We are living in the machine age. For the first time in history the comedian has been compelled to supply himself with jokes and comedy material to compete with the machine. Whether he knows it or not, the comedian is on a treadmill to oblivion.
Today's comedian has a cross to bear that he built himself. A comedian of the older generation did an act and he told the audience, This is my act. Today's comic is not doing an act. The audience assumes he's telling the truth. What is truth today may be a damn lie next week.
The perception of the comic is a tie of sympathy with other men, a pledge of sanity, and a protection from those perverse tendencies and gloomy insanities in which fine intellects sometimes lose themselves. A rogue alive to the ludicrous is still convertible. If that sense is lost, his fellow-men can do little for him.
We mustn't complain too much of being comedians -- it's an honorable profession. If only we could be good ones the world might gain at least a sense of style. We have failed -- that's all. We are bad comedians, we aren't bad men.
Comedy naturally wears itself out -- destroys the very food on which it lives; and by constantly and successfully exposing the follies and weaknesses of mankind to ridicule, in the end leaves itself nothing worth laughing at.