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Friday, June 14

You Don't Have To Like Everyone

I've no problem who whoever
this guy is.
I've no idea who he is.
Comedy is a funny thing.

Obviously.

Given that making people laugh is a "jedi mind trick" it's no surprise that when it fails, audience members can react quite negatively to it. It's a bit like a magician trying to convince you that he can predict your card when you've just glimpsed the fact that the whole pack is the same. You can feel cheated. A comedian who doesn't make you laugh can be the world's worst charlatan.

Comedians are, in the main, more polarised and extreme audience members that non comedians. A comedian's judgement of another is most often emphatic. It comes from the illusion of knowledge about the art and craft. A comedian could say "Speaking as a comedian, I think that this other comedian clearly doesn't know what they're doing, in a way that I can determine because I am a master of the craft." I emphasise the word "could" there.

I don't think it's the right of a comedian to use their status as a comedian as somehow proof that their dislike of an act is somehow more justified than a non-comedian's admiration of an act. I say that, I'm pretty sure that I fall into this trap. I have no time for:

  • Lazy old-school drag-wearing character comics
  • Young boys whose idea of humour is to declare everyone a prick...
  • ... or who substitute good cheer and a haircut for material
  • ... or who have Daddy Issues and no talent
  • Old school "blue" comedians who substitute received bigotry for wit
  • Newbies who think that their formulaic dross, delivered without panache, is somehow deserving of a break
  • People who mistake their own ambition as proof that they're contributing to the art somehow
  • Anyone for whom their own hubris is invisible to them
  • Lazy musical comics
  • Lazy comics
  • Comedians who deliberately make an issue of things about their life that, by rights, shouldn't make us hate them
  • Comics with all style and no substance, selling old rope to idiots
  • The blacks
Except for the last one, which was my joke-item-at-the-end-of-the-list, you wanker!

So what do I do when I see someone having a go at a comedian I rather enjoy and admire? I can disagree with them. That's not altogether productive though. I found a solution. I simply dialled my mp3 player across to some recordings I have of this comedian and had a good laugh at their delightfully funny material.

If it makes me laugh, then I like it. My status as a comedian is irrelevant.

It doesn't have to make a particular someone else laugh for me to consider it worthwhile.

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