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Chris Hicks: Modern comedies are all dirty jokes and a strangely obtuse sense of humor

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Movie comedies rely heavily on dirty jokes these days, and I for one am weary of the sameness. How is this not a cliché to be avoided when everybody’s doing it, and not just theatrical films but also TV and streaming shows?

Is there a sitcom on TV today that can go five minutes without some crude joke? Mostly it’s coarse language — a cuss word or a once-unmentionable body part, things that used to be big no-nos on commercial television, but which are now used as punchlines.

And often it’s just a formerly taboo word being spoken, without any kind of joke attached, the kind of thing that gets laughs from sniggering schoolboys when one of them says something naughty.

These are variations on a theme, and not very distinctive variations. They’re all the same: crass, juvenile, simple-minded, gross, disgusting — and worse, redundant.

Then there’s the preponderance of comic actors taking on a kind of strange obtuse disconnect, a form of humor that eludes me as much as the dirty jokes.

I’ve never been able to understand the appeal of, say, Kate McKinnon or Zach Galifianakis, whose movie characters always seem to be on some other plane, as if they’ve arrived from an alternate universe and are here by mistake.

And the violent, angry comedy of Melissa McCarthy, whose pratfalls often seem less like choreographed slapstick and more like winging-it chaos. (Buster Keaton must be spinning in his grave.)

I have grandkids that have grown up with this constant stream of jokes about sex and body parts and out-of-control bodily functions as a major part of their commercial entertainment, and they seem to get a real kick out of shows that are riddled with sleazy gags — or with McKinnon just staring into space or Galifianakis saying something wildly inappropriate or McCarthy being violently knocked down or violently knocking someone else down.

They laugh. I cringe.

A lot of this kind of humor works better in short skits, so it’s no surprise that many of today’s comic movie stars come from sketch shows such as “Saturday Night Live.” But in movies, their shtick wears out its welcome rather quickly, and then the movie goes on for another 90 minutes.

It’s actually kind of sad. There was a time when comedies were the movies I most looked forward to. These days, they are my most neglected movie genre. Or instead of “neglected,” perhaps “ignored” is a better word.

I hardly ever go to comedies anymore. And when I do, I’m either disappointed or disgusted.

My wife says we’ve just aged out. We’re out of step. We’re too old to get it. So why bother to try?

She suggested this after a trailer we watched in a theater last week for an upcoming R-rated comedy with Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith called “Girls Trip,” which had some jokes and foul language that shocked us a bit.

To be clear, it wasn’t the comedy material that shocked us. Sadly, we’ve come to expect that. We were shocked because this extreme material was in a trailer — a green-band trailer that was deemed by the Motion Picture Association of America’s rating board to be appropriate for mass-audience consumption, but which nonetheless had very crass language, crude sexual one-liners and even some suggestive hand gestures.

A green-band trailer is one that begins with a green title card that says this preview is appropriate for the audience watching it and which includes an explanation of the film’s rating — in this case, a lengthy description of the R-rated content.

But there are also red-band trailers for some R-rated films, which can be shown with the R-rated movie you came to see. “Girls Trip” has one of those, too, which I looked up online to compare it to the one we saw in a theater.

Aside from a few even-more graphic spoken words in the red-band preview — including the F-word — the two trailers are identical.

So, OK, the red-band one is worse. But the green-band trailer is “appropriate” for all audiences? Are they kidding?

The worst thing about this, for us personally, is that since “Girls Trip” doesn’t open until late July, we may find ourselves subjected to the trailer again. And again. And again.

It’s enough to keep me housebound for a while.