The point is, I thought the show was just so-so. The girl next to me, who had paid big money for the tickets and was a die-hard Norm Macdonald fan, fuckin’ loved the show, even though there were long stretches where the entire audience was clearly iffy about what was happening, given their silence and polite chuckles. She was way more forgiving than me, clearly. So would I have enjoyed the show more if I had financially invested in its success?
Whether comedy critics/journalists are to be trusted is not really a question that can be posed by the comedy critics/journalists.
The Internet is so pervasive in its influence into pop culture and along with it, niché or, as Chris Rock would say, “cable” comedy has been given the reigns to where comedy is headed. As this is the case, it’s up to those fans, like the girl that Steve Heisler was sitting next to in the linked article, to decide who they trust and who they want to back. Unlike the days of where we are all collectively shocked about what a big time critic says about the latest episode of SNL, those invested in their comedy now have the option to stay shocked or completely ignore that person’s column in whatever big publication they write for because they found something that consistently fits their taste.
Ultimately, consistency is the only thing that can really be trusted in comedy criticism, especially given the vast subjectivity of what makes any individual laugh over another. Just write about what makes you laugh, perhaps dissect it if it warrants dissecting, and depending on how many people agree with you, they’ll place their trust in you.