Friday, September 14, 2007

Comedy and Humo(u)r in 2020 (Part 1 of ?)

So I'm currently reading this book about life in 2020.
(Yes, you heard me--life in 2020.) To para-quote that chick from Talladega Nights "Lucy Dee is not a thinker--Lucy Dee is a planner!" So yeah, I'm planning ahead. You know---just in case.

Anyway, the book is called, Conversing with the Future: Visions of the Year 2020, by Jenna Catherine.

Okay, Lucy, what's up this time? Why is this book relevant?

Hold your horses! I was just getting to that, oh dear anxious blog reader.

And Lucy, has anyone ever told you that you're crazy?

yes. and your point?

(pause)

I picked up the book because I am always interested in the unexplained. And this book mentions what humo(u)r will be like in the future. If I'm a wise comedian, I should be prepared, right? I'm sure you want to be good at a job you love and, ideally, you wish to remain there for as long as humanly possible.

The author mentions that it's important to know the audience, not unlike today. And instead of you trying decipher my normally taxing posts, I'm just going to quote the text. Here the author differentiates between the way the audience perceives humor today, versus how an audience would in 2020 - page 66:

A performer in 2020 jokes about something, an embarrassing situation...he finds himself in. Today a person would view it as such: ..."Oh, how funny. That is so embarrassing; I've been there myself," but that would be the degree of her awareness.

A person in 2020 would be aware of much more...in addition to identifying with the embarrassing situation, she might be aware of true motivation of the performer (not just that he wants to get laughs), perhaps something about his purpose in life, something about the performer's past, including emotional experiences, his current feelings, maybe even his feelings in the future. She would know instantly and intuitively--as is the case with all of these observations--the effects the performer is having on herself, as well as on others in the audience. In other words, people are not just aware of what is happening in the current moment to themselves and others in the audience but also something about the entertainer's "past" and "future," bringing it into the now, as they view him.


So what about the entertainer in 2020? That's what we comedians need to know about! How does the comedian need to function? - page 66:

...[the] same broad perspective also applies to the entertainer himself, in 2020. He too sees the world through many eyes, and many time frames. In fact, if he is a highly skilled entertainer, his perspective is probably even broader than that of his audience members. Today, on-stage entertainers definitely prepare ahead of time but also rely on just "winging it." In 2020, they really wing it. Since they are highly aware of their audiences' perspective, they are able to use that energy--well, for their acts. They integrate the thoughts and feelings of their audience members right into their routines---and on the spot. In some ways, the audience becomes the entertainment. But I am not just saying they are highly skilled improvisational performers, I am saying they are vastly more aware than the same kinds of entertainers today.


What about the laughter itself? How is that characterized? - pages 66-67:

Today, blurting out laughter uproariously whenever one feels like it during a performance might be considered rude. Not so in 2020... a person laughs, another laughs, then another. It's all very spontaneous, even raucous at times. Though not experienced like, "waves" in a football stadium (groups are much smaller in 2020, allowing for more intimacy) waves of sorts are experienced. Not distracting but soothing, people in the audience feel the building of a rhythmic, harmonious sound wave while remaining totally focused on the performer...not only focused--but at one with him. So, by 2020, it's not as if they have no respect for the entertainer, it's just that they know they have a part in the totality of the act. In fact, it would not be unusual for the members of the audience to join the the performer on stage, turning it into a dynamic group experience.


Wait a minute! Did she just mention the audience members in 2020 will join the comedians onstage? Didn't I just spend the better half of two weeks writing about WAYS to AVOID getting the audience member on stage?


What are your thoughts?


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4 comments:

MymaniacalMind said...

I think I will check that book out!

Top cat said...

I'm sorry, I just didn't get it.):
tc

paddy said...

2020 is a bit off track so forgive me if I too venture abroad a little.
My Daughter 23 years old had a leading roll in a small production here in Mikkeli's Theatre Finland.
A kind of a "West Side Story" on the north side in the cold without any song; the odd tango thrown in here and there it went well, anyway.
Instead of different sets, the back drop was a movie screen with various footage together with sound relevant for each scene as. I thought what if the whole theatre had screens all over with picture and sound and the (person/persons) comedians or other would have command by cue to a sound and vision mixer/controller enveloping the audience in a total surround experence.
This is the the opposite of epic theatre (the audience should always be aware that it is watching a play, and should remain at an emotional distance from the action) and as the book suggests, but instead of bringing them up on stage, even while sitting in their seats they're apart of it- spaced out man; it's flash back time.
Well if someone can talk about the future 2020 well Maybe I can talk about .... trippin' man. Ha!
Where was I? O yes. Now I forget what I was going to say. Hang on it'll come to me. I'll get back to you in the future.
Y;-) Paddy

Steve said...

Not sure if I buy it Lucy! Sure comedy changes and evolves - but at it's heart is satire any sharper or more sophisticated today than it was in the 1800's? Isn't slapstick now just the same as it was in Buster Keaton's day? Won't they both be much the same in 13 year's time? I'm over simplifying maybe but isn't humour an emotional facility that we human's have? Will people's responses to love and hate be different in 2020? I think not (alas).