Edinburgh Festival: Day 2
Comedy is hard. Stand up is lethal. To some stand up is the plague of the fringe, to others it’s the best thing since well since someone stood up and said something funny.
When it’s funny it kills you in the best eye leaking belly aching kind of way. When it’s not funny it kills you with unsalted porridge with a mallet of dullness to the brain.
Can you guess what I saw yesterday? Not one, not two, not even three but four stand up comedy shows. The first three were showcases, that is, a hosted event with comics coming up for short sets and the last well as the Pythons said “and now, time for something different.”
I’m not sure that I’ll run to a comedy show first thing upon returning home but there is something to be learned from watching a person stand in front of a crowd and talk to the purpose of making laughter erupt from each and every one of us.
The bad ones have dead eyes. They don’t reach you. You feel dirty and wonder how you can discreetly melt through your chair and run like a river straight out the door. The good ones are magnetic and occasionally you see someone try something extremely bizarre and you laugh because you cannot believe the stupidity of what you are seeing. I’m okay with that.
Thing is, as I write this, I find myself thinking that I don’t emerge with a feeling of change or of deeply felt experience something that will imbed itself in my being. Yes, I’ve laughed with a group and perhaps, as one of the best performers of the day said, we have become a family but deep down for me it’s not the same. I am still thinking about the show I saw the night before, the one about the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in the UK banning raves. That piece reminded me of a bit of my own past, reminded me of how like Johnno in the play I was so innocently unaware of the implications and larger machinations working around me at the time, reminded me to not forget what it felt like to be that girl who tasted at tiny bit of that world in her long ago teenaged life.
If you’re a good stand up I’ll tell everyone to watch you, laughter is an incredible weapon and medicine but I have yet to be changed to feel that spectacular power that a good piece of storytelling, of performance, can wield.
I’m happy to be proven wrong.
Today’s upcoming activities: brunch, physical theatre (sorry Philippe) clown and who knows what else!