Happy Are the Mirth-Makers
Which came first, the twisted mind or the culture that twisted it? In my case, who knows. But I do know, for sure that Martin Mull and what turns out to be very short stints as Barth Gimble on Fernwood 2Night and then America 2-Night helped shape my sense of wit. We're talking years before Letterman, decades before Larry Sanders. We're talking the same spitting range as Mike Douglas and Merv, other fixtures of our televisual household (we were not an outdoors family). I learned a generation of wordless facial takes watching Mull mull-over the desperate, talentless, and clueless about him, and who doesn't feel that way about the world, especially at 14 and 15? How amazingly ridiculous everything seems, of course starting with one's own self, but it's so much easier to roll one's eyes in exasperation at everything not us, isn't it. (Please do not ponder how far I've grown past that 15-year-old, cause if you do I'll have to make a face.)
But my god how I like to make fun of things. And the roots of me as critic might start in parody like this, that essential sense of "aboutness." Sure you could create, or you can respond to what others create, and thus the ink doth spill, years and years of music reviews (we called them records then, kids!) and film and books and plays. If others didn't create I'd be nothing.