Cracker by Damian Christie

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  • Nobody Important,

    Nice post from Jeremy Elwood.

    I'm no comedian - I can't even remember a joke, let alone tell one - but I found myself re-writing (in my head) material for Ed Byrne whilst watching him at SkyCity the other night. He was great, but I kept thinking he could be greaterer if just ammended his punchline to ....

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yeah but RB, didn't you use to do that Friday morning slot on B..."Good morning mediafiles... and all the way to...Righto! basically without a script?

    Hell no!

    It was always scripted - I'd get up at 5.45am, write the bugger, hare in and deliver it, and then proceed to work. Except for the season when I was the Friday comment on Breakfast, when I had to get up at 4.45am.

    But it was "Mediaphiles" and I'd always end with "G'bye!".

    "Righto!" was Dad's line.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Hell sorry, it was freakin' wunderkinde anyway, turned me on to the outside world and how it might be a good idea to, you know, pay it some attention.
    Also I do recall a co-host actually saying while you were doing your thing that you pretty much delivered it straight to mic; it sounded like you had no notes anyway!

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Good points Jeremy, and nice to see a well reasoned response - certainly better than the comedian whose winning line in the argument the other night was to call me a "journalist c**t"...

    There are obviously lots of reasons why one would want to use older, 'guaranteed' material, and I take your point that NZ comedians probably have to freshen their acts more often than overseas artists. So with that in mind, is it reasonable to expect - and I'm not just referring to Brendhan here - that a NZ comedian performing at the laugh fest would have a largely new routine from one year to the next? Or is it really that hard to develop new material? I'm genuinely interested to know your view on this, because it's one thing you didn't really touch on above.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    Dad's Tips on ourtube

    can we have some can we have some can we have some can we have some can we have some can we have some can we have some can we have some can we have some?

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • hamishm,

    A bit off topic, I know. How funny are comedians when they are not performing ie. in everyday life? I have worked with people who could almost reduce me to tears with their inventiveness.
    I would have thought that there would be the usual range of funny and non-funny people in the comedic profession, but was just wondering.

    Since Nov 2006 • 357 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I've interviewed quite a few comedians over the years (when I was at George and bFM I'd usually have a locals and international artists from each comedy festival), and they do seem to be a range of people.

    Some aren't overly funny, but as soon as the mic is on they switch instantly into character, this wacky persona that you can't actually _talk_ to, because everything has to have a punchline.

    Some are genuinely funny whether they're on camera/mic or not.

    Some are just normal people who tell jokes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • hamishm,

    Thanks Damian. I knew a winemaker in Australia who was the same, the closer he got to his winery, the more his character changed. It's interesting, if disconcerting.

    Since Nov 2006 • 357 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Elwood,

    First up, thanks Jackie! To be fair, I'm sort of forced to change my material on a regular basis, because basically when a news story is old, so are my jokes about it, but nice to hear people do notice.

    And Damian, regarding the use of new material in Festival shows,
    my own opinion on the matter is simple. If I don't have a half-decent reason to do a festival show - be it a theme I wish to explore, or a years worth of new material I want to showcase - then I don't do one. I know several other comedians who don't do shows every year for this very reason. We all write at different speeds, and in different ways, and we can all go through periods of high or low productivity. Festival shows are costly and stressful enough, and as this discussion proves, audiences do take notice of what material is new, and what is not. So yes, I believe that at the festival, audiences should expect largely new material. I do think it's fine to use a few older bits as links, or if they have somehow evolved to cover a new thought, or a new topic.

    I must stress that these are my thoughts alone, and are in no way meant to be critical of any other comedian. As I said above, we all have different processes and different motivations.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    I've just seen the poster for Brendan Lovegrove's new show. It's called The Emperors New Show so presumably its new material?!

    I can't help wondering if we've all been sucked into some reverse viral marketing campaign for it. And why he would then still use old material for the Welly showcase ...__

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I've just seen the poster for Brendan Lovegrove's new show. It's called The Emperors New Show so presumably its new material?!

    Or maybe he's telling is it's new, but really it's old, but we believe it's new because he says so.

    So we need a boy to say, "But I heard the one about polytechs offering degrees in buttons at the comedy fest six years ago!" and the truth will be revealed. Or will it...?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    D'oh! You're so right Robyn! In The Emperor's New Clothes the Emperor wasn't wearing any clothes. So presumably in this new show Lovegrove isn't actually telling any new jokes. And you can't complain because he said it all in the title -- aha!

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Michele A'Court,

    Like Jeremy, I'm thrilled to bits to read this discussion - it's fantastic to hear what people think, and get to answer proper questions about stand-up.

    And, possibly not surprisingly, I agree with Jeremy about solo Festival shows needing to be largely new material (unless they're billed as a "greatest hits" show) and that you only do a solo show when you have a burning desire to tell a particular story.

    Pub, club and showcase gigs are different, and I think punters have to learn to expect that they will hear many bits again. There are some good reasons for this - both for the comic, and for the punter.

    First, there is no rehearsal for stand-up. The first time you try a gag is in front of the audience. So a new bit needs many outings to tweak and play and swap words and discover where the "funny" really lives.

    And comedians "fall in love" with new bits - there are gigs where you are dying to get on stage just so you can do the bit you wrote a few months ago to see if you can make it better, make it fresher, find something more in there, sell it better, change the timing, change the attitude, add the tag you thought of on the drive home after the last gig...

    And there is a particular joy for a comic in having an available stash of material, and pulling out the right bit for the right moment - in response to a heckle or some kind of information from the audience, or just because, on that night in that moment, you suddenly find a connection in your head from one comedy bit to another that you hadn't thought of before.

