Thursday, 20 January 2011

A view on comedy

Comedy has a sole purpose, to make people laugh. Its agenda is simple. Creating laughter equals a successful comedic routine. I agree with that fact, but it's well known that a large majority of us don't. Political correctness has quite obviously gone mad when jokes can't even be taken out of the real world and treat simply as their purpose. The term 'joke' insinuates the fact that there is no seriousness implied or overwhelming complications intended post-utterance. As Billy Connolly once said in times when even mentioning the word 'penis' on stage was frowned upon - ''No matter how excruciating, if it makes at least one person laugh, it's a joke.'' Can you really deny gags that solitary right of freedom?

So now that I've stated where I stand regarding comedy, I can now go into detail about the types of jokes that in my view are the most successful - starting with Tim Vine. Vine's stance on joke telling is revolutionary, yet simultaneously extremely old fashioned. But that's how I like it. He crams copious amounts of one-liners into his shows, never once failing to rouse at least hundreds of laughs per joke. The brain power needed to reel of these puns is, I'll admit minimal, but it's the way he does it that gives me laughing fits for minutes on end. Consecutive killer blows of hilarity which seem never ending and incredibly childish. These are the sort of jokes that anyone can tell, but will stay alive forever. 

Butcher: If you can get those two pieces of meat down from the hooks above me you can have them for free.
Man: No
Butcher: Why?
Man: The steaks are too high.

They're almost so bad they're good.

The other type of joke that hits my funny bone is the 'long winded seemingly never ending please get to the punchline soon' one. There are so many examples of these gems and whatever the punchline, in my view they always seem to be hilarious. Leading the viewer down a path of mystery is the epitome of modern comedy because of the overwhelming anticipation generated. Billy Connolly, who I referenced earlier is undoubtedly my most favourite comedian. His ability to make these sorts of gags work so effectively is why I hold him in such high regard. That entwined with the long winded joke concept makes for comedy gold, which I will try to re-create here.

A couple lay in bed, all nice and warm and not not expecting any disturbances. Thunder crashes outside as the rain clatters against the roof. In the safety of their own home, this doesn't bother them. Suddenly there is a hard and repetitive knock at the door. 'BOOM BOOM BOOM!'
          'Who the hell is that? I'm not answering it. I'll leave it and they'll go away soon,' the husband exclaims.
The knocking continues. After more continuous knocking the wife manages to get her husband to see to the person at the door. He goes downstairs and opens the door to be confronted by a man dripping wet at his doorstep.
          'I need help, I'm stuck and I need a push. It's an emergency,' the unknown man pleads.
The husband shouts at the man for waking him at such a stupid hour, tells him to f*** off and slams the door. After getting back into bed, the husband is asked by his wife who it was at the door. After he has explained, the wife looks at her husband in shock and disgust.
          'Last year we broke down and that kind gentleman helped us by giving our car a push in dreadful conditions like these. The least you can do is be an honourable citizen and re-pay the favour by helping that man outside with his car,' the wife preaches.
The husband then gets out of bed, gets dressed, puts his boots on and heads outside. The man that was once there at the doorstep seems to have disappeared.
          'Where are you?' Shouts the husband.
A voice of the man can be made out in the distance.
          'I'm over here, on the swing!'

Pure gold. And don't try and deny that you didn't laugh.

Comedy is also effective when relating to the audience. Comedic routines are engaging and hilarious when on reflection you think; 'I do that', 'I know someone who says that' or 'that's happened to me before.' Peter Kay is the undisputed master of this type of humour and emphasises this comedic method with gags such as 'cheesecake' and 'the big light.' In my view, nobody comes close to Kay in this regard, but I'd still have to say that Billy Connolly's story telling is second to none. And for that reason, Connolly hits the spot every time.

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