I think it’s fair to say we all need a good laugh. The world is slowly starting to boil. The cost of living is rising so quickly that many Australians are struggling to pay their rent and we’re likely heading towards another recession. The many facets of impending doom are having a huge impact on our mental health. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a heap of golden celebrity couples are splitting up and I’m starting to think that love is dead.
So, I don’t know about you but the ennui is hitting me like a truck.
While we can’t change much about our depressing future, what we can do is try to find joy where we can. Recently for me, I’ve found joy through silly little comedies, which I reckon are making a significant comeback for this very reason.
The Aussie television industry in particular must have caught on to our need for a laff because suddenly in 2022-2023 we’ve seen an influx of incredible comedy. And I’m not just talking about the kind of humour that makes me exhale air out of my nose a bit harder than usual, but comedies that actually make me laugh out loud. Until this year, I could count on one hand all the shows that have actually made me laugh throughout my life. And now, I can name four from the last two years alone.
Is it a coincidence? It could be. Or could it be that in times of distress, we crave content that helps us escape a little?
We saw hints of this between the years of 2008 and 2012 when we’d just encountered the financial crisis. This was when films like Step Brothers, Tropic Thunder, Role Models, Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street, were not just box office hits but were the most talked about movies of their season, over the offering of dramas, thrillers and films featuring more serious topics.
Some economists theorised that the reason punters were flocking to comedies was because of escapism.
Paul Levinson, a professor of communications and media studies from Fordham University agreed with this theory.
“If there isn’t enough laughter in real life we seek it in entertainment,” he told Reuters in 2008.
“What this means as we proceed through this recession is that one thing which will certainly not be hurting will be comedies.”
As economists debate whether another recession is on the cards for us today – and I’m no expert but it’s not looking good, my friends – I think that we can look around us to examine the signs that show that people are looking for something positive to focus on.
Like I mentioned earlier, there have been four shows that have made me giggle/chortle/belly laugh over the last couple of years: The Inspired Unemployed Practical Jokers, Colin From Accounts, Jury Duty and C*A*U*G*H*T.
Now, in an effort to be completely transparent, one of those shows hasn’t been released yet. As PEDESTRIAN’s resident entertainment girlie, a big perk is that I often get to see series before they actually get released. I promise, this one is fucking funny and the good news is it’s out this week.
Stan’s original series C*A*U*G*H*T* is an absolutely ridiculous, batshit comedy about a group of inept Aussie soldiers who are sent on a secret mission to the jungle-filled, war-torn land of Behati Prinsloo.
If using the name of an international supermodel for a country doesn’t give you a hint at how silly this show is, switch on, pal.
While the soldiers think that their secret mission could see them come back to the country as heroes, it turns out they’ve been sent by their dodgy boss to erase some nudes he sent a very high-profile woman. I wish I had a team of soldiers to do that from my ex’s phones.
Anyway, pretty soon they’re captured by freedom fighters and begin fearing for their lives – until they convince their captors that they’re more valuable alive. So, instead of killing them all, they attempt to make the best hostage video of all time in the hopes that it’ll go viral.
But a lot is at stake. If they don’t manage to bring some eyes to the freedom fighter’s cause, they’re pretty much facing imminent death. So, they get to work honing their acting skills and making a masterpeice of viral content.
Come on, check out the trailer.
As you can see, it’s silly with moments of seriousness. It’s ridiculous but grounded. And it’s got a really good cast. I’m talking international talent including Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox and Sean Penn, along with some of Australia’s best names: Bella Heathcote, Erik Thomson, Rebecca Breeds, Lincoln Younes, Kick Gurry, Ben O’Toole, Alexander England and good god the list goes on.
When I watched C*A*U*G*H*T after a long day struggling to find a rental within my budget, it truly made me forget what I had going on for a little bit. All I’m saying is, this show gave me a laugh and I hope it gives you one too.