The Relief of Irreverent Humor

It feels like just yesterday I was writing about using media and pop culture to temporarily escape the horrors of our world but, well…here we are again. Instead of talking about the broad benefits of escapism, I think I’ll muse on the intellectual benefits of irreverent humor by talking about some of my favorite satire and dark humor shows.

Monty Python


Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I was raised watching Monty Python, especially Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and I think that has done much to shape my sense of humor. The drier, more satire-y, and ridiculous the humor, the more I like it. The rescue of the “fair damsel in distress,” who turns out to be a young man who wants to sing and doesn’t want to marry against his will, is a perfect example of the kind of humorous subversion I love. However, for a sadly still entirely-too-topical scene, here’s the clip of the peasant who points out that the way Arthur became King isn’t really the best system:

Monty Python’s Flying Circus and their other movies, especially The Life of Brian, are absolutely worth checking out if you haven’t already seen them. Embrace their ridiculousness and the fact that they make fun of everything and everyone. It’s refreshing.


Mel Brooks


Young Frankensteing and Blazing Saddles

A classic director in irreverent style humor is Mel Brooks. Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are some of my all time favorites, and like Monty Python, these classics satirize and mock all manner of things. Mel Brooks also did Spaceballs, a parody of the Star Wars franchise, and if you haven’t seen it (or any Mel Brooks) I highly recommend them. And now for our next trick, impersonating KKK members to find out the bad guys’ plans:




Sterling Archer Image via

Archer is one of my absolute favorite shows. For me, it’s the kind of show I can watch again and again without getting sick of it (and trust me, I’ve tried). The basis is a cartoon parody of the James Bond movies and character, but to the extreme, and it has since evolved and begun parodying things like Miami Vice and Magnum P.I. With Archer it’s no-holds-barred, and everything is on the table to be mocked. When I first tried watching it, I thought it was going to be full of gross-out humor in stereotypical “guy” style, but I’ve been amazed at the level of intelligence in some of the jokes. Archer himself frequently references obscure literature, TV shows, and movies (one of my favorites is his Bartleby the Scrivener reference). Worth checking out if you need a laugh, especially if you like the “I always wanted to say that but didn’t want to out loud” sort of humor. And if you want, below is a clip done for Entertainment Weekly of Archer drinking and reviewing some of the James Bond movies. Definitely NSFW:


Irreverent humor isn’t for everyone, and I find it somewhat ironic that it’s my favorite style of humor. In my real world conversations and discussions, I am incredibly PC and inclusive, as much as I can be. I’ve been on the outside of normal and I know how that can feel; I try to make the people around me feel comfortable enough to talk about anything they would like. When it comes to my media, though, the more everything is made fun of, the better. I think it comes from not wanting to take life too seriously. If this is all we have, why spend it angry at every turn and taking ourselves and our interests too seriously? Take a break and laugh at the ridiculousness that is life, and society, and even things you love and identify with strongly. It’s a refreshing break from the gravity of daily worldly events.


5 responses to “The Relief of Irreverent Humor

  1. So I have not watched Archer, but I do love Monty Python and Mel Brooks. I think part of what is great is the exaggeration can call out the ridiculousness of some things. I think you would probably like Book of Mormon and Avenue Q the music is fantastic.


    • I’ve heard a few of the Avenue Q songs and liked them, and unfortunately Capt. America (P’s new nickname) and I missed Book of Mormon last year because we were moving.

      And yes I agree, the exaggeration helps emphasize how ridiculous what they’re making fun of is. Give Archer a try, if anything it’s a hilarious spoof of the womanizing alcoholic spy genre.


  2. So one we thought of earlier that is absolutely in the same vein: Doctor Strangelove!


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