I'm watching Norm MacDonald's new podcast show on youtube and it's freakin' terrible. He's sitting with Kevin Nealon and I'm expecting it to be as funny as Saturday Night Live was in 1992... but it's just garbage. These are two of my all-time favorite comedians. The entire reason I'm watching is because I used to think those guys were hilarious on Weekend Update. Now they are two old guys talking about golf scores and reminiscing about the good old days. It's sad but it makes me think... there must be a reason they were fantastic 20 years ago but not anymore. It might be because they are older now. Maybe they have lost their edge. Maybe they are out of touch.
Between the ages of 15-25 humans are learning and growing. We are taking in new information and there's nothing to compare it to so it blows our mind.The first time I heard Nirvana I was like, "holy shit, this is incredible." Twenty years later I'm a better guitarist than Kurt Cobain ever was. He was an incredible entertainer and his angst was real... but he wasn't a great musician. There is potential for much better music to be made.
... yet none of today's bands sound as good to me in comparison. The latest Foo Fighters is not half as good as their first two albums. It's not because Dave Grohl has become a bad musician. It's because I am no longer open to new things. It's the reason my generation's parents are still into the Beatles and the Rolling Stones... whatever you are into during your pivotal development years ends up being the soundtrack of your life. Once every 6 months or so I'll hear a song that is decent, not great, but decent. I'll download the latest Alice in Chains or Red Hot Chili Peppers record... but they're really just not the same. I shouldn't expect it to be. Layne Staley is dead and John Frusciante is pursuing a solo career. It's just not what it used to be. There will never be another album as good as "Dirt" or "Blood Sugar Sex Magik."
Even Saturday Night Live isn't as funny as it used to be. I can't even watch it. I interned there back in 2001 and wondered why Fred Armison was even allowed in the building. He's funny looking but even that isn't enough to make me laugh. The kids on the show now are just terrible. Part of me thinks, "Ah, Lorne lost his touch," but it's more than just that. I grew up with Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, and Phil Hartman. They were masters of their craft and nothing can compare. The cast on the show now can't even improv. The writers seem completely out of touch with reality. They are not even funny people.
Then I stop and think. It's a matter of changing perspective. People 10 or 15 years older than me probably said the same thing 10 or 15 years ago. They probably thought Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell were crap. They said, "ah, they're no Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray or Chevy Chase that's for sure!"
They probably thought the Stone Temple Pilots were terrible and yearned for the days of Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead... or Metallica and Guns and Roses depending on what year you graduated from high school. Either way it's about what you were exposed to when you were open to new things and looking for something in the world to relate to. There will be 50-somethings in 20 years singing Baby Got Back and Black Hole Sun.
At least we can all agree the new Transformer movies sucked.
- John Powers
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