It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. Remember being a chick-lit heroine? A cop in a crime novel? Or one of those waifs from a historical fiction novel?
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about black comedy. Firstly, because it’s sort of my thing, but also because I’ve been watching a lot of black comedy on film and TV in recent months. And my my, but it’s getting blacker. In fact, black comedy is often now so black, it sometimes appears to have forgotten about the comedy part altogether.
I’m calling it Bleak Comedy: when you know it’s technically supposed to be comedy, or at least it’s called as such by the critics, but literally nobody’s laughing.
So, with that in mind, for those of us who may sometimes feel that life is too dark to be destiny; too weird to be wonderful, and too terrible to be true – I’m both maudlin and delighted to bring you:
10 Signs That You’re A Character In A (Very Modern) Black Comedy
- It’s your birthday. Everyone hates you, but the dialogue is tremendous.
- Ten minutes after you decide to commit suicide in your kitchen, you receive news that you have won a budget holiday in the town where you live.
- You get a job in an office full of people who think they’re starring in a mockumentary about people who work in an office.
- Someone you dislike intensely has killed a man. They frame you with witty repartee and get away with it.
- You lose your house, your job, and your family. Just when you think all hope is also lost, you get run over by a truck.
- You go on holiday with your closest friends. Everyone ends up naked and crying. It’s hilarious.
- While out running an errand for your boss, you accidentally kill a mother of six. The guilt drives you to alcoholism. Fun ensues.
- You worry that your life is a lie, painstakingly constructed by people around you for scientific or entertainment purposes. This is true, but despite repeated attempts by concerned actors to tell you, you never listen.
- Everything around you is a potential joke. Even your fridge. Unfortunately, nobody gets it, not even you.
- You try for years to become a successful comedian, until one day, you realise that comedy doesn’t actually need to be funny. You become an overnight success after you do a public reading of your cancer diagnosis, dressed as a lobster.
How did you score?
1-3 points: Sorry, but life’s real, dude. It actually does suck to be you.
4-7 points: You are a character in a novel which has won a very respectable literary prize, judged by people who are obsessed with Samuel Beckett.
8-10 points: You are a character in a Channel 4 series screened after 9pm. In time, your series will be reclassified from ‘Black Comedy’ into ‘Depression Porn’, whereupon viewership will increase into the tens.
And there we have it. Call me old-fashioned, but I do like my comedy to be funny, and so much of what I’m seeing is downright bleak at the moment. I’m pondering whether this is down to economic circumstances, artistic snobbery, or some other force. If I ever figure it out, I’ll be back with my opinion dressed up as fact.
What do you think? Has black comedy become a bit too, well…. black?