Really isn't me. Interesting.
Jeremy Elwood on the other hand, does voices for half the adverts on TV.
I wish! I have actually never done a TV voice over in my life. Be interesting to know who sounds like me though....
Anyway, my real point is this. The festival is now over, and I'd like to thank both the writers on this site for their (mostly) intelligent and pertinent discussion of our industry, and the audiences who made this the most successful festival to date. More local shows sold out than ever before, and Wellington in particular really stood up and made us welcome.
Keep coming to regular shows, and I for one will try and keep it fresh for y'all.
Oh, cheers Felix Five, I knew there was something missing in all this; late 90's, post "Melody-Rules" gross generalisation. Just to update you though, Brendhan L's only day job in all the time I've known him has been filling in on breakfast Radio - something he only does because they know who he is through his comedy. Cal Wilson is working fulltime in comedy television in Melbourne, so handed in her Akl Mafia Membership card quite some time ago. And, for the record, Billy T has passed on, John Clarke left for Oz and has done the odd bit of work over there (quite well received, apparently) , and neither Bic Runga or Carly Binding are comedians.
Apart from that, I'm sure you're not being simplistic that all NZ comedy does, in your opinion, suck. Just like ALL New Zealand music, dance, theatre, film and food. And I can now categorically say that ALL the posts on this discussion are inane and outdated, based on only reading yours. Phew. Doesn't that make it all so much simpler?
Long ago memories of comedy out the back of Ruby in the Dust, and the efforts he and others must have gone to to keep it fresh.
And the adult discourse continues, with a brief foray into technical assistance.....
Thanks for remembering the above gigs, James! They were a good example of all this, actually. We did a weekly gig in Dunedin for about 18 months, with probably about 80% of the same audience coming back every time. So believe me, it was a relief to find, on moving North, that I could actually do the same gag more than once! Interestingly, though, much of the material from those shows never worked in front of any other audience. That tends to happen a lot when comics are writing for only one type of audience, as your observations on the Capping Show outlined. I always suggest to new comics that the best thing they can ever do is a gig with noone they know in the crowd. That's when you find out wether you're doing a show, or a party trick.
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.
When you end up in a heated argument with comedians, is that ironic?
Not really, we're more than happy to wade in....
This whole discussion has been fascinating, and in my opinion, worth having. The issue of new material, or the lack therof, is one that we comics doubtlessly discuss more than anyone else.
There are a couple of points brought up by various writers I'd like to comment on.
The writer who says that "if I see a comedian do two festival shows with different titles, I expect them to be different shows" - fair enough. I think that during the festival, billing is certainly an issue. It's worth pointing out that we have to come up with the publicity blurbs for our shows in early December, whilst the shows themselves don't happen until May. This can, and does, often result in shows that bear little resemblance to the advertised "theme", particularly for comedians whose work is, by definition, topical. Things change, so do the shows. Having said that, I often feel that this is an excuse for us to put in more new material, rather than less. As a rule of thumb, I feel that if a show is titled and/or publicised as being on a theme and "brand new", then punters have a reasonable right to be let down if much of the material is repeated from other shows. If however, the show is simply an hour of stand up from any particular act, then older material can be justified, if it happens to fit in with whatever new material it is being presented alongside.
In regards to the comparison between stand up and any other form of writing, there really isn't one. Songs, even comedy songs, are stand alone pieces of work. They exist individually. Take something like "Pinball Wizard" for example - sure, it was part of a rock opera and concept album, but it is still a stand alone piece of work. Stand up shows are a collection of pieces of material that, in practice, have to collectively find some form of coherance. Therefore the same material that works one week may not work the next, but a piece of material from two weeks ago just might fit.
Also, as opposed to the written word, stand up must work immediately, night after night. That's why older jokes have a tendency to evolve, and delivery of them to get better with time.
In terms of wether or not NZ comedians have a higher or lower turnover rate of material than those overseas, the truth is that ours is, through necessity, much, much higher. The "new material" that international acts bring here at festival time is, in many cases, material that has been performed hundreds of times, just not in front of you, the New Zealand audience. There have been visiting acts in the past whose Gala sets, for example, I happen to know are at least 10 years old. The problem here, for both comics and audiences, is that we perform at the same few venues, in many cases to a lot of the same people, with greater frequency than our overseas counterparts have to. As a result, frequent attendees will hear material that may, in fact, be much newer than you realise. Once we find a good line, we really like to use it!
In the end, I'm actually pleased that this discussion has generated so many replies, as it shows that we're now getting an audience that pays enough attention to call us on material that we should retire, or at the least that we need to be a little more selective about which gigs we use to showcase new or "tested" bits.