Food culture, food comedy

Have you noticed how many of the top comedians have produced some of their best material recently on the American food culture and how they deal with it?

Some of the most hilarious routines focus on absurdities in the standard American diet. If you haven’t seen Jim Gaffigan riffing on Hot Pockets, take a look.

If there is any food comedy better than Gaffigan on Hot Pockets, it’s Louis C.K. on Cinnabon.

Many of us can see ourselves in these clips–the craving, the rationalizing, how much we want the things our taste buds have been trained to desire even though we know they’re really bad for us. Given the real pain of compulsive overeating, this may be painful to watch. But it can be cathartic to laugh at ourselves and the predicament we face. How does a person escape the trap* when foods that are designed to be as addicting as possible are marketed around the clock and made available wherever people have the money to buy them?

Here’s Gaffigan again, on McDonalds and everything it represents.

Whatever your guilty pleasure may be, “It’s all McDonalds out there.”

Comedy can be a portal to awareness. Consider “The Foodroom” from Inside Amy Schumer.

Somehow, the choices presented to us at fast food outlets seem even crazier when the corporate offices respond to vague consumer demand for healthier-seeming options.

Whatever its origin, there is an old expression that comedy is tragedy plus time. No wonder that comedians are finding American food culture to be such a target-rich environment. It’s hard not to laugh.

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*There are solutions, including developing guidelines around when to eat out, identifying problem foods and locations, planning ahead when traveling, packing snacks and learning to forgive ourselves after an episode that can become the subject of intense self-criticism. And it helps to learn to see the humor. Check this space for more on these and other strategies.

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