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Review: Snelson: Comedy is Dying #1

Snelson: Comedy is Dying #1

There’s a lot of debate today about what comedy works and whether old routines would be allowed to be performed today. “Humor is being canceled”. While there’s absolutely an interesting discussion to be had about how comedy changes over time, that discussion isn’t really being had. Enter Snelson: Comedy is Dying #1, a new series which focuses on a former 90s “edgy” standup comic.

Written by Paul Constant, Snelson: Comedy is Dying #1 is about Melville Snelson, a once popular comedian who has had better days. His old jokes are a bit tired and offensive, not to mention the “incident”. Snelson isn’t done yet so decides to tour with a group of young, socially conscious comedians in the South. How’s that going?

Snelson: Comedy is Dying #1 has moments of interesting commentary but as the issue goes on and finally wraps, what was interesting never quite lands. Constant gives Snelson a reason to go back to his “old ways”. Where he recently had to work on new material, Snelson wraps up the issue with a tired rant about how the old days don’t work today. It’s a bit of an eye roll of an end of the issue. Where the comic had promise of generations of comedians debating what does and doesn’t work the comic really winds up showing they’re all a bit self-centered and people to not like or cheer for. The punchline feels like “what’s the point?”. Part of that problem is the nature of monthly comics and serialization so we’ll see where Constant takes things.

The art by Fred Harper is interesting delivering a design that feels a bit like throwback underground comics in some ways. The characters and situations are over the top enhancing the laughs to some extent. The style and look would have had no problem fitting in to comics of the past that pushed the concept of “adult” comics. There’s more than enough details added to help tell the story more then the dialogue lets on. Body language and the look of characters adds to the ups and downs of the story.

Snelson: Comedy is Dying #1 leaves things in an interesting place but it never quite sets things up well enough to care. By the end, a lot of the characters are just unlikeable and it retreads concepts from the film Funny People. It’s hard to cheer for any of them. There’s also not a lot of gray area within, it presents characters and a plot whose enjoyment may solely rely on one’s worldview. It’s a comic that has potential but based on the first issue I’m not confident has it to say something really smart about the world and its characters.

Story: Paul Constant Art: Fred Harper
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

AHOY Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus Comics

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  • Yeah, have to agree with most of your points here, Brett.

    I did love “No beer. Since I been saved.” joke. Dry counties are such a drag…

    • What’s interesting is the way it ends, Snelson is a hypocritical asshole. He goes off about comedy dying but he was “playing it safe” for a bit. He sold out and then kind of sells out again.