I have a friend who's what you'd call a "comedy nerd," albeit of a very specific kind. He seems to hold the belief--a common one among those in their twenties--that the world sprang into being one day in 1989 and reached its full flowering roughly two decades later, miraculously coinciding with his own coming of age. Consequently, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of standup comedy from 2010 to the present and zero interest in anything that came before.
There's nothing especially noteworthy about that. I figure we can chalk it up to the temporal provincialism of the young. What bothers me is that he's always dropping the names of these comedians into casual conversation as if I should know who they are, no explanation or context necessary. I'll say something about going to church, for example, and he'll say, "Well, Jokey McGee says that religion is like sculpting your eyebrows: it's okay in moderation but at a certain point it starts to get creepy."
"Who's Jokey McGee?" I'll say. "Is that a friend of yours?"
And he'll look at me as though I just asked who Barack Obama was. "I mean, he has a podcast and appeared on an episode of Enlightened!"
I'm sorry, but these are not the credentials of a household name. I'm gonna need a modifier or two.
Yesterday, shortly after having an exchange like the one above, I announced that I've begun watching All in the Family and plan to work my way through all 208 episodes.
"Which one is All in the Family again?" he said.
Um, a genuinely famous work in your alleged area of expertise, that's what.
When I expressed my confusion over how he could criticize me for not knowing rando Jokey McGee when he himself didn't know what All in the Family was, he said, "Well, I don't sit around watching TV Land at 2am."
No, you evidently sit around acquainting yourself with the work of Jokey McGee. Which is fine, more power to you. But your way of wasting time isn't superior to mine just because it's a new way of wasting time. You fritter your life away your way, I'll fritter mine away mine, okay?