laughter game | Simon Evans

sPerhaps because of closures and interruptions of ordinary service, but more likely because of autumnal overtones and the long dormant weakness of sentimentality, I now cherish the belief that the only flavor an adult has to savor is bitter.

The tragedy, though intoxicating, is very grandiose. When justified, it generates the greatest poetry. But mere failure, decline and death are not enough for tragedy. Few of us will encounter an ability for the greatness it requires – hence its focus on legendary figures from ancient times.

There is sometimes an arrogance that precedes the tragedies that break out in the tabloids—the tragic stabbings, the tragic bus loads, the tragic nursing home mismanagement. The audience feels the word is out of place, just a compliment. Enemies will You have It was dispensed not by the gods but by some humble administrative officers, from the foothills of Slough House at Olympia.

Tragedy is not for people like us, but pure comedy is also self-deception. Life cannot be laughed at. Laughter may be the best medicine – at least, when adjusted for cost/benefit purposes by NICE. It definitely has its place. and, as Kingsley Amis has noted, it is seldom self-conceived with great fervor. he [or “The King” if you want to be really arch] He wittyly corrected Princess Diana’s favorite dog, to “Life is mostly fuss and bother;/Two things make you go through/Laugh when you bump into another/Grumble when it’s you.”

Life, as it has been savored over any long period, is always bittersweet. Bittersweet is the glove that fits life’s hand. Victories break out and We are Deceptive for a whileAnd Only later disclose that cost they were Sold. Losses, meanwhile, are liberating. aAs soon as the mourning period begins, the sun rises in the afternoon.

Such reflections We are It can be alarming for someone who makes a living standing up. Stand-up comedy has traditionally been seen as a very intense tickle of the old funny bone. Nuance and blue notes We are It is not generally considered a core. At least so I thought, though You have I found that my current tour offer, Dave’s workl, it allowed me to explore some muted tones.

My good friend Steve Best – award-winning ringside photographer – has produced a wonderful and deluxe collection of his unparalleled on stage and behind the scenes photos from the world of stand-up comedy. This is the long-deserved artifact of his work. It generated in me an undeniable and perhaps final sense of blissful melancholy. The comedy turned out to be bittersweet throughout – but it took a frozen moment to see through it.

I don’t know why that eluded me, but there it is We are Few things are so overwhelmingly bittersweet as the pathos of a comedian, caught up in the tragic act of trying to be funny. Stabilized by shooting pin, amber photosensitive cells, shutter compute.

Comedy is closer to nature than art. He dies

there We are Very few forms of expression are as ephemeral as stand-up comedy. It’s a mayfly for the creative arts. You can’t even wrap potatoes in it.

It shares with music a reliance on tempo – often referred to as timing, though this arguably evokes only the right pause before the numbering line arrives, and in fact there is much more to it than that. Punching line is the easiest part of the time – it should come after the amount of time it takes You have Taken for drawing on a cigarette before delivery. So twenty minutes should be set You have Fast and slow movements, however, move seamlessly from bolero to rhapsody to andante to crescenan act All without alerting the public to the presence of anything suspicious. That’s why it’s a secret.

Image credit: Steve Best

In contrast to music, stand-up comedy’s time is short. Have a better before date – that can make the pear look like a bear fruit.

We still enjoy music from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuriesThey arey And They considered that the 60s had the best pop musicor At least second place whenever we are She was Seventeen. However, the stand rarely survives after a decade. Any situation more than ten years ago has a whiff of mortality about it. I’ve known perfectly good stand-ups just take a break for a year or two, try something else and come back again. they An ancient group and an aggressive sound almost out of time, callously indifferent to time and convention.

See an old black and white photo of Vladimir Horowitz hunched over a keyboard, and you can immediately feel the artistry, the strength of bone china, and the gorgeous colors of the crowd. We are Seeing a flash in front of them. Watch any contemporary comedian, from Max Miller to Lee Mack, laugh at his mic stand and you’ll feel the fragility, the impending crumbling, the instant dryness of the rose petals already drifting into the bowl.

The echoing laughter recedes into silence while the precinct and booths are mysteriously empty is a cliched scene for everything from Osborne’s Entertainer to Inside No. 9. It’s the natural destiny of fun.

This is what is so poetically, hauntingly and exhilaratingly captured in Steve’s best work.

