I’ve been doing stand up for 15 years. I’ll be slowing down a little on that front (after doing Ladies Night, Brissie folk..) to burn down Stav’s favourite pub, and I’m sure the world of comedy will struggle on without me until I come back. It feels a little like taking time out from that friend who borrows your stuff and doesn’t give it back, drinks a little too much and sometimes offends your other friends, but without whom you’d be quite lost. I think about comedy a lot. Here’s some of the stuff I think.
Get a group of comedians together in the same place (virtual or real life) for long enough, and they’ll probably start arguing over what makes a person a comedian and what the job of a comedian is. I think its really very simple. A comedian is a person who can consistently make a room full of strangers laugh and their job is do just that. Make them laugh. That’s all. If you’re able to do it and make them think, or look at the world in a different way – that’s fantastic. But a comic who knows how to simply tell a story and make the audience laugh while they do it is doing it right too.
I love a good rant. But it has to be a good one. Watching a good comic use their wordsmithing skills to make mincemeat of a politician, or a concept, or a drunken heckler who is swimming in rum is a beautiful thing. And it takes consummate skill to make it thought provoking and funny at the same time. But witnessing someone on stage’s inarticulate rage about a topic, or directed at the audience themselves is just uncomfortable to watch and self indulgent to perform. Chris Rock can really rant. Louis C.K. is a master at it. The guy or girl whose name you didn’t catch who used the C word seven times and threw the mic at the end of his laughter free set – not so much.
I’ve been to thousands of comedy shows. Here are some things I have heard audience members say:
Do you think he’s really a ranga? (in relation to Tom Gleeson)
That chick didn’t suck. I thought she’d suck.
That guy that did the thing – and the way his face moved – he was great!
That chick was shit. Chicks shouldn’t do comedy.
It must be exhausting to be in his head. My ass hurts from laughing so hard.
Here are some things I’ve never heard them say:
I really enjoyed being called a bunch of fucking morons by that comedian. I think he really nailed it.
How great was it when that comic guy lost it and started yelling when talking about asylum seekers. It reminds of that time we saw that couple with the baby screaming at each other at Maccas. Hilarious!
I came here to be lectured, not to laugh, dammit!
You know, I think I’ve had more than enough Bundy and cokes. I’ll stop now.