Deader Than Disco / Stand-Up Comedy


  • Rob Newman and David Baddiel's stand-up. In the early nineties, they were the "New Rock 'n' Roll", hosting The Mary Whitehouse Experience and playing sell out gigs at Wembley Arena. Then they fell out, split their partnership, and a few years later most of their stuff fell by the wayside. Intellectual and philosophical comedy, and their grunge-meets-preppy style, was replaced by "laddish" comedy (including Baddiel's own Fantasy Football League TV show) and the Britpop wars of Oasis vs. Blur. Occasionally you might hear someone in Britain say, "That's you, that is!", but so far there has been no revival of interest. Both of them are now well known as authors, but their stand-up careers have been largely forgotten.
  • Andrew "Dice" Clay was a big hit in the late 1980s/early 1990s for his controversial, sexist insult humor (essentially the Don Rickles of his day). However, his act was seen as annoying and offensive to some (most notably Roger Ebert), mainly due to his tendencies to play his stage persona in reality, as well as the fact that being un-PC just for the sake of it was getting played out. The tipping point was the flop of his star vehicle film The Adventures of Ford Fairlane which, to add insult to injury, was removed from theaters due to pressure from Moral Guardians. Clay's popularity plummeted shortly afterwards; he subsequently tried to change his image as a result, even doing the failed CBS sitcom Bless This House, where he played a family man, but to little avail.
  • On a more general note, such comedians as Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson, well known for their racist, sexist and mother-in-law jokes, were once huge, but are pretty much jokes themselves now. The only one who still tends to regularly pull in large crowds is Roy "Chubby" Brown, whose audiences are still generally dwarfed by those of more modern comedians.
  • Gallagher was huge in The '80s, selling out giant arenas and delivering expensive stage shows with a wide array of elaborate props. He fell quite far — until illness forced him to temporarily retire in 2012, he toiled in relative obscurity in local shows and squabbled with his copycat brother, while his act took an unpleasantly hateful, racist and homophobic turn (as described here). His original act is mostly remembered as being representative of all that was wrong with stand-up comedy in The '80s.
  • The Blue Collar Comedy trend was established at the Turn of the Millennium. Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry The Cable Guy, and Ron White's routines played with Deep South / white trash stereotypes while applying a Flyover Country perspective to general stand-up topics. Often touring together, they even had a Sketch Comedy show on The WB that reran on Comedy Central. But Foxworthy's and Engvall's respective "You might be a redneck" and "Here's your sign" routines were parodied by every group ever even before the trend exploded, while Larry became overexposed (partially via the Cars films and a series of poorly-received comedies starting with Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector) and had a large hatedom for his Stylistic Suck nature. White still does stand-up but amicably distanced himself from the rest of the group, as his act was naturally more profane and he didn't feel comfortable with bowdleriseing himself. Foxworthy found success as a game show host (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and The American Bible Challenge), while Engvall focused more on his sports blog and occasional acting (plus a short-lived stint as the host of the game show Lingo in 2011). The backlash against southern culture in the wake of the 2015 Charleston shooting described on the Real Life page also probably doesn't help.
  • Although they were not part of the Blue Collar Comedy group, similar Southern comedians such as Tim Wilson and Rodney Carrington had their downfalls around the same time. Unlike the Blue Collar guys, their acts were more diversified as they also recorded novelty songs which got some airplay on The Bob & Tom Show. However, Wilson's later albums got increasingly colored by his Libertarian political views when they weren't, at least according to Allmusic, suffering from serious Seasonal Rot while Carrington's high profanity level made him a harder sell after the post-Janet Jackson FCC crackdowns. Carrington tried to clean up his image some by starring in the Sit Comic Rodney, and his last two albums were composed entirely of songs (most of which were less profane or even completely serious). He ended up scoring a Black Sheep Hit in 2009 with a serious, soldier-themed Christmas song called "Camouflage and Christmas Lights", but has mostly been quiet ever since. Meanwhile, Wilson continued to quietly perform and record (in addition to getting a co-writer's credit on Toby Keith's 2007 hit "High Maintenance Woman"note ) until he died of a sudden heart attack in the first quarter of 2014.
  • Dane Cook was one of the most popular stand-up comedians circa 2005, particularly amongst high school and college students (he was notably one of the first entertainers to use MySpace to build up a huge fanbase). By 2005/06, he had gained over 2 million MySpace friends, and his CD Retaliation went double-platinum and became the best-selling comedy album in over 30 years. Then came the severe Hype Backlash from critics who were not amused by his comedic style (consisting primarily of observational humor and telling long-winded anecdotes) as well as hate coming from within the stand-up community, with numerous accusations of plagiarism and joke theft (most notably of Louis C.K.). This, combined with a few bad decisions in film roles (which were also critically savaged), the decline of MySpace, and Cook's own teenage fanbase outgrowing him all caused his popularity to take a major hit, and he became more famous for his hatedom than his fandom. Unlike many of the preceding examples, Cook does continue to have some moderate commercial success, such as voice acting in the Disney film Planes, although it is still only a shadow of what he had achieved at his peak just a few years before.
  • Jeff Dunham was once hugely popular with tons of merchandise and was praised for bringing new life into ventriloquism. Now he's mostly just remembered for his overreliance on stereotypes and rehashed material. Whenever he's brought up nowadays, it's usually in the form of a Take That (case in point The Nostalgia Critic's "it's like Jeff Dunham" line). His specials have been moved from Comedy Central to CMT, like the Blue Collar Tour before them. The televisual equivalent of going from Broadway to Branson.
  • As noted here by Bob Chipman (starting around 6:00), Dennis Miller and Janeane Garofalo were among the biggest comedians of the '90s, the former helping pioneer the Deadpan Snarker current-events humor that would fully blossom on The Daily Show and the latter serving as a prototype for 'raunchy' female comics like Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer. In time, however, both of them underwent Filibuster Freefall and let their political views (conservative in Miller's case, liberal in Garofalo's) take over their material, to the detriment of the humor, and by the mid-late '00s both were better known as political Talk Show hosts than anything. Today, they're largely forgotten outside the memories of '90s kids.
  • Carlos Mencia was once a well-liked comedian whose brash persona and Latino-flavored humor proved to be relatively popular. At his peak in the mid-2000s, Mencia starred in Super Bowl ads for Bud Light and his show Mind of Mencia was the second highest-rated program on Comedy Central, surpassed only by South Park. However, Mencia's popularity took a hit when many comedians accused him of stealing jokes, culminated in a viral video of a heated argument between Mencia and Joe Rogan. After his show ended, he went into therapy over the accusations of joke theft and re-invented himself for his 2011 special "New Territory", which downplayed but did not completely removed his "macho" in-tone. While the special was a success, it's pretty much a given that he'll never recapture his earlier success, as he's still a VERY divisive comedian today and has a large Broken Base between those who think he's a joke thief and those who disagree.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/DeaderThanDisco/StandUpComedy