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Monday, July 26

Maybe Just Getting Old

I think I've always had a slightly irascible side. I can allow myself to be irritated by things; this leads me to wanting to take action to do something about whatever it is. I was quite a sarcastic proactive dick back in my mid twenties and then I think it pretty much went away in my early thirties as I was always far more engaged with other things, like running (well, driving) around the country messing about.

Or perhaps the memory cheats. Maybe I'm always like this. I don't know. However, I do know that I'm definitely in touch with the more campaigning side of my personality. It's a product of the fact that I see the world in black and white and cannot actually cope with something that is (to me, at least) obviously completely wrong.

This is why I waded into the Keith Chegwin row. As far as I'm concerned it's a really simple situation. It's also compounded by the rather illiterate means by which Chegwin appears to express himself, which activates the genes I have which judge people as being lesser if they're not even showing basic education. I guess my logic goes like this "if this person can't even write in English, how can they expect their opinions to be taken as though they're logical?". I can't help being snooty, it's innate. I try to avoid it when I can, but it's there. I form judgments.

How do you deal with having a judgmental personality? I try to make some/all of it come out in my comedy. When this works, it's like making gold from lead - it's quite magical and you get a positive result from it. Joking about something that annoys you is very cathartic. If that's not possible, I might write something serious about it. Sometimes I write it here. Sometimes I submit it to a wider audience. There's no harm in putting yourself out there.

The difficulty with criticising things outside of yourself is two-fold. Someone can always question your entitlement to make any criticism. I think we all have the right to our own opinion (even if you are Keith Chegwin and, therefore, are wrong). I think we can all form conclusions from the things we know. Secondly, though, if you're criticising an individual, and they recognise themselves from your description, they may decide to wreak some sort of revenge upon you. Perhaps the aforementioned ex-TV-sub-celebrity might decide to get his lawyers in touch with me if I make too many assertions about his brainpower. Perhaps a fellow comedian, if I were to criticise their work, might react by creating social barriers within the comedy fraternity, affecting me in return. Criticism is not a case of broadcasting into a vacuum; there is a reciprocal effect.

That said, I can't quite stop myself from another mini-tirade.

Why are there some comedians out there who mistake blurting out filth and being obnoxious for being funny? Why is it reasonable to give a stage to someone whose idea of making someone laugh is to do the most banal form of witless obvious drivel? Worse still, why is it a good idea to give that person the stage at the Edinburgh Festival, in a way which implies to the average novice Fringe-goer that that's the standard you could expect of a Fringe show? Why do these newbies come up with this stuff? Are they doing it because it makes them happy? or do they think that the audience is a keyboard full of buttons they have to press. Why post on YouTube a clip of your drivel with an audience almost entirely silent at each line? Why does it bother me even more when this filthy outpouring is actually quite well assembled... a polished turd of pointlessness? Moreover, why did I knowingly seek out the particular subject of this rant in order to wind myself up about their ineptitude? Is it because I know I'll run into them at the festival, and I'm trying to work out whether I want to kill them, lest they make my attempts at comedy seem more difficult?

Rant over.

Comedians should focus on what they find funny, rather than on stuff that bothers them. I think that may be a hidden truth in this article by David Lister, which I otherwise entirely disagree with.

Hmm... I'll now stop this rant and do a separate post on my gig from Friday night, and the weekend in general.


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