Monday, April 07, 2008

Comedy Festival Round Up 3


MARK BUTLER - Body Language

UK expat Butler is on the borderline of funny. Unfortunately he was stopped at that border and must have had visa issues because instead of crossing into big LOL territory he stayed on the other side of the border, which is a place of casual racism, homophobia, misogyny and paedophilia jokes that - had they made it across the border - would have been jokes but since they also didn't make it through customs instead felt like paedophilia comments. The usual lazy dissing of bogans: I think he targeted Broadmeadows and Dandenong in particular but it could have been other places he's probably never been and has heard arrogant stereotypes regarding. Hard to agree with his superiority to said bogans when much of his act involves trying to pick up women in the front row with "c'mon, you want it" asides and instructions for spotting gay men through their mincing walking styles. Subject matter involves the subtleties of body language and what it really reveals about us, but I left feeling like the whole notion of body language is rubbish. I would have crossed my arms during the show if he hadn't made it clear he'd pick up on it as a defensive response.

AL PITCHER - Idiot Wind

Like comedy, but not.

This festival has taught me that seriousness is not the opposite of humour. The two are pretty close, really. The really funny stuff is the most serious, or the stuff that a comic finds serious but is sorting through using comedy, or is inherently funny but is given a totally serious treatment and is thus more funny. I guess that's why I've been least impressed by comedians trying to make light of utterly banal things. Traffic lights - what's with those moody jokers?! Nobody has actually gone that far, but it's been close.

Al Pitcher isn't a bad comedian but he did an ok impression of one the other night. The topics he got into included our wacky tram system, those crazy emo kids, footy! and that perennial laff-fest, IKEA (how hard to put together, chortle, *cry*). It wasn't that he wasn't trying, but did he really care about this stuff? Did it keep him awake at night? I hope not. Some things you laugh at as a way of handling their unpleasantness, their overwhelming complexity, or your own inability to make sense of the world. Some things you laugh at because they offer you a way to negotiate this dastardly life. I didn't laugh at Al Pitcher, because all he was negotiating were the things that might vaguely annoy or mildly interest me, and it felt like these measly engagements were being served up because the real stuff of comedy was too hard to face. I didn't laugh, and eventually I left.

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