Oh New Yorker, we love you, we truly do, but maybe you should leave Brooklyn parody jokes to the professionals. The esteemed Manhattan magazine has many bouts of greatness to fall back on — including finally featuring Brooklyn hero Jo Firestone this week — but falls on its monocled face with a video posted yesterday mocking a “Brooklyn breakup.”
The New Yorker trips on the obvious and falls into the same trap many before it — including SNL, Jimmy Kimmel and countless web series filling our tips inbox every week — have fallen into: Instead of crafting a clever dig at the precious trends and idiosyncrasies of Brooklynites, they instead just find a way to list a bunch of sartorial and mason-jar related stereotypes about Brooklynites (and of course by Brooklynites, they mean that certain subsection of young creative types, not the diverse borough overall). Typewriters! Butterfly curtain! Rushmore VHS tapes! Don DeLillo AND Elena Ferrante books! Fancy coffees! The New Yorker, which always stays fresh with its relentless weekly assault of new issues in your mailbox, comes off real stale with this video.
We’ve made our case on this point several times before, but just repeating a bunch of “hipster” or “Brooklyn” stereotypes does not a clever joke make (though we give them points for eschewing tired skinny jeans jokes in favor of “ambiance racket,” which is indeed chuckle worthy). But there is no escalation of the joke, no spiraling up to absurdity or a slapstick payoff — it’s just a list of things we are supposed to find funny by very nature of them being read off consecutively.
There are clever ways to poke fun at our borough, which summons parody opportunities almost daily, and certainly deserves to have the righteous air let out of it by a good jab every so often. People who’ve done it successfully before have lampooned eccentric artists, ripped low-stakes awareness campaigns or satirized the speed dating scene. Brokelyn’s Sue Smith and Eric Silver did it with their Brokelandia videos ripping on foodies and Brooklyn’s ever-changing neighborhood names. In the non-video realm, we recommend the cartoons by Bushwick Daily‘s Jeremy Nguyen, who manages to create funny takes on many well-worn topics (ie: places that could become the “new Bushwick”).
Of course, much like how Andy Borowitz “humor” columns aren’t designed for anyone who has ever heard an actual joke in their life before, this Brooklyn parody is probably meant for the rest of America, not us here in the borough. So let’s all just watch our Rushmore VHS tapes instead.
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