Author Topic: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais  (Read 6590 times)

Neomod

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2019, 04:10:05 PM »
Schubert's Piano trio No. 2 I reckon.

Ah yes. Fanx. I think I remembered it from a film. Just checked and it's Barry Lyndon.

Blue Jam

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2019, 04:17:16 PM »
Just watched this- she's great isn't she? Thanks for the recommendation, I will check out more of her videos.

During the section with the Hannah Gadsby clips I thought she made in interesting point about how, to succeed as a comedian, "You have to be prepared to see yourself the way your audience sees you", and I am now wondering how that applies to Gervais. In After Life we're repeatedly told that Tony is a lovely, kind, funny man despite having just seen no evidence to support this and plenty to the contrary, though it seems plenty of his fans are lapping it up all the same. Gervais frequently gets critics, Twitter users etc telling him he's unfunny and insensitive and arrogant and a bully and he always lashes out. He refuses to see the version of himself they describe, while accepting (and retweeting) the praise his fawning fans heap upon him, and seeing what they see, and ingenious and edgy comedy god.

Is Gervais actually now unable to see himself the way others see him? Or is he just selective, with a filter where he only pays attention to the way his existing fans see him? Where he preaches to the choir and tunes out everyone else who might overhear and who might not like his sermon? Or does he just refuse to take any negative feedback on board and keep making comedy for the people who already see him a comedy genius because fuck it, who cares about the quality when it pays this well?

Gervais used to be a bit more self-deprecating and aware that others saw him as the "chubby little loser" etc, and his comedy was much better quality back then, when he was able to see himself the way the audience did, not just the way his die-hard fans do now. I think Contrapoints may be right.

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2019, 06:33:38 PM »
He's so defensive and self aggrandising that it's easy to imagine that he's actually quite insecure about his work, yet at the same time he's absolutely enough of a tosser to genuinely believe that everything he does is gold and that any critics are wrong idiots. Which one do I choose, I can't decide

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2019, 08:07:14 PM »
A short interview with Natalie from Vice.

https://youtu.be/2Nrz4-FZx6k


St_Eddie

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2019, 04:10:34 PM »
Gervais frequently gets critics, Twitter users etc telling him he's unfunny and insensitive and arrogant and a bully and he always lashes out. He refuses to see the version of himself they describe, while accepting (and retweeting) the praise his fawning fans heap upon him, and seeing what they see, and ingenious and edgy comedy god.

He might be a cunt but Louis C.K. was spot on when he said "the moment that you think you've got it, that's when you've lost it".  Self-doubt and anxiety about one's abilities are the key to great works of creativity.  It pushes one to try harder.  Complacency and cockiness are the dearth of invention.

McFlymo

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2019, 04:07:19 AM »
That's a scary realisation! ... Turmoil and uncertainty often leads to good creativity.

But that doesn't acknowledge the thousands of creative sorts, who just do it, every day because they feel the need to. They just get on with writing jokes, or characters, or stories or whatever, because it gives them a sense of joy when they do it. They're not "damaged", they're not "special", they're just creative and enjoy the sense of achievement from creating something good.

Creative people are just like any other people: We do a thing we love, and our love for it keeps us doing it.... It's a simple logic that can be applied to a million things!!! So ... you know what? Fuck this "damaged" artist shite. Fuck this "their best stuff comes when they're all fucked up..." ... Nah... Their best stuff comes, when they give time and energy to their craft, as is the way with a million other past times.

(sorry I'm drunk, but I'd like that to be here, because it also illustrates how fucking lazy and tiresome Gervais is, with his cash grabbing stand up and ultra-patronising Netflix ballix...)

Chriddof

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2019, 07:55:42 AM »
I agree with you there. I'm one of those people who makes things on the internet because I need to, and when I'm very stressed out I can't really do anything creative - I completely clam up in that sense. It's only when I feel okay with everything that I can start again. These days I don't like to make art that's relentlessly grim, either - I've found the process on that kind of thing is not remotely enjoyable for me.

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2019, 07:21:59 PM »
I'm very grateful that you have introduced me to contrapoints, not only because her videos are fantastic, but because I genuinely fancy the pants off her.  Which is new and exciting territory for me.

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2019, 03:50:15 AM »
He might be a cunt but Louis C.K. was spot on when he said "the moment that you think you've got it, that's when you've lost it".  Self-doubt and anxiety about one's abilities are the key to great works of creativity.  It pushes one to try harder.  Complacency and cockiness are the dearth of invention.

I think this was Garry Shandling wasn't it? Talking about the episode of Larry Sanders where Hank guest-hosts for a week. Unless Louis CK said it too.

Anyway, yeah, everything Shandling said to Gervais went in one ear and out the other.

DukeDeMondo

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2019, 10:19:58 PM »
I watched this video a bunch of times and I'm very grateful for this thread for introducing me to it.

So much about it that resonated with me and chimed in all kinds of ways. I think it's a fucking stunning bit of analysis.

Much of what I might have to say on it has probably already been said, and said better than I could say it, but here are some of things that I felt walloped me hardest first time I saw it. Some of the thoughts that shot towards me with the most legs racing at once.

I would eat my own face to hear Gervais respond to this in any meaningful sort of way, but it's not going to happen - or I'll be very surprised if it does - because he is a man with nothing meaningful to say about anything, and I can't imagine a single worthwhile thing coming out of his mouth in response to something as razor-sharp and clear-sighted as this. A man who spent most of his career hiding behind irony to get away with expressing repulsive, hateful, ignorant opinions that he clearly believed but wanted you to believe that he didn't, and now seems to huddle behind prodigiously arse-handed unearned sentimentality delivering vapid platitudes that would give an articulated lorry the boaks that he clearly doesn't believe but wants you to believe that he does. He has fuck all to say about anything, and fuck all defence against any criticism of the sort contained in this video.

I find this subject fascinating anyway, especially given how many of my favourite artists - comedians or otherwise - race back and forwards between those poles, not necessarily inhabiting either, but then there are others who clearly are positioned at either extreme, and it's led me to wonder why that might be so, what the point might be in what they're doing or they're not.

I'm working on some stuff myself, albeit stuff of a very different stripe, some vaguely-autobiographical stuff I'm putting out of me, and I'm trying very, very hard - and not always consciously - to inhabit that middle ground, to occupy that authentic "darkness" that she talks about. The kind of darkness that your Gervais's or your Boyle's* will never come anywhere near to tapping into, partly because of the reasons outlined in that video, because of how superficial their understanding of the subject of any given joke really is, partly because it's just hideous, obnoxious bullying that they're engaged in (Gervais often bangs on about how the subject of the joke and the target are two very different things, but in his case the two are increasingly intertwined), and partly because, in Gervais's case, he's a coward. The "mong" stuff revealed him for the fucking spineless fucking nothing of a man he is, and that juicy, oh so delectable Darkness comes from fearless self-examination, and his self-examination extends no further than a load of ersatz-self deprecation and self-aggrandising that might be suffused with an uneasy, irritable irony or might not, depending on what magazine he's talking to at the time.   

(*I'm willing to concede that it might be a different situation now, with Boyle. I haven't been paying very much attention, but I hear it's a different sort of thing he's up to these days)

I was very struck also by the section in which Wynn talks about presenting her material to a mainly cis audience, and the burden that comes with that. The extent to which those audiences rely on her conforming to a particular narrative, recycling familiar sorts of stories, stories that those audiences recognise as "authentic" whether they're authentic or not, so she never gets to go deep, she never gets to dance about in that Darkness. It also means she and others like her have to ramp up their separateness in ways other than how they themselves would chose to do so, given the opportunity. So the act becomes almost exclusively about that Otherness, but within a very specific, very rigid framework that doesn't allow for Otherness of any distinction, or anything remotely interesting or challenging.

I am very, very vocal in my comings and goings about representation and visibility, a huge advocate, I think those things are crucially important, but this is something different we're talking about here. It made me think of some criticisms I've heard, on here and elsewhere, of comedians from particular minority groups whose material tended to consist primarily of stuff dealing with the ins and outs of existing as a member of that particular group. I've often doubted - perhaps arrogantly, certainly presumptuously - that that material was the kind of material those comedians would be delivering if they had much of a choice, and that it wasn't really just about pandering to an audience who wouldn't be on board otherwise (this is a hypothetical audience we're talking about, who knows how they'd react to this or that?) and that that pandering was dictated from outwith. I'm thinking of comedians like Paul Sinha, for example, whose ethnicity and sexuality seems to inform his material to a huge extent. I'm thinking of Lenny Henry joking about how if you don't watch out he'll move next door to you. I'm thinking of Joe Lycett reminding you how much he likes to suck cocks. 

That said, I mean, if someone of Afro-Caribbean heritage wants to fill 50 minutes with material all about their ethnicity because that's what they want to talk about, then fucking go for it, and if you don't like it you can fuck off and watch any of the great number of white comedians talking about white things for 90 minutes instead. Similarly, if all Joe Lycett really wants to joke about is felching then, whatever, have at it. The question is whether you're delivering that material because it's burning up in you, or because it's what's expected of you.

And it gets even more complicated when we get into Julian Calry fisting Norman Lamont and things like this. I don't want to go there. 

In turn, I got to thinking about various contestants on Britain's Got Talent and X-Factor and the like who will make a big deal of their ethnicity / sexuality / disability, whatever. in the course of their introductions, and who will often go on to incorporate those things into their acts. I mean, I'm all for that, especially when you consider that for years those shows were some of those most offensively homophobic, ableist, xenophobic programs on television, and it does bring a glow to me, thinking of some wee lass or lad somewhere hearing someone on Saturday night telly singing about how much they love someone of the same sex, but I can understand also the eye-rolling that comes with that. "Why mention it? Why invite them to judge you on your sexuality or your disability or your ethnicity?" The implication a lot of the time is that it's a cynical move to get votes, which doesn't stand up to scrutiny because those acts rarely go very far anyway, and their material never gets below the surface, never gets to any Darkness, because it's not allowed to. The major exception to the "rarely getting very far" is obviously Lost Voice Guy, the winner of last year's BGT (which, admittedly, is a hell of a lot more inclusive and a lot more celebratory when it comes to diversity and difference and things like this than it was five years ago), but again that was someone whose jokes were almost entirely self-deprecating gags about his condition (when they weren't weak as fuck digs at the BGT judges), and I wonder if those are the jokes he would really like to be telling.

I guess what I'm getting at is when the marginalised are allowed to pick and poke at themselves on their own terms, that's where the magic happens. That's where that lovely Darkness comes in. That's when you get a multiplicity of voices. That's when it becomes exciting. That's when representation and visibility become vital and electric.

But then there's also - shudder - this notion that you have to be "Representative," which is related very closely to the above, and there's a bit of a tango that has to go on sometimes. Wynn uses that very well chosen clip of that woman (I don't know who it is, sorry if it's someone I should know) talking about the point where humility becomes humiliation. Which is playing directly into the hands of the members of the audience who already see you as some sort of fucking walking LOL as it is.

I don't know.

Anyway, Gervais. I haven't seen After Life yet, but I'm guessing it's another tedious vehicle for a load of Gervais Truth Talk in the line of the extraordinarily fucking awful The Invention of Lying. Anyone who thinks Derek came out of nowhere needs to re-acquaint themselves with that, with that load of fucking knotted up urinary tracts corralled together under that name The Invention Of Lying. A very dear friend has told me that the ones off Gogglebox were falling over themselves laughing at bits of After Life the other night, so who knows? Maybe some of it is funny. Although I guess it's important to remember that the cast of Gogglebox are being paid to REACT (either paid directly by the production company or paid insofar as they can usually expect to get some fairly lucrative extra-curricular work on the back of it; I'm not sure how it works, I know someone who worked or works on the program but I've never asked them about that) and there's also the fact that, well, sometimes watching someone being a cunt can be funny. A woman or a man says something horrible or does something horrible. Sometimes that's funny.

