Make Me Laugh

If you’ve been reading along with our viewers at home, you already know I’m big fan of laughter and I, perhaps naively, believe laughter can save the planet. My weekly dose of The Onion is usually good for a quick laugh. Brief bouts with Comedy Central generally provoke prolonged gales of guffaws. Season One of Get Smart, a birthday gift from an old friend, has happily reunited me with my inner 14 year-old. Then there is South Park which makes me laugh as an adult and cry as a parent. Nothing is sacred on South Park, a show that boldly goes where no show has gone before or should after. Nothing is more complex than telling your 14 year-old son why one moment you are laughing hysterically and another why that particular episode was completely inappropriate and not to be shared with anyone, not even our dog Pinky. Admittedly these are complex times.

So yesterday I learned that Comedy Central is about to introduce a South Park game for cellphones. Here’s what the New York Times said about it:

In the midst of mostly grim days for comedy, the cable channel that is self-proclaimedly in the comedy business, Comedy Central, has never been merrier. Ratings for the channel’s prime-time shows have increased 12 months in a row, and its all-day schedule is on pace to score its best season ever.

Some of that is explainable by the continuing strength of the channel’s signature shows, like “South Park” and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Both of these shows continue to generate audiences and attention for the network. Today the channel’s parent company, Viacom, is scheduled to announce plans for a cellphone game based on “South Park,” the first time that franchise has jumped into the gaming world.

The move is designed to play to Comedy Central’s core audience of young men and boys. Few channels other than ESPN have such a heavy concentration of male viewers; audiences for some Comedy Central shows are more than 70 percent male.

I have little doubt that my son will be asking soon if he can download the South Park game he heard about through the grapevine. And frankly I should probably consider it a victory if he asks because he might be able to download it without asking. Maybe I’ll be lucky and it won’t play on Verizon phones. If he does ask, my answer will be “No, not yet, you’re too young.” Or at least that’s what I think I’ll say until he somehow convinces me that its harmless fun. He might even say “But Dad, I thought you said laughter can save the planet–aren’t I just doing my part?” Hmmm…

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