Always outnumbered. Generally overdresssed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

No more comedy for me thanks. I'm stuffed.

Would you believe it, I actually photographed that image, right here, on the train, turning my National Express fold-out seat-back table into a mobile photographic stage.

Incredible hey?


It's strange being on this train, going amazingly fast, backwards, and with free high-speed Wi-Fi, and yet still feeling impatient. That's what happens though when you spend a week yawning, dull-eyed and listless whilst the world's finest entertainers do their highly-trained best to provoke you to mirth. I've probably done all my weary smiling for the year already.

Stand-up is dominated at the moment by men who are younger than me, know my girlfriend and ignore me when they're talking to her.

Having spent some time with comedians I can reassure you that they are even more careerist and awards-fixated than advertising people.

And but it's worse, because you expect advertising people to be appalling ladder-climbers and so you're pleased when you find that, by and large, they're not. Where as you might expect comedians to be funny, principled and free-spirited, and so it's disappointing when you discover that they're all nakedly ambitious and would gladly pimp their own nephews to get on Mock the Week.

When they're off-stage what they do is review one another. And that morose look they get? They're thinking of snide things to say in 100 Best... interviews about other comedians who have been more successful than them.

In fact, like advertising or indeed most kinds of creative industry it seems like comedy is about 30% talent and 70% hustle.

I wondered whether going to the trouble and expense of getting a show together and taking it up to Edinburgh is roughly equivalent to putting a book together and finding a partner and traipsing around London with a portfolio of advertising, and whether the process has a similar effect on the survivors to sharks ratio?

Anyway, I wasn't just sitting there thinking about advertising. Tim Key, Tom Basden and Jonny Sweet (particularly Jonny Sweet), all made me laugh quite a lot - they all use projectors, some use graphs. In fact, Tom Basden's visual jokes, the ones that appear on screen, work very much like ads. It made me wonder whether the grads of the future might go into Mother with a stand-up routine rather than a portfolio. But then, if you had a decent stand-up routine, why would you want to work at a Mother anyway?

Andrew Lawrence is great if you're after a tiny sweary version of Schopenhauer. Hans Teeuwen is one of those comedians, like Rick Shapiro, who you're really glad exist whilst not actually finding funny like I'm actually laughing out loud funny.

Pornographer Ben Dover* is not at all funny, intelligent, charming or any of the things the review said he might be. He's actually a rather nasty, small-minded materialist.

K was much less surprised than I was by that information.

Performance poet Luke Wright needs therapy. Seriously.

Ha ha, I'm joking. Sort of. I only say that though, because I know that he's in the habit of Googling himself.

In fact there was a barely a comedian who didn't do some kind of 'look at this weird shit from off the internet/look at this weird shit about me on the internet' material. Again, as in advertising, it seems like looking at the internet is just much easier than thinking of your own ideas.

The festival is quite an interesting place for observing consumers who want to get themselves gratified on an hourly basis in a market that's glutted with product. The star rating system is completely absurd - everything has at least two reviews that give it at least four stars. Reviewers from small websites give shows four stars so they'll be featured on the fliers, which, in turn, becomes free publicity for their sites. When punters are in a market like this, they will read loads. They will go right up to a wall pasted with photocopied reviews in 1o point type and read them, several of them, for ten minutes.

Anyway, it seems like everyone went to Edinburgh last week. Where were you?

In other news, I have the satisfaction of having a feature in the latest edition of Jams of the World Magazine this month and simultaneously having some advertising in the Private View feature of industry toilet-rag Campaign.

Dave Trott seems to have become somewhat confused by the task at hand. Someone just needs to sit with him till he's calmed down.

They're adverts Dave. Ad-verts.

*(I can smell the keyword stats already).

No comments: