What is the future of comedy? In a new series, USA TODAY investigates the future of making people laugh. - News Certain Network
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What is the future of comedy? In a new series, USA TODAY investigates the future of making people laugh.

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There’s no denying that the world is changing, and with it, comedy.

Is the genre’s future bright, or is it being diluted by “cancel culture” and a more conscious society?
There’s been plenty to divide fans in recent months, from the 2022 Oscars slap involving Will Smith, Chris Rock, and a joke aimed at Jada Pinkett Smith to divisive Netflix specials from Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais.

Nonetheless, comedy remains popular. Jerrod Carmichael’s HBO special “Rothaniel” brought not only laughs, but also profound vulnerability.
“Of course, (comedy) has to be updated to keep up with the times and celebrate more voices,” author and comedian Phoebe Robinson tells USA TODAY. Although comedy has “great foundational aspects,” she believes it is important to “not rely on what has worked before and push the genre further.”

Is there a place for stereotypes in comedy?
As the landscape shifts and the line between satire and outright insults blurs, comedy has become a breeding ground for rage rather than laughter. A method for some of attempting to unite people has now divided audiences on whether a stereotype is relatable or harmful, with increased danger on stage during a standup set. Comedians such as Mo Amer and Phoebe Robinson discuss the role of stereotypes in comedy and how they affect the industry.

The importance of punching up
Comedians are at odds over the appropriateness of “punching down” in comedy. Punching down, or making jokes about people who have less power than the comedian, has become a hot topic as high-profile comedians target transgender people and other marginalised groups. However, what is missing from the discussion is a discussion of one of the great traditions of American comedy: punching up. Sarah Cooper, a comedian, explains the importance of speaking truth to power.

Why are comedians becoming more introspective?
Carmichael is not the only comedian creating more intimate comedy specials.
Hannah Gadsby and Bo Burnham have also used their standup sets to share painful life experiences peppered with jokes. Experts explain why now is the perfect time for this art form.

On TikTok, 9 comedians are hilariously authentic.
When the pandemic struck and the world came to a halt, TikTok exploded, allowing anyone who is funny to create a massive platform to share their comedy. We spoke with nine comedians, including Elyse Myers, Leo González, and Elsa Majimbo, who are proving that humanity has a sense of humour and showcasing it without ever setting foot in a comedy club.

Mindy’s reasoning Kaling regrets not using TikTok earlier in her career.
Comedy has evolved dramatically over the last two decades, and Kaling has witnessed the transformation firsthand. But she’s not upset that TikTok didn’t exist when she was a young comic. Though many comedians have built fan bases through these platforms, Kaling believes social media can put an undue amount of pressure on them to constantly put out content in the hopes of being discovered. She explains how she achieved success.

Meg Stalter’s journey from social media to breakout star Stalter became the pandemic era’s rare breakout star, thanks in large part to her absurd character videos on Twitter and Instagram. With a role in HBO Max’s Emmy-winning comedy “Hacks” and a half-hour comedy pilot called “Church Girls” in development, the 31-year-old standup has launched a burgeoning career.

ten upcoming comedians
So, what is the future of comedy? These rising stars provide a hint. During the peak of the pandemic, sketch and standup comedians were forced to adapt their work for at-home audiences, with many gaining massive followings on social media platforms like TikTok. Now, a new generation of talent is taking over Hollywood.

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