This has other implications for the standing of comics. Among the most stressful questions with comedians We are encounter regularly when hoping to trade off a bit of they The time and oil of permission to sell tickets is whether or not stand-up comedy is an ‘art form’“. I always make sure to answer no. Partly because many of the worst atrocities are paid for by the public You have exposed You have Forced by those who aspire to make art – and partly because, as when I lived in East Dulwich but always demanded of Peckham, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver.

There is another reason – isn’t art supposed to last? Isn’t that the point? To transcend our rotting physical limits? Ars – Stop laughing in the back – Long life short?

Well, yeah, I think it clinches it — and I don’t regret the conclusion for a moment. I loved natureAndNext to nature is art, as the poet says. Comedy is closer to nature than art. He dies.

What distinguishes art, apart from its survival? Art is what is “collected” – funded by scoundrels – or requires a subsidy. Sometimes both. It is the artist, and the more heartfelt she demands of the public’s generosity—with Wagner’s view of opera, I imagine, as the supreme art so well endorsed by this account.

Comedy candle. The night won’t last

Not a comedy. do not stop. Among the things he is most proud of, in my book, is the comic’s refusal to try to rip off a penny from the hard-earned taxpayers of cementing his precarious stage presence. No vacation for us.

Not that all entertainment has a short half-life, of course. Some entertainment survives its creator. Graham Greene is known for dividing his work into novels (art) and entertainments. There’s no prize for guessing which now seems more dated–miserably skewed by Greene’s futile struggles with his own faith–which played more productively with the foibles of human nature and the quirks of fate. The same can be said of Evelyn Waugh’s early light-touch genius scoop And vile bodies It hasn’t been much improved with the introduction of “larger themes” in honor sword Triple.

Stand-up is a form of entertainment — and I think of it as a craft. I think the craft is something that is done primarily to honor tradition, but with just a grip that is comfortable enough that a few of one’s imperfections color the final product, and it’s the way the disease is in the tree that makes the converted wood special. This is part of the difference between popular music and commercial pop, and I think comedy is closer to the former. A good comedian doesn’t try to make it all about himself. Leaves the flavor to show naturally.

Entertainment and survival craft alike. Comedy too – to a degree that may not be obvious to viewers – is a sport. It is intensely, if not visibly, competitive And Right about that. I think this is healthy. The only thing I miss from the early days, when all my gigs were She was On joint billing, is your chance to win. Now that I tour and perform mainly on my own, I always win at least on paper. Although there We are Companies are always reminding you that even when performing alone, victory is not inevitable.

What I see is that comedy is a GameFunny old game. This is what Steve’s book captures. His best black and white photos We are Not, to me, from the comedians on stage, but more conspicuously in the suites, dressing rooms and other glamor-free nooks and crannies that cluster around the sacred space.

shots on stage We are It can be compared to the best sports photography – a striker rather than a ballerina suspended in the air. Backstage shots We are Those that embody its essence. Stress, laughter, tension and rest. Camaraderie and solitude. these We are Dressing rooms, dressing rooms, not actors or musicians – not artists – but boys and girls for kick-off. Sunday or Premier League, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the game.

As with sports, the secret ingredient isn’t timing. It’s something that might happen. Often he does.

Comedy candle. The night won’t last. But, oh, my enemies and oh, my friends, it gives off a lovely light. there We are Very few who You have Totally obsessed with him like Steve Best.

Image credit: Steve Best

Whether the elegiac quality of the book (all-black cover, sparse presentation, hard-edged monotony) reflects another doubt. You have – that stand in its present form may You have take its course – another question. no one can complain, She was in which. Forty wonderful years since the modern British game was shaped by the likes of Alexei Sayle, Tony Allen and others in London’s first comic shop? Kenneth Clark saw most art movements as the product of no more than one generationAnd Maybe at least You have Much in common with serious things.

Then I remember that I am 57And I remember someone warning Kingsley Amis, in the midst of his discourse of the aforementioned indigestion, that he would not mistake the state of the nation for the state of his own digestion.

There may be some strange mutations in the futureAnd Some grudgingly economical adaptations to our new world, somewhat agoraphobia We are likely to. I an act I hope you find a way to get through this current tight squeeze. there We are Very few things in life are quite more bittersweet than a night out at a good comedy club. Sharing laughter—his shoulder-shrinking, mouth-watering reality—remains the most life-affirming feeling I know. when you We are Stepping out next to a photographically perfect black-and-white street scene, you might be reassured to know we feel for it, too.

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