Saturday, September 10, 2011

Comedy = Bravery

I suppose you'll be seeing a lot more things like this from me in the coming months.

Louis CK commenting on the influence of George Carlin

A couple of days ago I found out I'd be taking my first journey into the world of satirical comedic theatre (think "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report"). Not only that, the nature of the show requires that the ensemble rewrites the show's material each week. I'm immensely excited for the opportunity to explore this kind of work, but I would be kidding myself if I didn't acknowledge part of me that is completely terrified.

Comedy writing is a tough art. For someone to really be memorable at being funny, it requires much more than goofy voices and fart jokes. It's absolutely vital that s/he develops a uniquely specific and adaptable perspective of the world. Jon Stewart has described it as the ability to "articulate an intangible", verbally illuminating responses to our society that only exist as sensations for most of us. Equally as important is the challenge of straddling the line between incredibly funny and obscenely offensive, which the great comedic writers and performers are able to do with both daring and sensitivity.

In my research of how comedians build their material I came across this video, which I feel is a wonderful illustration of how really good comedic writing has the power to change ideas and perceptions just like poetry, song, essay, or any other written art form.

But honestly, if I can just get someone to laugh one good time, that'll be enough for me.


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