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Typing Comedians

May 1, 2010

There has been a lot of talk about typing comedians in the mbti community (without any attempt at justification), so I decided to give my assessment. (Please debate me on this, it’s why I started this blog).  Even if you think mbti is bullshit – which I think 35% actually is.

ENTP:Bill Maher, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Katt Williams, Eddie Izzard, Jon Stewart, Denis Leary, Lewis Black, George Carlin, Sasha Baron Cohen, Sarah Silverman, Stephen Colbert

Like the INFP, they have an irreverent sense of humor, but coupled with far more anger. I get the sense, that when they are not on stage, it’s the way they are off camera with their friends and family. To these guys, it’s not a joke (they live this way, they rant the same way to their friends). They don’t care as much about entertaining you as much as preaching, or convincing you that their world view is correct. They have a certain aggressiveness that is palpable. They have a body language that is very confident and in your face.

Their views on religion, politics, social mores, etc are very well defined and thought out in a logical way. They are on a mission to force there views on you. Their humor is based on a social, political and moral agenda above all. They also tend to obsessed with making fun of religion, while another element in their humor typically, is that they try to make you feel small – if you don’t agree with their point.

Incidentally, when these guys make jokes about smoking crack in a trailer park with a bearded female dwarf; they probably have – it’s not really a joke.

INTP: Steven Wright, Larry David

Steven Wright is by far the most conceptual. His humor is based on language and the multi layered meanings of language. Similar to the ENTP, he doesn’t seem to care as much if you get it. The humor is far less humanistic or socially conscious as the INFP and ENTP. It’s the only kind of comedy, that amazingly, lacks people as the basis of the humor.

I think if there were more professional INTP comics, there sarcasm would have the same edge or making the audience feel small that the ENTPs exhibit. Sadly, I think the reason there aren’t more of these comics is that there humor appeals to smaller market (namely the NFs and NTs). I have a suspicion, though, that there are a lot of INTP professional writers, that work behind the scenes at places like SNL, Daily Show, Colbert Show, sitcoms etc). I think they might write comedy as well or better than anyone. Larry David I could see as a possible ENTP but something about his body language is more Introvert to me. Also, his humor has less of a social message than most ENTPs have. He’s also not as preachy.

IXTJ: Seinfeld

Not as sure about this one. I could see him being an INTP or ISTJ as well. His “observational” humor is centered around pointing out the idiosyncrancies in life. The illogical and the absurd but in a day to day way. He doesn’t have a heavy handed moral or political agenda. His body language screams introvert to me. He often laughs at his own jokes before he finishes them.

He’s not belligerent in his style. He has a light sense of humor but it doesn’t mean he’s a light person. He can be just as dark as an ENTP or INFP (off stage) but they don’t like to discuss those things in public as much.

I think the INTJs are more vicious in their thinking than the ENTPs but for some reason the ones I know in real life, hold it back in their humor. Maybe, because they want to hide that side of themselves? They hesitate when they say something off color (though I know they’re thinking it); they’ll do these quick darting sidewards glances before saying it to me. Which I think makes them less demonstrative in gesture and tone.

ENFP: Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Andy Kaufmann

They are edgy and belligerent to an extent. Quirky and ironic. But I get the impression that they want you to laugh more than anything else. They want you to like them. Lenny Bruce and Hicks could give a shit, they want you to hear the message. I get the sense the point of their comedy is to entertain above all else. They want to show you a good time than impress a world view. Not that they don’t have serious world views, but it’s secondary in their comedy. Sarcastic as well but not with the mean edge of the ENTPs.

ESFP: Carrot Top, Bob Hope, Howie Mandel.

Very off the cuff, slapstick. Sometimes clever and witty but in a very different way than the other comedians. They don’t take themselves seriously at all. They want to be liked and show you a good time (as well as have a good time themselves). If this means they take a pie in the face, it’s all good, as long as you laugh. You know their harmless so it’s hard to hate them, even if you don’t laugh at their jokes.

INFP: Richard Pryor, David Chappelle, Woody Allen

This type is my favorite kind, because I find them the most creative. ENTP comedians sound like myself expressing my own views on things (so to me, it’s less entertaining), I can sense them trying to force their views on me (luckily I agree, so I love ENTP comedians as well). But the INFP raises comedy to an artform! The INFP comic is the most soulful comic. Similar to ENTP comics,they have a deep moral and social message. But unlike ENTPs, they tend to use more narrative in their humor. They tell stories, they give you an understanding and sympathy of the human condition, the overly analytical ENTPs don’t. They are less antagonistic and exhibit far more vulnerability. They have less developed political or philosophical stances (in terms of logical expression); but they deeply care about those issues. There material is less ego driven. It’s more affirming and accepting of others, even the stupid fucktard muppets (as some ENTPs describe them).

If you watch Chappelle being interviewed with Maya Angelou, he was in awe of her. She was criticizing him but he couldn’t respond because he respected her too much. An ENTP might respect her just as much, but wouldn’t let that fact affect their view of them. INFPs tend to be more awestruck by their idols. Watch Chappelle when he has a band on he likes, he can’t speak. If an ENTP has a band on they like, they’ll still fuck with them. It doesn’t mean they don’t respect them as much as an INFP, it’s actually a way for them to get even closer and interact with their idols, instead of missing a one in a lifetime chance – by drooling and smiling.

ESTP: Andrew Dice Clay, Colin Quinn, Chris Tucker, Cedric the Entertainer, David Letterman, Rodney Dangerfield, Dane Cook?

Clever, witty, quick and aggressive. Similar to the ENTP, but I don’t see them with the same fervor in getting across a specific agenda or philosophy on life. Their humor tends to touch on serious subjects in a light manner (they haven’t thought it through as much) but when their humor touches those topics, they express it in the same aggressive manner as the ENTP. They tend to be concerned more about their image of being a badass or an alpha male.

ESTJ: Jay Leno

Not sure why on this one, maybe you guys can help out. I just get an ESTJ feel. He seems very disciplined and choreographed, extremely motivated, but doesn’t take big chances. Not conceptual, political or moral. He doesn’t have that F vibe that the ENFPs and INFPs have. Kind of sarcastic but not enough to hurt your feelings.

INFJ: Kevin Mcdonald (from kids in the hall – one of the most innovative troupes ever)

He seems INF to me but maybe INT. Definitely IN though.

Was Confused by: Andy Kaufman (my friend has a great argument for him being an ENFP)

I’ve never seen Andy Kaufman out of character. Whenever you see him, he’s playing a role. His humor is always about being in character. I don’t know what to think, because I’ve never seen him be himself.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. eunho permalink
    May 1, 2010 3:32 pm

    There’s a typo. ‘IXTJ: Seinfeld’ I suppose you meant INTJ: Seinfeld.

  2. May 4, 2010 1:57 am

    X means you’re not really sure whether they’re an S or an N

  3. May 18, 2010 5:31 pm

    I just watched Dress to Kill and while Izzard has that ENTP energy and political bent, I think he’s probably INFP. He talks about being really shy as a kid … he probably got into dressing in women’s clothes to self-soothe … and the political stuff isn’t as pointed as the NTs. He drops some threads and makes some soft points for the joke.

    This is just my initial impression. I’m going to watch the rest of his stuff and see if it bears up.

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