I'm reminded of that brilliant Limmy sketch in which he just decides to be a "Bad Bastard." Offering to take a photograph for a couple stood by a local landmark, smiling at them as he points the camera towards them, deleting every photo off their phone without their knowledge. That's funny.

Anyway I've gone off point a bit, I think.

Authenticity, anyway. The good, solid Darkness. And knowing the difference between your darkness and somebody else's.

I dunno, I thought it was a fucking brilliant video.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 11:00:33 PM by DukeDeMondo »

St_Eddie

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2019, 10:48:56 PM »
A very dear friend has told me that the ones off Gogglebox were falling over themselves laughing at bits of After Life the other night, so who knows? Maybe some of it is funny. Although I guess it's important to remember that the cast of Gogglebox are being paid to REACT...

There's also the fact that by and large, they represent the lowest common denominator of the viewing public.

phes

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2019, 11:01:54 PM »
There's also the fact that by and large, they represent the lowest common denominator of the viewing public.

The sad thing is that some of those gogglebox characters I genuinely love. They're witty and insightful but much like when there is a royal wedding on, I have to tune out because it's painful to watch. The Siddiquis, for example. A wonderful family. They loved it

St_Eddie

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #42 on: March 20, 2019, 11:29:53 PM »
The sad thing is that some of those gogglebox characters I genuinely love. They're witty and insightful but much like when there is a royal wedding on, I have to tune out because it's painful to watch. The Siddiquis, for example. A wonderful family. They loved it

Oh, aye.  I'd happily spend an evening down the pub with most of the families.  I just wouldn't place much stock in their comedy recommendations.

McFlymo

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2019, 02:59:46 AM »
Hey DukeDeMondo, I really enjoyed your long post, but I felt the need to maybe knitpick this point...
So the act becomes almost exclusively about that Otherness, but within a very specific, very rigid framework that doesn't allow for Otherness of any distinction, or anything remotely interesting or challenging.

... I don't feel Contrapoints falls into this, as her variety of characters, costumes, set design and use of editing and music all allow her to explore a variety of perspectives, which she does with real care and intelligence, and genuinely I'm often laughing my head off, but I get your point about how this can happen with one-dimensional "othering" in TV shows, film and comedy.

DukeDeMondo

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2019, 10:30:39 AM »
Hey DukeDeMondo, I really enjoyed your long post, but I felt the need to maybe knitpick this point...
... I don't feel Contrapoints falls into this, as her variety of characters, costumes, set design and use of editing and music all allow her to explore a variety of perspectives, which she does with real care and intelligence, and genuinely I'm often laughing my head off, but I get your point about how this can happen with one-dimensional "othering" in TV shows, film and comedy.

Thank you very much, McFlymo. I actually agree with you, and that was just some confusing wording on my behalf.

I was talking about when acts "representative" of minority groups are presented in mainstream contexts. The taming and emptying out that goes on alongside this hollow carnivalising of difference. That's what I meant by the act becoming almost exclusively defined by "otherness," but it's a false, easily assimilated otherness, one that doesn't pose any threat. Again, when presented in this specific context, I mean. I'm not talking about what goes on in the Contrapoints YouTube videos or anything.

I'm talking about the shapes "minority" comedians or artists of whatever sort largely have to pull within mainstream - cis heteronormative - contexts, how so much of what they have to say is diluted, and how that Darkness goes untouched as a result, because they're not allowed to delve deep enough into themselves to get at it.

I hope that makes a bit more sense.

chocolate teapot

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2019, 11:34:27 AM »
Thanks for posting this. I spent 2 hours last night watching her videos and she's very informative, funny and clever.

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2019, 06:07:49 PM »

 Gogglebox are being paid to REACT (either paid directly by the production company or paid insofar as they can usually expect to get some fairly lucrative extra-curricular work on the back of it; I'm not sure how it works, I know someone who worked or works on the program but I've never asked them about that)


...this Heat article claims each group/family is paid £1500p/m to split up at their discretion and FREE TAKEAWAYS1111!!

