Friday, 30 November 2012

Comedy musings

I've sort of turned my comedy into some kind of dark therapy these days.

I just can't seem to make idle observations about life and then spin-them ever so slightly to the left or right in order to make people laugh at the light stuff. I can't do it...Correction, I can do it, but I don't enjoy doing it. Surely comedy is also about the performer themselves having fun within their own carefully defined parameters?

I was discussing Youtube vids in front of a crowd of 15-20 people in a pub in North London, and in particular one clip of a pop video...You know, them pop videos you have today, on the internets and the wifis and the Android seemed to feature a lot of zooming in and out, I made the throwaway comment 'I thought..."this amount of zooming in and out is specifically reserved only for porn videos." Which, triggered the biggest laugh of my night. A casual remark, sold with enough nonchalance, seems to bring bigger laughs than a carefully thought out twisty turny routine built on callbacks, layers, and idiots answers.

There was another time when my routine about the death of the English language was going down like a maths test last thing on a Friday...So I began to berate the audience's lack of engagement and they loved it. They loved the fact that I lost my rag with them and began to mock them from a position of superiority. However, what sold that one was I began to put on my Yorkshire accent (half my family hail from Yorkshire so I can nail it) and say things like "Is this what you want? A northern man talking about things from the north in the 1980s? Like Dandelion and Burdock? and Swizzels-Matlow from New Mills Derbyshire...Ooo remember Sherbet Dib-dabs, I do. The stick was yellow wasn't it. It tasted like burning lemons. What is Burdock? It sounds like a chip-shop. Chips in newspaper. Burdocks fish n chips on a Friday, thanks mum. 5p a bus ticket. BFH that's your bus-fare home!" Basically I unleashed a mocking tirade of northern observational clang syndrome on them and it seemed to go down well. The barman said he'd not seen anybody get laughs like that in a while and that my 'act' was brilliant.

It was an act, but with 90% of it inspired by control freakery. John Richardson does this brilliantly, he gets angry over the little annoyances in life and weaves it into stories that people can relate to. I have a million and one similar stories that I'd like to turn into routines, but it seems that commercial success in comedy lies with simple observation of a halcyon northern childhood.

So the dark therapy is, simply playing up to this...Getting angry at the crowd for not liking my self indulgent ramblings, and so turning my thoughts into a mockery of the wants and needs of the crowd, that simultaneously refreshes them.

Follow any of this? I didn't.

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