    So if a comic doing a 30 minute set has, say, two or three hours of available material in their head, from that they might pull out some chunks you've heard before. If you're very, very unlucky, it might be ALL the stuff they do that night, but that'd rare, and the odds should be against it.

    But when it does happen that you hear a bit again, a punter might want to think, "Ok, I've heard these gags before, but... do they still work? Is the comic making them sound fresh? Am I finding some other part of it funny this time? Have world events put the gag in a new light? Can I get some pleasure out of admiring their skill of delivery?"

    It's always going to be tricky here in NZ with a small audience pool to keep bringing out surprises for them. I've heard American comics say if they produce 10 new solid minutes a year, they feel proud. That wouldn't be nearly enough here. And I can tell you that we are THRILLED when the comedy gods deliver a new bit into our tiny heads, and we can bring it to you like a gift. That's what we do this for.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    That's what we do this for.

    because if you'd wanted to get laid you'd have joined a band (ba-dumph!)__

    why did you marry Ellwood? because he made you laugh? (ba-dumph!)

    a man walks into a bar ... "Ow!" __(ba-dumph!)

    F#ck, this comedy stuff is easier than I thought, better give up my dayjob ....

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    But when it does happen that you hear a bit again, a punter might want to think, "Ok, I've heard these gags before, but... do they still work? Is the comic making them sound fresh? Am I finding some other part of it funny this time? Have world events put the gag in a new light? Can I get some pleasure out of admiring their skill of delivery?"

    I think that's an unreasonable thing to ask in a comedy environment, to be honest. You can expect that other comics will do it, but a general characteristic of humour is that if you intellectualise the process of experiencing it then it gets unfunny real quick. You can't explain a joke, and all that.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    You can't explain a joke, and all that.

    I agree completely. Not to mention that if you've heard the joke only once or twice before, chances are you'll remember the fact you heard it, but not the nuances of its delivery. That's real trainspotter stuff.

    I was having a discussion with a colleague today about art (as ya do) and she was saying she hates when art exhibitions have long descriptive pieces next to the painting telling you what the artist was trying to achieve or inspired by etc. I disagreed, but said that while the description might be interesting in itself, it didn't change your immediate response to the art. Same same but different with jokes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Michele A'Court,

    Ok, fair enough. I am probably asking too much and I am a total comedy nerd. I enjoy watching my favourite comics many times in the same why some people go to every version of King Lear - to look for the differences. You're right, I realise - in this I am probably alone. I watch many different versions of Bill Hick's performances just to see he changes his performances of the same material. I withdraw and apologise.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    I withdraw and apologise.

    hell no, stick around!

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Michele A'Court,

    And I'm sorry if what I said sounded wanky or whatever it was that inspired "Nobody Important". I actually really meant what I said. I love my job with a passion, and I feel privileged every time I get on stage. And I wanted to join the discussion because I find it so interesting. I'm learning from it - I guess I'd always assumed that punters watch comedy the same way I watch dance and live music and theatre or read books - in part for the content (or what it says) but also in part for the skill of the delivery (or how it says it). So it is interesting to find out that this is not so.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    but also in part for the skill of the delivery (or how it says it)

    Isn't it a bit like magic? You like the fact that they pulled off the illusion, but you don't want to look too close. Knowing how they got the rabbit in there might take the surprise and therefore the fun out of it. Unless, of course, you're getting up next to pull out a hare.

    Nice to have you and Mr E on the show, Michele, by the way.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • brendhan lovegrove,

    ok.well.my six minutes at the 1st laughs was half new,but i think in those kind of gigs your better off doing a mixture of old and new.my show however,that damien did not see, has been running anywhere between 1 hr and an hr 15.shows are supposed to run for 50 minutes.i think about 20to 25 minutes of material in the show on the 1st night in wellington was old but that became less by the end of the week.
    im selling nearly double the tickets i sold last yr so the majority of the crowd is new.i always take that into account when im doing shows.
    given the show could be 50 minutes but im going over time then i would say 45 minutes is new ,which is a fair whack.
    what i have learnt is that it doesnt take too many old gags before it creates old material issues.
    what i would say is ,given most or 90 per cent of the 50 minutes is new think of the rest as a bonus for the people who havnt seen me.i used to and still love it when a comic like fleety does a favourite,but thats just me.
    to russel brown,the only gag i used in rove that wasnt mine was dean butlers kebab gag.i asked him for it yrs ago and he said fine.thats fair enough.anyone who suggested otherwise is a liar or wished they had been on the show.bb

    Since May 2007 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    anyone who suggested otherwise is a liar or wished they had been on the show.

    very funnny

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Good points Jeremy, and nice to see a well reasoned response - certainly better than the comedian whose winning line in the argument the other night was to call me a "journalist c**t"...

    That's so unfair. You're no journalist. Ka-boom-cha.

    Hmm, not so hard after all.

    But straying back on topic, this PA audience is being a little harsh on local talent. Billy Connolly *still* raises roars of laughter by telling his audience that he's going to say "fuck" a lot and then saying "fuck", a lot. Sometimes it seems that the laughter from these audiences is forced. It's like they (and I) have paid all this money so we are damn well going to laugh, alright!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • brendhan lovegrove,

    i only ever come accross u bitching on web sites.introduce yrself one day and stop hiding behind yr pen.

    Since May 2007 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • brendhan lovegrove,

    oh that was meant for robyn someone,but im still not very good at using these sites.oh well.

    Since May 2007 • 4 posts Report Reply

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