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #47 on: March 21, 2019, 06:15:39 PM »
So this Contrapoints lass seems to be a big deal eh? Speaking sense and shit?

I shall have to check her out.

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2019, 06:47:45 PM »
Didn't seem to go down so well with my students today, sadly. I showed her Peterson video in part to counterbalance the slight Peterson fandom of one or two of the guys (also, the lecture was on postmodernism).

Maybe I should have just showed them Tim and Eric's 'Totinos' advert and left it at that.

McFlymo

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2019, 08:04:07 PM »
Thank you very much, McFlymo. I actually agree with you, and that was just some confusing wording on my behalf.

I was talking about when acts "representative" of minority groups are presented in mainstream contexts. The taming and emptying out that goes on alongside this hollow carnivalising of difference. That's what I meant by the act becoming almost exclusively defined by "otherness," but it's a false, easily assimilated otherness, one that doesn't pose any threat. Again, when presented in this specific context, I mean. I'm not talking about what goes on in the Contrapoints YouTube videos or anything.

I'm talking about the shapes "minority" comedians or artists of whatever sort largely have to pull within mainstream - cis heteronormative - contexts, how so much of what they have to say is diluted, and how that Darkness goes untouched as a result, because they're not allowed to delve deep enough into themselves to get at it.

I hope that makes a bit more sense.

Just had to chip in again to say: I wholeheartedly agree!
The Good Place wa probably the most recent TV thing I binged and was slightly annoyed that not a single character was LGBT on a show that seemed to be dealing with modern issues of morality and such. I guess I don't want to see representation for the sake of representation, but then again, when it's up against the several decades of white, straight, skinny, beautiful men being the centre OF FUCKING EVERYTHING ... Yeah, maybe even representation for the sake of representation is at least a step in the right direction... Still, I quite enjoyed The Good Place.

And I suppose you could argue that Jason and Janet were having a non-conventional relationship, as Janet was an android / "not a robot" who had the physical form of a female body, but didn't identify as a woman.

Meanwhile, I got stuck into the Love Death + Robots series the other night... One very brief lesbian scene, clearly designed to get straight boys horny, and actually has nothing to do with representation. Outside of that: A couple of lead females (great) and a couple of non-white leads (good stuff). No LGBT and mainly white dudes at the centre of the stories. Every single character: lithe and traditionally "beautiful" ... Although I was quite pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a woman with a Northern Irish accent in "Helping Hand"!! Genuinely had me engaging a bit more with her... Which I suppose isn't a good thing, that such a simple detail can influence me so much, but it just felt refreshing.

...... McFlymo kills yet another thread!

Twed

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #50 on: March 27, 2019, 08:53:59 PM »
There's a majority of Americans who think that the stereotype gays from Modern Family is LGBT representation. In terms of development, they're at "Are You Being Served".

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #51 on: April 02, 2019, 10:04:45 AM »
Some of my Twitter feed is talking about Contrapoints as if they're #cancelled, what's the story

canadagoose

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Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #52 on: April 02, 2019, 12:18:44 PM »
Some of my Twitter feed is talking about Contrapoints as if they're #cancelled, what's the story
Is it the same ones as usual? Some people seem to have a grudge against her, often for reasons like engaging with centrists and right-wingers, being white and wealthy, and her characters saying things they disagree with (even though they're characters). I'm aware I'm pretty biased, but a lot of the time I just don't get the criticism.

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #53 on: April 06, 2019, 10:38:13 PM »
Of course communists have infiltrated the movement

The arrogance of people like you astounds me. Have you heard of Left Communism? Luxembourg? Gramsci? Anarcho-Communism? Communists aren't just people who admire Stalin and Mao, the only worthwhile criticisms of both regimes come from Marxists. Hbomberguy is clearly influenced by Marxists. Fucking 'communists have infiltrated the movement', absolute state of it!

Re: Some Like It Dark - Contrapoints on Gervais
« Reply #54 on: April 07, 2019, 02:32:51 AM »
Communists are just part-time workers.