Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One Girl's Giggle...

Laughter is universal. Comedy, on the other hand, is completely subjective. What makes me laugh out loud may leave you scratching your head or wincing in pain, and that’s ok. In the end, one girl’s giggle is another girl’s groan. I completely understand if you disagree with everything I write.

Before you do, however, let me share a little, give you some sense of where my favorite comedy comes from.

When I was 9 years old, my parents joined a Friday night bowling league. I would sit in the playroom, reading book after book until 11:00 pm, when the small black and white television became MINE to control. I got lost in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, even though I didn’t understand half of what I was watching. Saturday afternoons were spent with my father, Abbott and Costello, the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy and Benny Hill. Sunday after church was prime time for spinning Bill Cosby, Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin albums on my crappy little turntable.

As I grew, so did my love. Saturday Night Live mesmerized me. I would tape Fridays on my little GE recorder and replay the episodes at 2 am when childhood insomnia got the best of me. During college, my hilarious friend Jonathan would get me out of deep funks by doing Woody Allen’s “I shot a moose once in upstate New York…” bit in his finest Brooklynese. After college, when I moved to Indiana for a boyfriend who dumped me a week later, Comedy Central was my Haagen-Daz. Stand up became an all-consuming passion. My affair with comedy, like all good sex, has been long, deep and constant.

I have friends who are comics. They make a living at it, they build their lives around it, and I feel some sort of hero worship for each and every one of them. I spent many years of my childhood performing for people, either in church or school choir or competitive drama. While I enjoyed it then, I have no real taste for the stage at the moment. I understand it isn't easy for many people to allow themselves to sing at karaoke night in their mother's living room, much less reveal their idea of funny to a room full of people who may or may not have come to laugh. If you get onstage, you automatically earn points with me.

Once there, however, bring your A game. Stand up has a history. There are many people like me out here who see it as an art form, and want you to treat it with some respect. I know the difference between a good comedian who maybe shouldn't be doing shots during his set and a drunken idiot who never should have taken the mic in the first place. There are few sweeter sensations in my life than giving my mind to someone else for an hour and letting them exhaust it with laughter. And, though critiquing comedy is a lot like Monday morning quarterbacking, I'm taking a shot at it, because I want to build the audience, fill the club and pay these people back for the joy they bring to me.

So, expect that my Earth Mother nurturer side will try to put a positive spin on unpolished sets. If someone is just starting out, I won't hold them to the same standards as a 20 year veteran. I will try to find the kernel of potential in everyone, because that's the Pollyanna personality I was born with. I will also, however, point out weak lines, bad audience interaction and material that didn't hit home.

Still, it's just one girl's opinion. I will always tell you to go check out the show or the artist for yourself. I welcome you to share your view, your comedy loves or hates, here on the blog. Feel free to drop me a line at any time.

Ok. The lights are out. Mark's just told us all to keep our table talk to a minimum and our laughter to the max. Put your hands together for your MC....

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