I know where he's coming from. Because I know when I get too conversational, I can feel the air slowly escaping the room. And I hate when others just ramble and use words as if they're free. They're not. The audience pays for them with attention.
But it feels like this is painting with broad strokes. Like there's only two paths...
There's the joke guy. With all the one-liners and quick hit bits. He's good at being clever but there's often a lack of soulfulness and depth there. He gets a chuckle but no one (including him) really cares about what he's saying in any meaningful way.
And there's the personal, conversational, in-flow guy who is organic and brings you into his world with stories and longer bits. He'll sometimes favor narrative over punches because he's trying to tell a story or get across a point of view or be a more fully fleshed out personality onstage. (Or maybe he just can't write that many great punchlines since that's, y'know, hard.)
But isn't there middle ground here? The "in-between" comic with quick jokes who still manages to bring you inside their world. They're talking about their life and what matters to them and getting across who they are as a person — but doing it with tight, quick jokes.
I think Nick Griffin is a great example of this. Exquisitely well-edited jokes. Not a wasted word. But there's also a thread through 'em.
You watch his set and you feel you know him. He's not going into long stories about his divorce or drinking. But he's dropping enough breadcrumbs along the way that when you connect the dots, he seems like an actual, fleshed out human being talking about the things that obsess him. It's dark and sad and a real thing of beauty.
Permalink | 5/03/2011