Yep, that's Oscar. Peter Hambleton, Peter Elliott, Joel Tobeck, Oliver Driver and Johnny Lee have the rest of the tv v/o's pretty much covered. I'm not sure which one sounds most like Jeremy...
Oh, and shameless self-promotion: I'm on at the San Francisco Bathhouse next Thursday. I have 30 minutes of new material since my last gig there... Some of it may be amusing... You can let me know.
I agree with David. It might be well rehearsed, but as an audience, you don't want to see that bit of it. It's the magic of hearing something said that you hadn't heard said, or thought of, in that way before.
That's kinda what I meant a wee while back when I talked about audiences finding a way to appreciate a gag a second time around, but I'm having trouble expressing this! It's not about explaining a joke (lord no!) (I clearly can't explain anything!) or understanding its construction, or the "why" of the funny bit. It's about a comedian making a well-crafted, often-performed bit (because that's generally what it will be if it's good) sound fresh and true, unrehearsed, spontaneous and improvised, as though they had just stumbled upon it. You're not supposed to see how they do it, just that it is done. That's the craft of comedy - making it look like it's not crafted.
The instructions are to the left of the posting box - see "quote".
Got it. Cheers. For that and the other bit.
Plus, I don't know how you do the cute thing where you quote someone else's post in pale grey...?
"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."
Hey Mr Slack! Nice to be here. Good to have a discussion about comedy that goes deeper than, "Here's one you can use..."
Rabbit out of a hat might be a good analogy. Not that you want to know HOW the magician got it out of the hat; but that you'd be happy to see the trick again - if it was a really spectacular rabbit and a really magnificent hat.
The point I'm trying to make is that repetition is vital to comics. A bit of comedy isn't finished the first time you do it; it has just STARTED. It needs to be played over and over in front of real people to hone it, tweak it, add to it, polish it till it shines.
I was hoping that, if you're hearing a good gag for a second or third time, you might admire its craft...? Or be amused by the amusement of the new people around you...?
And it can't be ALL about the element of surprise - or why would people buy comedy CDs and DVDs?
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.
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.
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.