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Awkward is the New Funny?

Now, it could just be coincidence, and it might just be that I am too deliriously tired from the week from hell, and, yeah, it may just be that I want to drag everyone down into my pit of awkwardness with me, but I'm starting to wonder if awkward could be turning into the new funny.

I'm not saying this is a great thing (in fact, it makes me a bit uncomfortable), but it's definitely an emerging trend.  It all started with Stephen Colbert's now-infamous speech at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner--he received a lot of praise for this, but frankly it was one of the most awkward things I have ever seen and I could barely watch it. 

Now, just days ago, Dane Cook created some similarly awkward moments when hosting the Teen Choice Awards.  It started to bring back suppressed Colbert memories that had I had almost finally forgotten.  In all, it's not nearly as uncomfortable to watch as the White House speech, but Dane's interaction with Mischa Barton 55 seconds in is right up there with Stephen Colbert looking at Bush and saying they both live in a "no-fact zone."

Watch, cringe, comment: are jokes designed to make your audience uncomfortable a great new trend, or does it make a mockery of those of us out here who don't have the luxury of channeling our own awkwardness into profit and fame?   Because let's face it: we've all been in that situation before when someone sneezes and you say "Bless you," and then they sneeze again a full minute later and you wonder if you should say "Bless you" again, or if it's too soon and that will make you look too pressed, or if keeping quiet is actually rude and will make the person wonder what they did in the past minute to make you no longer empathize with his/her sneezing?  And when the awkward moment finally passed, there were no cult followers to adore us and blog about us; there was just a slightly uncomfortable person with an itch in the nose.  Isn't this the way it should be?  Or am I just an Awkwardness Purist who's going to get left in the dust by these brazen new kids on the block?


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Matt Price

Actually, this is how I've solved the two-sneezer problem.

Sneezer: "Achoo."
Matt: "Bless you."
Sneezer: "Achoo."
Matt: "You only get one."

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