Monday, December 17, 2012

Arnold Brown - Jokes I Have Known

A package arrived in the mail today with 3 DVDs from Go Faster Stripe in it: the latest Richard Herring, Robin Ince's secular Christmas DVD, and Arnold Brown.

We were tired and the latest Herring is almost two hours long. If Robin Ince's latest was performed in the Bloomsbury Theatre then I have the questionable honour of having done martial arts in a squash court somewhere above his head, which blots out all thought of the performance. Arnold Brown's disc was the shortest, and in these sleep deprived evenings that's what wins out.

It's a very low key affair; like most stand up comedy, it's a man on a stage, talking and not doing much else, except because he's 74, he's sat down instead. Brown is very dry and has the sort of relaxed delivery that threatens to veer into sonambulism. Perhaps I've been overstimulated by overenthusiastic comedians in the past. There's not a wave of punchline after punchline crashing over you.

His second joke was about this; how modern comedians are all cocky and over confident, whereas his material is more self-deprecating - except he's not much good at that. (Watching this I realise I unconsciously plagiarised that very same joke back in early 2009; I wasn't aware of Arnold Brown at that point so perhaps I can blame it on osmosis. I worry that in time I'll find my entire set has been lifted from somebody else or persons unknown.)

Because it's at such a slow pace, it doesn't really build to a climax (though I suppose it's a sort of relief from being put through the never ended conveyor belt of a Jimmy Carr set). There's a lot of clever misdirection and subversion of the form (just like what we saw at the Stand in Edinburgh this autumn; it feels like a common thing to Scottish comedians, perhaps) and when Brown does something well, you can sense the crafting of the joke. But it's more something relaxing than exciting.

That may be a better alternative on a Monday night when I have an early start tomorrow.
Apart from the set (52 minutes) there's an interview and a strange extra called the Media Funhouse, but I was too tired to investigate and we crawled to bed. Part of me longs for long winter nights where you can skulk indoors and watch comedy to your heart's content; part of me thinks we could just crank up the air conditioning. We shall see.


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