Irony In The Post-9/11 Age: Comedy And Tragedy As 'Very Strange Roommates' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Irony In The Post-9/11 Age: Comedy And Tragedy As 'Very Strange Roommates'

Saturday on Weekend Edition, Neda Ulaby looks at the issue of irony in the 10 years since the Sept. 11 attacks.

From David Letterman to Saturday Night Live to Jon Stewart, she traces the ways in which comedy has continued to collide with tragedy, perhaps even more than it did before. And she speaks to comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who took a particular public thrashing over jokes he made right after the events of 10 years ago — and over jokes in the wake of this year's Japan tsunami. (Not for nothing does Neda describe him as nothing less than "The King Of Too Soon.")

It's a distinction Gottfried embraces, saying that comedy and tragedy have always been closely linked. In fact, he says, "There's that old saying, tragedy plus time equals comedy. And I always say, like, why wait?"

Viveca Greene, a professor who's studied humor after Sept. 11, tells Neda that certain turning points, like Rudy Giuliani's appearance on SNL, made the process of comedy's recovery especially interesting to watch — like a comedy show asking a mayor's permission to go back to being funny.

Neda also visits with an artist whose candy-colored Sept. 11 images define a different aesthetic altogether: a notion of post-irony that is, as Neda says, about "embracing what's genuine, in a sort of weirdly self-conscious way."

It's an interesting tour through some of the challenges that comedy has faced in the last 10 years, since the death of irony was widely declared — and through the many different ways that professionally funny people have found to meet those challenges.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Mia Wasikowska On The Sounds Of Camels And The Lure Of Travel

Melissa Block talks with actress Mia Wasikowska about her new film, Tracks, which follows a woman on a long journey with only camels and a dog for company.
NPR

Giving Chickens Bacteria ... To Keep Them Antibiotic-Free

What does it take to get chickens off antibiotics? According to Perdue Farms, an added dose of the "good bacteria" known as probiotics can help crowd out the harmful microbes that make a chicken sick.
NPR

Why Did Congress Kick The Can On Funding Islamic State Mission?

The president got approval for his plan to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters, but lawmakers didn't approve funds to pay for it or the broader air campaign.
NPR

Some Tech Firms Capitalize On Privacy

Steve Henn of NPR's Planet Money team profiles some entrepreneurs who are working on a novel business model to start up a new tech company. It's pay for service. What a concept.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.