Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is Comedy Like Sex?

I met a guy today who told me he heard I was a professional comedian. Well, I've been paid for it, and as some people have said, once you've been paid, you never stop being a professional. Comedy really is just like sex, you see.

This got me thinking. There are lots of similarities between standup comedy and sex:
  • People think it's really easy, until they have to get on stage and do it in front of a crowd of drunken men.
  • Neither is really that suitable for a child's birthday party.
  • Most people could do it well enough to please themselves, but it's hard to make a living from it.
  • Getting good at it tends to involve staying up late at night, and possibly drinking too much.
  • If it's not enjoyable without lots of complicated props, then it's unlikely to be much fun with lots of complicated props involved.
  • Every generation thinks they're doing something new and special, but are basically rehashing what's been done before.
  • Occasionally somebody much younger than you will be strangely creative, and you'll find yourself both envious and appalled.
  • The Seventies: double acts on stage, wife-swapping at home.  Related, perhaps?
  • There are lots of examples to watch on Youtube, some of which are professionally produced, and others badly filmed with a camera phone.
  • If you have to explain what you're doing, chances are you're doing it wrong.
Then again, there's quite a few differences too:
  • People don't commonly espouse the belief that women just aren't good at it.
  • You can do one of them in a bar in Singapore without the police being involved, but not the other.
  • It's ok to have sex without an audience.
  • Despite what I said about props, you can have satisfactory stand-up comedy that includes an acoustic guitar.
  • Apart from slapstick, stand-up finds it much harder to transcend language barriers.
  • 'Killing' can be a good thing when performing stand-up.
  • If you write down all the good things that you did in a notebook, and refer to them later, that's acceptable for comedy.  Not so great in a bedroom context.
  • There's a 12 week course at the University of Brighton for comedy.
  • You can talk about your sex life while you're doing comedy.  Vice versa, not so much.
  • There's more pressure to write your own material if you're doing stand-up.
There's other things that might / might not be similarities.  I haven't figured out whether there's a parallel with promoters, open-mike nights or Stewart Lee, but if anyone feels they have figured it out, please let me know.


Post a Comment