I mentioned meeting Danny Gardner at Bouchercon the week before last. Danny has done comedy in the past, as have I, the difference being that he was/is good at it. As we were talking, the subject of hack comedy came up — where a comic does a bit that has been done to death, e.g., “What’s the deal with airline food?” or “White folks walk like this, but black folks walk like that.” That sort of thing — doubtless you could come up with more examples. And of course, one wants to mock and jeer at the hack comics, if only because we’re tired of those bits.
But the other day, I found myself wondering if jokes about hack comics have themselves become hacky. Is it now a cliche to razz bad comics for doing airline food jokes? At what point does this become hack2? And how does one deal with that? By doing airline food jokes and meaning them? Or can we go to hack3?
Irony is hard.