Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World Part III - Histories de comedie
Albert Brooks ranges continually back and forth through American comedic history throughout Looking for Comedy. In addition to Harvey, there are two critical scenes where Brooks’ State Department handler (played by John Carroll Lynch) queries Brooks on what comedians Brooks likes.
The first scene the handler mentions only currently hot comedians – specifically, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfield. Brooks responds to these requests by agreeing - rather flatly and without much enthusiasm – that each comedian is “good” or “funny”. Not precisely the highest praise for comedians widely considered the greatest of our times.
Later on, while touring the Taj Mahal, the handler begins to ask Brooks about great comedians of the past, Lenny Bruce in particular. Now, Brooks is much more effusive, calling Bruce “very, very good”. However, Brooks quickly ends the conversation by yelling that Lenny Bruce is dead.
So, is American comedy dead? Brooks seems to be saying that the Gods (of comedy) are dead and that only mediocre midgets remain.