I'm toying with the idea of publishing an old diary on this website. It catalogues my road towards doing stand-up comedy which began at the start of the year. I've been skimming through it on my old laptop. All I need is to clear some of the references to a couple of comedians who helped me on my way and in theory I can get it up here. It might make interesting reading for anyone who has ever toyed with the idea of doing stand-up themselves.
I'd classify myself as being capable of "mildly amusing" comedy. Gentle nonsense which makes you shrug a vague laugh after sometimes huge stretches of total silence. I'd like to improve in this respect and stand-up is an extension of that.
One of my problems is that I think there is actually nothing funnier than seeing someone totally fail to get laughs from an audience. A good (fictional) example of this would be the cheeky monkey sketch on the original (and best) Alan Partridge series, Knowing Me Knowing You. John Thompson's performance is pure magic and I can clearly remember the first time I ever saw it I cried with laughter.
In real life I've watched comedians utterly die on stage and always think it's hilarious. I enjoy the tension it creates as people realise things aren't going as planned. The terrible awkward silence after each succesive punchline and the look on the comedian's face as he literally watches his comedy dream crumble before his eyes. The audience's silence sends a loud clear message: "f#ck off you unfunny bast#rd!".
This is one of the reasons bad TV comedy annoys me. There's no way we can see the inevitable smackdown. It's no good reading in the papers that another rubbish TV comedy programme has been cancelled or recieved poor viewing figures. I want to see the look on the faces of those responsible as they are told how rubbish they actually are*.
The flat silence in living rooms up and down the UK which acompanies the latest Little Britain TV show isn't witnessed by the two people who are performing it. Max and Paddy don't have to look in horror at each other as no one laughs when one of them says "how dare you" in a silly voice.
I've long thought TV comedy would be improved if it was all live and we the viewer had on our sky remotes a red button which was called "The Fu#k Off You Unfunny Basta#d Button". In the event of say, half the audience pressing this button a big fat bloke would wade onto the TV set, slap the offending unfunny performers, and shout "F#ck Off You Unfunny B#stard" at them until they ran off our screens with a mixture of humiliation and terror.
Rubbish comedy would suddenly become good. People on telly would have to really believe in their work. Shoddy crap which everyone knows isn't funny would never get on our screens. Imagine how much better Bo' Selector would have been!
Sigh, another genius TV idea I'm sure the hapless bigwigs will ignore.
PS - The above entry is not intended to be funny. I am absolutely serious about it. Bad comedy should be punished.
*Working in radio I have of course seen this face as the news is told to someone that actually their wacky nonsense is boring the audience and half of them have decided they'd rather listen to a different station. Obviously I've worn this face in the past and I'm sure I will again in the future. Perhaps that's why it amuses me so much.