Wow, my previous post caused a sudden surge of comments. They’re all very sweet. Rather than answer them all individually in the form of more comments, I’ll selectively re-print them here in the form of a dialogue. Well, more like a septilogue, or something. Whatever.
Scatman Dan (earlier): Can I produce enough original material by Sunday to make my act long enough to be worth performing?
Heather: Judging by the size of your notebook – yes. I find things always take longer than I think they will.
Scatman Dan: Yeah; but you’ve seen some of the contents of the notebook. I mean, there’s a quarter page dedicated to the investigation of whether the following joke is actually funny (spoiler: it isn’t): “Three gay guys go into a closet. One comes out.” Sheer quantity doesn’t actually make you funny in itself.
Tom Davies: [Yeah, but] don’t be afraid to try new things on an audience.
Scatman Dan: I’m not, usually, but somehow this time I feel like I should at least have something that promises to tickle them. On the other hand, there’ll be three other guys to try to promise that, so perhaps I should be a little more adventurous.
Scatman Dan (earlier): How much of my previous material is acceptable for re-use?
Heather: None of it. I’d be quite disappointed if I came along and you were reverting to stuff we’ve laughed at before.
Scatman Dan: That’s what I was afraid of.
Heather: Actually, if there was a particular thing and you can work one hell of a callback, that’s ok to repeat.
Scatman Dan: That’s a far more positive answer.
Matt In The Hat: Play it by ear. If you don’t recognise the audience or if you happen to be in the neighbourhood of one of your ‘older’ jokes then use it.
Scatman Dan: Good advice.
Scatman Dan (earlier): Is any of this stuff even funny?
Scatman Dan: Yeah, I know. Like I said, I know this stuff is semi-irrational.
A Lonely Sense of Humour
Scatman Dan (earlier): Why do people keep trying to help me?
Heather: I keep “trying to help you” because I want to steal your reject jokes, and to palm off all my tasteless ones on to you to make funny.
Scatman Dan: Fair play (and I do appreciate your – and anybody’s – help… usually). To clarify: I don’t mind help, but sometimes I really don’t want it. I tried to explain this to Claire the other week – most of the things I end up recording or making a note of for later aren’t even remotely funny. They’re recorded because they might lead to something funny, but if I think too hard about them while they’re unfunny I never get motivated to find the joke in them again. That’s just me being odd.
Matt In The Hat: People will keep trying to help you because you’re doing stand-up comedy. Since everyone is funny at some point some people get the impression that they are an authroity on it. Some people are writers who want you to perform their material. Others are making conversation. What I always found frustrating was that somebody would tell me something that didn’t fit my style and I’d have to smile and nod. I imagine with an absurdist route you’ll be doing that a lot.
Scatman Dan: Excellently put. And you’re very right.
Scatman Dan (earlier): I have a very unusual sense of humour, which doesn’t really translate very well to anybody else. For example, here are several of the funniest things I have ever thought about: [gives three examples]
Tom Davies: I particularly like the thing about lettuce. Punning is possibly the most underappreciated of the comedy arts.
The Pacifist: I did find the lettuce thing amusing. Far too much stand-up nowadays seems to focus on satirical observations or sarcastic… it would be a pleasant change to have puns, surrealism and huge, huge tangents…
JenBanks (via IRC): Lettuce of the Alphabet is hilarious.
Scatman Dan: What do you know; I’m not the only one.
Scatman Dan (earlier): If you come along and see me on Sunday, that’s what you’ll be seeing – the patently bizarre.
Tom Davies: Don’t shy away from absurditiy (or things that Dan finds funny).
Heather: I like absurdity. I like laughing. You’ll kick ass. I’ll buy you a drink afterwards.
Scatman Dan: That’s a promising start.
Matt In The Hat: As I’m sure you know, the absurdist route can be a great one for one-liners. You mis-pronounce soemthing and then turn it into a joke or you just randomly stop in the middle of a set to throw in a one-liner.
Scatman Dan buzzes and does a little dance.
The Curious Things That People Say
Becky: Oh shit, what the smeg’s that word I use… the one were you put your head in some chick’s cleavege? You know what I mean.. now THAT was funny.
Scatman Dan: Mmm… embezzling. But is it more or less funny than The Feather Game? Y’know, sometimes I think that we’re the only people in the world who’d appreciate reverse engineering of a trifle. And I wrote an entire page on that.
Jon: Video the event. It would be nice to see.
Scatman Dan: Not sure I can manage that, but we’ll see. Or wait until I’m funnier. All of the best comedians in the world are over 30, which means I can only get better, yet.
Scatman Dan: That you to everybody who commented, but that there were so many comments of reassurance demonstrates that I didn’t write my previous post very well. I tried, with phrases like “the following semi-irrational concerns“, “I’d been quite frankly shitting myself, until tonight“, and “Thankfully I’ve found a cross-over”, to indicate that since last night, everything’s a lot better. Everything’s slotted into place quite nicely. Claire was revising, so I sat down with some complete strangers and a couple of pints and discussed funny things and then wrote a whole heap of material which’ll kill. Nonetheless, thank you all for your varied votes of confidence; hopefully I’ll show you I’ve earned it come the weekend.
My previous post was supposed to be uplifting, but it evidently came out kind-of bland, just like this one would if I ended it here, inconclusively.