When I started this blog, I kind of wanted to be a bit funny. Like Charlie Brooker’s later ones. The ones that weren’t about crap tv (though those arguably were the funniest). I sat down and started to write and thought “Christ, this is hard”, and promptly gave up funniness, instead covertly inserting it into my articles (posts?) like racism in the telegraph. If at some point you found these attempts at humour and choked on their facetiousness, I apologise. I know I find it irritating when someone comes up with something that’s REALLY FUNNY ALRIGHT.
Thing is, comedy’s a freaking minefield. Not a serious one, understand. The worst consequence is looking like a dick, but for me, sheltered as I am, that’s pretty horrific. To be a “funnyman” (for want of a better word), you need to be an incredible egotist. The sort of person that never shuts up when everyone should be listening to your hilarious story. To quote the ever insightful Bo Burnham:
Have you ever been to a birthday party for children
And one of the children won’t stop screaming
Cuz he’s just a little attention attractor
When he grows up to be a comic or actor
Of course, he also said lots of things. Mainly puns, mainly offensive. But often funny. The comedian’s assumption is that someone will pay to hear them talk, or read their book. Actually, it’s simpler than that. They assume someone wants to spend precious time to watch their youtube video, or read their blog. Why? God knows. Maybe their parents didn’t give them any attention. Maybe they gave them too much attention? Dunno. Think about it though. They’re dicks.
Then there’s what to be funny about. Many people do the whole Michael McIntyre thing, observational humour, anecdotes, the like. Apart from simply how many people are doing this now there is the issue I’ve stated above. You are just witnessing someone prattle. “My Dad said the other day…” I don’t know your Dad! You can witness your friends prattle, but about people you actually know. It is far funnier hearing about your mate up the corridor who got his head stuck in the cupboard than a more ornate story about Josh Widdicombe’s friend with a fish in a cupboard. Plus, is it true? What is their input? Or false? Then they lied! Bastards. Like with improv. Improv is rarely as funny as stand up, but it gets away with more because it’s genuine. I am disappointed when Whose Line Is It Anyway looks rehearsed. So should you.
Then, offensive humour. I walk a fine (entirely personal, and thus probably hideously arbitrary) line on this topic. First, nothing should be out of bounds for humour. Second, you should not be offensive. This might sound contradictory. You are probably right. I think the intention behind the joke is important, and you can tell this from the joke itself. It’s the difference between a joke on race and a racist joke; a joke about the differences between men and women and a sexist joke; a joke on a serious incident and a joke that trivialises it. Though often, trivialising a serious event is a coping method for people. I think wait for them to say something first though. Don’t tell your amputee friend you’re taking him out to “get legless”, unless he said something about “rolling out”. Still, from the amount of times comedy has been misunderstood, even when something is clearly a joke, airing on the side of caution is often a good idea. (And I’m not talking about Top Gear, for fuck’s sake. That’s either genuinely offensive or nastily cynically offensive. The “jokes” are simply choosing a subject and laughing at it. They’re not even witty. If you laugh at them, then you become like them. Unpleasant. I rather meant Stewart Lee, who often gives comic disclaimers at the end of his rants. He’s a comedian who takes comedy very seriously.)
I haven’t auditioned for my University’s comedy club yet. Partially for the reasons above. Mainly because I’m not very funny. And quite lazy. But mainly the unfunniness.