Pepperdine University, David Misch, Comedy and Morality, Funny the Book
Pepperdine University has decided to open up its appearance by author David Misch (writer for Mork & Mindy / Muppets / Saturday Night Live/SNL) to the public on April 1st at 7:30 p.m. in the Payson Library, Surfboard Room (24255 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA).
David's multi-media presentation "COMEDY AND MORALITY" features clips from many famous moments is film and TV comedy history (i.e. Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner's "2,000 Year Old Man," "Blazing Saddles," "Monty Python," "Mary Tyler Moore Show," Abbott & Costello's "Who's On First" and many others).
David Misch, author of "Funny: The Book / Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Comedy", comes to Pepperdine with his presentation "COMEDY AND MORALITY". What's the relationship between comedy and morality? Is there one? Should there be? That's the question Misch will explore in "Comedy and Morality", a convocation which explores professional humor's role in defining, and defying, society's moral boundaries.
From the satirists of ancient Rome to last night's "Daily Show", comedy has never been shy about taking on the moral issues of its time. In satirizing and illuminat-ing society's hypocricies and immoral behaviors, though, comedians are frequently accused of "crossing the line," generally, they don't care. George Carlin: "It's the duty of a comedian to find out where the line is drawn and then step over it." But one thing is sure: wherever you draw it, your line won't be in the exact same spot as your neighbor's. So how do we as a society decide when comedy goes too far?
The convocation will explore this question by examining satire, taboos, and censorship. We'll look at W.S. Gilbert, W.C. Fields, Steve Martin, the Russian Orthodox Church, Billy Wilder, Monty Python, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, and two outrageous "Saturday Night Live" sketches written by Sen. Al Franken (D: Minn.).
A significant point of discussion will be Mel Brooks' movie (and book and movie), "The Producers", a touchstone for controversy from the moment it appeared. To some a hilarious put-down of Hitler, to others a horrifying diminution of the Holocaust, Brooks' motives are unquestioned but what he actually achieved is hotly debated to this day. The convocation won't presume to find "answers" to any of these issues but will try to discuss the questions in a way that gets students to examine their assumptions and presumptions, and realize that comedy's relationship with morality is as complex and intricate as morality itself.