Sunday, 14 August 2011

Comedy in poetry and writing

09:26:00 Posted by Lindsay 1 comment
When I was asked to be the guest blogger for this illustrious online publication, my first thought was, no, I wouldn’t. However, being chained to a radiator and given several swift kicks to the groin can do much to change a man’s opinion and I am more than happy to be typing this out to you right now.

As an aspiring stand-up myself, I thought I’d focus on comedy performance as a whole, rather than comedy within poetry:

Performing comedy is bloody difficult as humour is subjective. One person’s idea of humour triggers another’s offence-o-meter. Thus, just how do you go about trying to make a room full of people laugh? It’s easier for the big-names – audiences flock to see the celebrity performer as much they go to see their jokes. They’re primed to laugh. Yet, presumably, they must have started out the same way as the rest of us. Although probably without the coffee shop. And Merlin.

So, here’s an idiot’s guide to what you need as a comedy performer:

AUDIENCE: You need one of these. Preferably more than one, although one is better than none and would avoid a swift sectioning.

MATERIAL: You also need some of this. It has to be funny. If you’re printing this out to keep in your wallet or purse, please highlight that bit. Remember, cater for you, not the audience. Imagine yourself being booked for a wedding. You’ve been asked to prepare food for 200 people to a specific criteria. Ignore this and just do fish fingers. You like fish fingers.

LOOKS: Good ones can be distracting. It helps if you look a little bit odd. Perhaps you’re reading this through your one remaining eye whilst subconsciously rubbing the stump where your leg once was. If so, a stand-up career beckons. Probably best you sit down though. Someone will wheel you on when it’s your turn.

BELIEFS: If you don’t have opinions, you need to get some. Check out the Letters page of The Sun newspaper. Here, they publish the opinions of some of the United Kingdom’s greatest thinkers. And Page 3 is good for a wank if your internet is down.

STEREOTYPES: If all else fails, fall back on some good old-fashioned stereotypical humour. Scousers value the possessions of others; Scotsmen spend their money like there’s no tomorrow; Blackpoolians…. Blackpudlians… Blackpeople… Welsh people find the idea of sex with sheep abhorrent. As you can see, I’m particularly good at these.

DELIVERY: Forget doing it by hand, everyone’s on email nowadays. Except old people. And they don’t need entertaining when they have a backlog of Bargain Hunt and Countdown to work through on the Sky+.

COSTUME: Most go for the suit, but if you want to stand out in stand-up in the 21st century, you’re going to have to be different. Try a gimp mask and a nice pair of tight leather chaps. Your audience will love it. Particularly that man at the back in the long raincoat.

AVOID: These subjects unless you want to be pigeonholed for life: politics.

DEALING WITH HECKLERS: Simply have the bastards killed. Call ‘Ardnut ‘Arry on 07999 299299.

I think I’ve covered everything there. Of course, by revealing such intimate secrets of the world of performance comedy, I’m now liable to be hunted down by others in the business. But, like a magician breaking from the Magic Circle, I feel it is important people aren’t deluded about just what is needed to make audiences laugh. I hope this goes some way to helping those of you who are interested.

Oh, and, Lindsay: the radiator needs bleeding.

By Adam McCance


Lindsay said...

Thanks for your contribution Adam, and your views on comedy. You can go now, stop crying, it's ok it will stop hurting later.