by

Part 1 of the Fascinating Evolution – Why Is The Difference Between Universal And Parochial Humour Significant

Because it is a microcosm of why “culture” is so irrelevant, yet fascinating at the same time.

The reality is, as humans we share 98% the same hopes, dreams, fears, emotions and struggles across all cultures.

The 2% difference is what we call “culture”. The subtle differences in the way we dress, speak or behave.

The reality is, the universal commonality of the human experience is far more significant, and governs more of our daily lives, than the minor 2% of differences that separate us from other humans.

Ergo, our differences are irrelevant to the human condition.

But there’s no disputing, the 2% difference in cultures is fascinating probably because it is so rare and different.

In fact as a species, humans are literally hard-wired to spot differences.

The human brain is made up of 3 distinct parts as a direct result of our evolution advancement:

  • The vestigial “lizard” part of the brain that processes everything as binary “danger” or “opportunity” Every thing that happens in the brain must pass through this “sentry post” first. Once the lizard part of the brain is happy, the new information is then passed to…
  • The mammalian or “monkey brain” where social decisions are made. Such as our status in the pecking order and ability to conform to the immediate social surroundings. Both the lizard and monkey brains operate SUB-consciously. However what separates us a distinct species is the 3rd part of our brain…
  • The neo-cortex of frontal lobe part of the brain is where extremely complex decision are made. Like those on mathematics or literature or design and problem solving etc.

So we are hard wired to spot “differences” because they are often crucial to our survival: “Can we eat it or will it eat us?”

The legacy of this “threat/opportunity” lizard filter in the brain explains our obsession with “new” things.

And the reason why humans are fascinated with the miniscule differences in “culture”.

But the truth is, as fascinating as the 2% difference is, it’s the similarities (Universal Comedy Truths and Archetypes) that really resonate with us as human beings.

So why do 98% of cultures stumble (at Stage 4 as outlined earlier) and get lost along their comedy evolutionary path?

Why do they rely too heavily on “in-jokes” cultural stereotypes, and ignore the great truths in Universal Comedy Truths that elevates comedy beyond mere culture and into a shared human experience?

Why does comedy fail to fully evolve (from Parochial to Universal) in Emerging Markets?

There are 4 main reasons that add up to a huge stumbling block:

THE 4 REASONS WHY COMEDY FAILS TO FULLY EVOLVE IN MOST CULTURES

  1. In Emerging Economies (EM), people have extremely limited understanding of the Universal Comedy Truths (UCTs). They are completely oblivious it’s a “craft” that can be learnt and practiced like any other skill. To not realise comedy is a simply a learnable craft like anything else, is like looking at a table and thinking it has magically evolved from a tree without any manipulation by a skilled carpenter. So raising awareness good comedy writing is even a learnable craft is the first hurdle we have to solve.
  2. Good Comedy is hard to write. It’s very unforgiving. And often requires multiple rewrites and a higher degree of intelligence. Drama writing is like a fader, you have a whole spectrum of emotions at the writers command. Comedy is like a switch. It is either on (funny) or off (not funny).
  3. Learning the UCTs is time-consuming and potentially difficult, practicing them, failing and keep trying until you understand them. It involves risk taking – not often seen in EM cultures where Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs dictates that many struggle to fulfil even basic needs such as shelter, money, food and safety.
  4. Lack of Money – this is at the heart of the Catch 22 problem – There is no money in writing sitcoms in Emerging Markets, so no one will give up a safe job to try their hand at writing broadcast comedy. Therefore (potential) talent does not become skilled at creating a product people to see, therefore there are no quality products, which means there is no industry belief in backing broadcast comedy production (apart from stand up shows) which means there is no money behind it With no money behind it no one wants to waste time learn the UCTs – hence the never ending Catch 22 loop.

But this then begs the question, if Emerging Markets struggle to create high quality comedy, why have the UK & USA demonstrated such aptitude at it?

To the extent – between them – they have duel-handedly created a global multi-billion dollar industry?

 

READ OUR NEXT POST >> PART 2 OF THE FASCINATING EVOLUTION – HOW DID THE UK AND THE USA EVOLVED TO BECOME SUCH GLOBAL COMEDY POWER HOUSES

 

∙ Authored by Quilliam Potter
∙ For TV Consultancy Work or General Enquiries about Channel X Global, email quilliam@billiondollartvrevolution.com