This blog, produced by UPP Studios, discusses audience perception and how comedy, by nature, is subjective. Comedy can be a tricky beast. It is difficult to tell what someone will or won't find funny. Even things that seem like obvious "home runs" can turn out to be major flops. The Cable Guy, starring Jim Carrey, for instance, should have been one such home run. It was produced by Judd Apatow (the same man who broughtyou Knocked Up, the 40 Year Old Virgin, Pineapple Express, and Trainwreck), and it starred powerhouse actors Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. It was bashed by critics and some might say it's one of Carrey, Broderick, and Apatow's worst productions, but it's one of my personal favorites. Not only is it a fascinating character study in terms of the lonely sociopath that Jim Carrey plays, but it's also, in my opinion, funny as hell. Although all three had massive box office success and Apatow would go on to produce one box office smash after the next, not everything they create or participate in is widely accepted. Apatow was performing stand up comedy at the Comedy Store in LA this past Sunday night and, although he had a good portion of the crowd engaged, he wasn't as well received as one might think a heavy hitter such as himself would or should be. Even Bobby Lee, who followed Apatow at the Comedy Store, (who is better versed in stand up than Apatow) could only seem to engage half the audience. He commented turning to one half of the audience then to the other "[this half of the room is great. I love you guys. This half of the room fucking sucks]."
In addition to it being difficult to gauge one's comedy palate, it is difficult to tell what will offend people. Rubbing people the wrong way is a risk you run in comedy, particularly when dealing with hot button topics (such as race, religion, and other things people tend to be very opinionated about). Some people say that there are certain "politically incorrect" topics that are off limits, while others say that comedy knows no bounds.