News and Events
Author and TV Comedy Writer David Misch Discusses “Comedy and Morality”
David Misch, former Saturday Night Live writer and author of Funny: The Book--Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Comedy, will present a lecture titled, “Comedy and Morality,” on Monday, Apr. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Surfboard Room of Payson Library, Malibu.
From the satirists of ancient Rome to today's Daily Show, comedy has never been shy about taking on the moral issues of its time. However, in satirizing and illuminating society's hypocrisies and immoral behaviors, comedians are frequently accused of "crossing the line." So how do we as a society decide when comedy goes too far? Misch will explore this question by examining satire, taboos, and censorship, and discuss professional humor's role in defining, and defying, society's moral boundaries.
Misch will look at W.S. Gilbert, W.C. Fields, Steve Martin, the Russian Orthodox Church, Billy Wilder, Monty Python, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, and two outrageous Saturday Night Live sketches written by Sen. Al Franken (D: Minn.).
A significant point of discussion will be Mel Brooks' movie (and book and musical), The Producers, a touchstone for controversy from the moment it appeared. To some a hilarious putdown of Hitler, to others a horrifying diminution of the Holocaust, Brooks' motives are unquestioned but what he actually achieved is hotly debated to this day. Misch does not presume to find answers to any of these issues but will discuss the questions in a way that implores his audience to examine their assumptions and presumptions, and realize that comedy's relationship with morality is as complex and intricate as morality itself.
Counted among Misch's credits are shows such as Mork & Mindy, Saturday Night Live, and Duckman, as well as The Muppets Take Manhattan and the pilot for David Letterman's first talk show. Misch has written, created, and produced programs for NBC, CBS, ABC, HBO, and a host of other channels.
For more information about this event, contact Ken LaZebnik at (310) 506-6785 or visit the Pepperdine Libraries website.