I truly believe that comedy is one of the most difficult art forms in entertainment. The second is stone marble sculptures. Comedies have filled the silver screens of Hollywood since the dawn of time. Silent film comedians such as Charlie Chaplin paved the way for Laurel and Hardy which lead to SNL and so on. There’s no doubt that comedic actors have made some of the most memorable movies in human history, many of which still live on to this day. I’m not gonna lie, I still laugh out load at Laurel and Hardy, because the physical comedy was so spot on.
The 1980s and 90’s saw a huge jump for comedic box office movies such as “Coming to America,” “Caddyshack,” “Spaceballs,” “Dumb and Dumber,” and “Tommy Boy” just to name a few. But then in the mid-2000’s, as we saw the rise of the big-budget films, special effects, green screens, and digital characters made it possible to create over the top blockbuster action films that were like drugs to the fans. Things that people had only read about in comic books were now actually possible to recreate in a movie and not appear cheesy. This is, aside from the Star Wars digital character of Jar Jar Binks. But mostly the technology has made these big budget films amazing to watch.
I mean if you calculated that you could make a half a billion dollars on a movie, wouldn’t you make it? You bet the studios would and that became the focus of movies, the big blockbusters and the Oscar-worthy stories. Comedy had become a child in a divorced family. In this unique case, both parents had gotten remarried. with new kids to boot.
It was being neglected and the comedies that did make it to the big screen were flops. Even in this past year, all the box office comedies have fared poorly, films such as “The Hustle,” “Fighting With My Family,” “Little,” and “Isn’t It Romantic,” just to name a few, have all failed.
I blame part of it on the movie economy because people don’t go to the theatre as much anymore because of the ticket cost. In Los Angeles nowadays it can cost up to 30 bucks for one ticket to see a newly released feature. Back in the day, it might have been more like five bucks. But with big-budget blockbusters come big ticket prices.
People who used to go to the movies a couple of times a month, now settle for once a month because that’s all they can afford. And you know that those moviegoers are spending their hard earned cash to see those big-budget action features they believe will be visually amazing compared to a no-effects comedy.
The comedy feature was being asked to leave the Box Office, in reality TV dating terms, they weren’t getting a rose. It was television that opened its arms and welcomed the comedy. As comedy features declined on the big screen they rose on the home living room screen. Networks and online media were producing more sitcoms and comedic shorts. YouTube started to focus on comedic web series and Netflix signed deals with comedians like Adam Sandler to make straight-to-streaming comedies. Television had become the lifeboat that saved comedy. So every time you turn on your TV remember to literally say thank you for saving comedy.
The future of the comedy feature in Hollywood is still unknown. Right now it doesn’t seem like it’s going to make a comeback. Studios just aren’t interested as long as superheroes are bringing in the big cash money. I won’t lie when I say I don’t even remember the last time I went to see a comedy in the theatre, but hopefully one day that won’t be the reality. Comedy is essential to the human race as it keeps us smiling and laughing which is good for our health. It’s just as important as air and water because it keeps us alive and moving forward in life. I hope we get to enjoy it again on the big screen.