Albert Brooks, the brilliant comedian and filmmaker, participated a Rolling Stone survey of comedians called “What’s So Funny?” One of the topics they were asked to comment on is the impact of the internet on comedy. Brooks’ answer is an amazing commentary on how criticism impacts creativity, especially when you’re developing your talent.
I think the internet is slowly going to take down all creativity. Great art of any kind needs a gestation period. It needs a period where people keep their opinions to their fucking selves. You take any artist from the history of the world, from Michelangelo to Bozo the Clown – and if you can have widespread opinion on their first time out, you can kill the great spark that makes them who they are. That is what the internet is allowing. It’s allowing millions of opinions on Day One. It’s almost like, if you show me your newborn baby, and I do complete genetic testing, and I tell you in the first week of your baby’s life that he’s going to make $18,000 a year and work in Africa and be an explorer, and he’s gonna get bitten by a tiger, and there’s a good chance he’s gonna have leukemia. I’m gonna take the joy out of his early child birthdays. Large amounts of opinion too early in an artist’s life is like a cancer.