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Wednesday, April 15

The flaming obvious

I don't like it when I'm being told the flaming obvious. I specifically don't like it when someone prepares me for a big revelation, only to follow it up with the flaming obvious or other underwhelmingness (underwhelmingness? underwhelmingitude? underwhelmery?). I think this applies across the board - no matter which aspect of my life we're dealing with, the obvious doesn't appeal to me.

Sometimes my perception of the obvious is different to others'.

I think where I find it the least satisfying is in comedy. The reason for this is that I see comedy differently as I'm both a creator of it and a fan. Like a wine afficionado is probably dissatisfied with the house red at a Little Chef, so I can't find much to adore in the obvious. It's worse, because when I choose to consume comedy, I have such high expectations of it.

Mind you, what's obvious or not worthy of the build up is, innately, relative to the build up. The point is that comedians often build you up hugely for the routine they're about to deliver.

None of this is specifically aimed at tonight's gig, by the way. Everyone, myself included, delivered a range of things from the predictable through to the oblique and I am not going to review any specifics.

In the car on the way home, listening to a podcast, I came to ponder some of my own creative decisions. I think it's fair to say that I kept one thing in my last proper Edinburgh show - Discograffiti - that I don't think worked properly ever. I kept it in because it was part of a narrative that I felt was structural, and led to some better jokes - I could have cut it. I was preserving truth over beauty... that's crap. I was not editing hard enough. There was nothing obvious about the routine, but it was obviously not that funny and slightly awkward.

Oddly, belied by the fact that the track is on the album for the show (available in all good outlets - i.e. me, and Amazon), it was entirely at the 11th hour that I bothered writing a title track for the show. Clearly a show called Discograffiti needs a song that somehow puts a bow on things and makes sense of the title and the purpose for blethering about it all. That's obvious. Not to me when I wrote the show, though.

The lesson here - obvious is in the eye of the.... well you can work out the rest (and some of the preceeding bit too).


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