I don't know about comics - guess it depends on who they are criticizing. I believe the press/media does get away with criticizing and are not held as accountable as politicians and just plain folks. Daniel did a good job mixing humor with his criticizing of the Hollywood workings.

User avatar
deppaura
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Kensington, CA

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby deppaura » Sat May 02, 2009 12:35 pm

Political satirists. Cartoonists. Is it the self mockery essence of a society? Laughing at ourselves? "Lightening up" our living experience? Getting away with it is critical. Poking fun expressed lovingly, kindly seems acceptable. If presented negatively not so. So, can some mystery writing contain messages of irony? The style of writing can make sordid subjects appealing and humorous? With Daniel's offering, and with the exception of chapter 20, most situations presented had a comical edge. But, I wasn't sure if that was him, or the genre.

User avatar
fansmom
Posts: 2059
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Olney, Maryland

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby fansmom » Sat May 02, 2009 6:10 pm

Are telling the truth and criticizing the culture the same thing?

User avatar
shadowydog
Posts: 89520
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:47 pm

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby shadowydog » Sat May 02, 2009 6:41 pm

fansmom wrote:Are telling the truth and criticizing the culture the same thing?


Good question. I would say no; as a lot of the satire and other commentaries on today's culture are based on the individual biases and beliefs of those doing the commentary and satire. So how does one tell which is absolute truth for all and which is criticizing the culture based on the views of any particular groups within society? :perplexed:
I have nothing to do and all day to do it in.

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 24485
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 02, 2009 9:04 pm

I think some of it is relative. Stand up comedian George Wallace is one of the funniest comedians I have ever watched, he makes me belly laugh every time. :applause2: But much of his comedy is targeted toward people of color, like himself, and someone of another race would be labeled a bigot and racist if they told the same jokes. Still, George Wallace's role as a comedian allows him to say things publicly he probably couldn't say under any other circumstances.

All in the Family is an example of comedy that presented social commentary and made most of us stop and think about what we were saying - bless Archie's heart, when he spouted some of those racial slurs we had to laugh at the absurdity of it all. It wasn't stand up comedy, but it was certainly comedy that delivered a message about society.

I can't say the detective novel is on that level, but that may be because I haven't read enough of the genre. Loser's Town certainly gave a grim picture of the movie industry, but another type of novel might have been able to do the same thing........maybe.

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 24485
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 02, 2009 9:07 pm

Liz wrote:[size=150][b][liz]When I asked Daniel at the San Jose book signing,


Wish we could all have a book signing experience. :-/ It appears Omaha is not at the top of the list for personal appearances. It would be fabulous if we could all mail our books to Daniel to be signed. (hint, hint, Daniel!)

User avatar
fansmom
Posts: 2059
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Olney, Maryland

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby fansmom » Sat May 02, 2009 9:20 pm

How about this--isn't cultural criticism one of the requirements of literature?

Two brief examples--Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is on TV right now. Wasn't part of Rowling's point in writing the books to point out the existence of narrowmindedness and discrimination in society? Jane Austen (distinctly literary) was definitely pointing a finger at the foibles of society a couple of hundred years ago, but she wasn't writing comedy or mysteries.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12925
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 02, 2009 9:36 pm

Interesting question you have posed here, fansmom. I don't think cultural criticism is necessarily telling the truth. I view comics as making fun of society or exaggerating the truth. And it can be very slanted. I definitely believe that comics can get away with poking fun at society. Look at SNL. All in the Family is a very good example too, nebraska (although it was not stand-up comedy--but I think it counts).

On the other hand, I have to be honest and say that I have never thought of the mystery genre in this regard. I would say fantasy or sci fi are more likely to do this, or just various fiction (as fansmom pointed out in her 2nd post). Here are some examples (in my opinion) of fantasies or sci fi: Animal Farm, Farenheit 451, The Giver, Good Omens, Lord of the Rings (I think); and I was going to say Harry Potter (but fansmom beat me to it :highfive: ). Historical fiction is a good genre also--like the book I just read for my other book club--Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (a story about the Japanese internment--lots of painful truth in that one).

So I guess I have to disagree with Daniel on this particular issue.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby gemini » Sat May 02, 2009 9:43 pm

fansmom wrote:Are telling the truth and criticizing the culture the same thing?

I think you really hit on exactly why he came up with those answers. Comics can say anything because it's supposed to be funny. Detective stories usually contain villains and good guys so the fictional characters can be or say pretty much anything. It is then up to the audience to decide if its truth or fiction. That lets the comedians or author off the hook.
Comedians may use a real person and make light of them as a joke with part of the punch line being true and part silly. An author using fictional Mafia characters can make them commit true acts. It is then up to the audience to decide if they are poking fun or criticizing a true life situation.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 24485
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 02, 2009 9:49 pm

fansmom wrote:How about this--isn't cultural criticism one of the requirements of literature?

Two brief examples--Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is on TV right now. Wasn't part of Rowling's point in writing the books to point out the existence of narrowmindedness and discrimination in society? Jane Austen (distinctly literary) was definitely pointing a finger at the foibles of society a couple of hundred years ago, but she wasn't writing comedy or mysteries.


I totally loved the Harry Potter series. I wish I was smart/educated enough to understand its many layers. I read it like a child reading a good story, with only glimpses of what lay beneath, getting only an ocassional flash of double meanings in things like street names. I think J K Rowling is a genius. :notworthy:

Daniel did a really good job of showing us some areas of darkness and shadow in the movie industry that most of us would never see othewise ... but most of the books we have discussed here have a deeper meaning if we take time to look.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12925
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 02, 2009 9:56 pm

nebraska wrote:Daniel did a really good job of showing us some areas of darkness and shadow in the movie industry that most of us would never see othewise ... but most of the books we have discussed here have a deeper meaning if we take time to look.

I agree. And I like that his was NOT the typical mystery that I have read.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
fansmom
Posts: 2059
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Olney, Maryland

Status: Offline

Re: Loser's Town Question #18 ~ Stand-up Comics & Myster Writers

Unread postby fansmom » Sat May 02, 2009 9:58 pm

nebraska wrote:but most of the books we have discussed here have a deeper meaning if we take time to look.
Oh, and we do take the time, don't we, my fellow queens of over-analysis! :applause2:


Return to “Loser's Town”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests