It’s interesting to see the Mark Twain Prize, which went to Will Ferrell last week, referred to as the “top American humor award” on various news websites, since, as I’ve written before, the Prize has absolutely no value by this point. Especially since the nominating committee has clearly decided that they’ve made a winning connection to Lorne Michaels and Broadway Video. Thus, they’ll keep giving the award to amiable but WILDLY unfunny middle-aged comic actors from the SNL stable, and keep passing over the oldtimers who are still with us and have contributed a major amount to American comedy, but who haven’t had bad multiplex vehicles in the past few years, so… well forget about them, will ya?
I actually can’t forget about ’em, because mainstream American comedy generally is as shitty as it is because the crap-mill run by Lorne Michaels keeps cranking out these amiable types who can act goofy (Will Ferrell) or do the snark really well (Tina Fey), and thus get the admiration of millions of morons with unadventurous senses of humor. There are older comedy “black belt” performers whose work is much funnier and more imaginative, and who definitely deserve to be honored with the *supposedly* most prestigious humor award in America.
Read my piece on the people who've been passed over here. And on behalf of American comedy fans, I hereby apologize to Sid, Mel, Woody, Phyllis, Dick, Mort, and on and on. As for humor writers descended from the late, great Mr. Clemens, well, the Mark Twain Prize says fuck alla yez.