Sunday, October 21, 2007

Talkback: Questions from the audience

In my foray throughout the blogosphere, I often seem to encounter during my webtravels "the wannabe comedian" --someone who's written jokes, thought about stand-up comedy, but has yet to take the plunge. And since I've been in the game for less than a year, clearly I'm an expert. (Eh-hem!)

Be that as it may, I am always willing to shed a little light on all that is related to comedy. (You know, dispel rumo(u)rs and add commentary when necessary)

With this blog, I am sort of setting myself up as an expert. So I feel I should divulge my opinion on some comedic issues and give leeway/heads up to those that are aspiring as well. I would never steer you in the wrong direction. Consider me like Papa Smurf. (Man, that guy was wise!)

So I'm fielding questions from the audience, like James Lipton.

Today's question comes from capitolgirl, residing in Vermont, USA.
(If you have a StumbleUpon account, you can trip on over to her Stumble page. Otherwise, you'll just have to take my word for it and trust that she actually exists.)

capitolgirl asks:

When you have a gig for a few days, do you perform the same show in much the same way?

Eh-hem! (clears throat) Although, I'm not actually touring quite yet, and it's not the horizon anytime soon, I would answer this question by saying...

Every stand-up comedian is different. Every stand-up is going to handle their set with their own method. I, personally, would like to get my routine to the point that I memorize my set, but at the same time, I'm flexible and comfortable enough to go in and out of the routine--address current topics, talk to the members of the audience, and then perhaps go into a joke. I like to keep it fresh. But there are some stand-up comedians that are very 'routine' with their routine, if you catch my drift. Some people just want to do their act and get out, often operating like a machine or an assembly-line. "To each their own," I guess.

At what point do you modify or throw out the current material?

Hmm...I suppose this is also very subjective, and again the answer will vary with each comedian. I, personally, would throw it out whenever I've gotten tired of it, which will probably coincide with whenever I feel the audience has gotten tired of it. But some comedians have been using their jokes for years and years and years.

If you watch Sarah Silveraman's Jesus is Magic and then compare and watch Silverman in old episodes of Dr. Katz (from Comedy Central) you'll definitely see some overlap. But that's not to say that her jokes aren't progressing.

I endeavor to say that you should see a joke as a living breathing entity. It changes and grows night after night until it is perfected.

I suppose the time when you throw out a joke (at least out of your routine) is when it just doesn't work any more. It's much like a songwriter throws out lyrics or a melody. It's visceral. They can just "feel it." So the answer, "when the joke becomes stagnant," I suppose.

At the same time, I've been told by several veteran comics never to completely throw away a joke. You never know when it may work it's way in another routine.


Thanks for your question, capitolgirl!

And I hope you eventually make that transition from avid comedy connoisseur, to master comedian. Good luck!

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EDIT: Sarah Silverman on Dr. Katz -- you're wrong -- ANONYMOUS! (hehe, heh!)

Dr. Katz
DVD Exclusive - Sarah Silverman's Session
www.comedycentral.com
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sarah Silverman was never on Dr. Katz.

Paris Hilton said...

I think I'm ready to pursue my comedy career now.

Lucy said...

Anonymous - I know I've heard that "Oh My God, I'm turning into my mother!" joke before in cartoon format. But perhaps my research staff has been slacking. I'll be sure to reprimand them chop-chop!

Paris Hilton - Well, good! Glad to see you're setting your goals higher than Rick Salomon's midriff.

Lucy Dee said...

Ha ha!! I definitely found the Sarah Silverman on Dr. Katz! So I guess you owe me an expensive dinner, Mr. Anonymous.

Apparently, you weren't old enough to watch (or remember) when Sarah Silverman was on Dr. Katz.

Also Laura -- Dr. Katz's receptionist -- is "Laura Silverman" (Sarah's sister). So it would be fairly difficult to believe the producers wouldn't also invite Sarah Silverman on the show for some couch time.