A short rant about being funny…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s fine 17th c. English expletive is ‘Zauns!…’
A couple of lines from Farquhar’s play of 1698, Love in a Bottle:
Squire Mockmode: (having taken some snuff) Zauns, I must sneeze. (sneezes) Bless me…
Rigadoon: Oh fie, Mr Mockmode!…
(Taken from: Bozzimacoo: Origins & Meanings of Oaths & Swear Words by Mary Marshall. 1975.)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well, yes, I can just about put up with seeing a bad rock band, or half reading a bad book, or watching a bad film, or even eating a not very good cake in a cafe, but I draw the line at listening to bad stand-up comedians – it makes me squirm in my seat, it makes my flesh creep, and my toes curl frantically in my shoes…
These ‘comedians’ are usually young middle-class ex-drama students (of both genders) who can’t get acting jobs – lying in bed late one morning, staring at the ceiling, they think, Oh, never mind… Look, I’ve had all this excellent training in standing up addressing and communicating with an audience… Aha!… I know! I’ll be a stand-up comic, but only until a ‘dream part’ in a TV soap turns up – how difficult can it be? I’ve seen lots of young people like me do comedy – oh, they are so cool, and witty! Audiences adore them!…
They seem to have noticed the general shape that jokes come in, and they think that if they can slot in some episodes from their own safe, trendy, and very dull lives into these joke-shaped templates it will automatically be funny!… Er, excuse me… No, it won’t…
Mind you, the audiences for these performances will be mostly made up of young people just like them, people who have never really come across any good comedy, and as they drift into the comedy venue, having had one or two beers, they are not really sure what to expect, so when they hear the comedian come out with a line which is shaped like a joke, with a bit at the end which is shaped like a punch-line, they laugh uproariously at it – whatever it is…
One sure-fire strategy for the young comedian is to have plenty of references to sexual activity, farting, and other bodily functions – these always go well – people can easily relate to them, and also they are a little bit… naughty!… God help us!
The foundation of being funny is of course observation – if you haven’t been around very long you haven’t observed very much, so you don’t really have very much to pass on do you? So unfortunately you do have to draw on your own experience for your ‘insightful’ and ‘hilarious’ material… Hey, have you noticed, when you are standing, in the queue, at the supermarket, and someone…
(Audience rolling the aisles, tears in their eyes, hysterical, gasping for air…)

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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7 Responses to A short rant about being funny…

  1. I’m not a huge fan of stand up comedy either – I find real life more amusing, and witty one liners pertinent to whatever the situation is currently going on. But…..if I had to pick one comedian, I would say Peter Kaye is pretty funny sometimes….

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Oh, yes, Peter Kay – I agree… How do you feel about the late Bill Hicks?

      • Well, to be honest…..I’d never heard of him until you mentioned him. But after seeing a few videos on Youtube, I did find myself chortling quite a bit! I like what I have seen so far – off to watch some more. 😀

  2. Dave Whatt says:

    I found him a bit, shall we say rough, at first, but I soon warmed to him, he certainly told it like it was!…

  3. Yes, he dealt with hecklers rather well – very direct. Having watched some more, I still wouldn’t pay to go and see stand up comedy, to be honest. I can only do short doses. One person I really cannot tolerate at ALL, is Billy Connelly. He is just a buffoon who swears too much – AND he has a damn cheek going on about his life in Scotland when he skipped off to the US at the first chance he could. Ooooh don’t get me started! *ahem* sorry. 😀

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Funny you should say that, but I can’t stand Billy C. either – he is surprisingly un-funny, but people seem to think he’s cute and a ‘lovable rogue’… very fond of ‘toilet jokes’ as I recall. He was once in an episode of Columbo as a composer – he was awful…

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