Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: LOL

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  • Damian Christie,

    Hey Michele, can I just say it's great to have you and Jeremy and Brendhan all joining this discussion and that it's all nice and polite and reasonable like a good grown-up debate should be. Makes me proud to be part of publicaddress. Imagine if politicians decided to join in here too. World peace within days I tells ya.

    I too watch Bill Hicks DVDs over and over until I can recite some of the jokes word for word. I guess the question is when material becomes 'classic' and bears repeating forever, when it should be retired, and what the classic/new mix in any given set should be.

    I hope it's clear that when I talk about 'new' material I don't mean material being uttered for the first time that night, but rather that it's new since the last time someone could reasonably have been expected to have seen that comedian's show before.

    In my case, I set that benchmark as being the comedy festival from year to year - like the film festival it's the one time of the year when the general public (or those of us who like comedy but don't go each week) could be expected to return to see a local favourite.

    And I certainly take Brendhan at his word that his show this year is 80% new material from last year, all I had to go on this year was his 6 minute Wellington gala performance.

    And I reinforce the point I stressed at the start of all this, Brendhan is a funny, funny man, and I hope this discussion is healthy and not a lame variation on the "all NZ comedy is shit compared to overseas" meme that seems to be favoured by people whose most recent reference point is Melody Rules.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1127 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Oh, and since this is a comedy discussion forum, can I just add something that I found vaguely amusing last night:

    I went to the gym after work. There's a nice young girl who works behind the counter. She's friendly and pretty, and kind of like the stripper who looks smart because she wears glasses, I hope that she's working there so she can pay her way through medical school or something.

    We do our hi's and our how are you's, and as I'm going through my wallet, rifling through my Eftpos, Visa and AA cards and so forth trying to find my gym card, I mutter something along the lines of "don't you think we have far too many different cards these days?"

    "Yeah I know", she frowns..."poor trees"...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1127 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    finding a way to appreciate a gag a second time around

    Michele, I think there's a lot of value what you've explained about the re-crafting of good material, but I think it's just something that doesn't need to be analysed by the audience. A comedian/craftsman may watch a show and think "hahaha, I love how they've changed x to improve that gag", whereas an audience member would basically just find it still funny. All the extra tweaking a comedian does, the change in tone or timing, dissembling, change of context etc - the final yardstick is eventually just that an audience that's heard the joke before are still laughing. If interrogated we may not be able to pinpoint why, aside from a vague, "well, (s)he told it a little differently", but since it's still fresh, it's still funny.

    It reminds me a little of a couple of music festivals I went to, and saw two of my favourite bands (at that time), twice within the season. One band did exactly the same set both times, so the second time was real flat. The other band pretty much did the same set, but shuffled the song order a bit, and noodled around with a new song as well, bit of different banter, and it was awesome.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Sodium Hydroxide,

    Do for the love of it ... version - Salmonella Dub, nothing worse for me than a comic who is trying too hard, which to me is why seeing dylan moran was great as he (acts) like he couldnt give a fuck if you laugh or not (maybe thats just how i have created him as a character re black books, very savvy end to series too, very faulty towers). To me its the stage presence as well, which translates into audience intimacy and participation, people go to a show to be entertained so seem more 'primed' to enjoy and laugh. really don't understand heckling, someone explain? it seems so wannabe. Respect to NZ standup

    The desert of the real • Since May 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Elwood,

    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.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I remember those Ruby gigs as well - I only went a few times, but they seemed to be built on what was a really good capping show cast in 1996 (Y Files, I've been to every capping show since, please come back Jeremy, it hasn't been as good since).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6150 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Long ago memories of comedy out the back of Ruby in the Dust

    Hello! <waves>

    Anyway...

    It strikes me that the more nut-and-blots-ey this discussion gets the more it does seems to apply generally to at least the performing arts. I know my theatre experience means I really do looks for different things in plays than people I might overhear in the foyer. And can't stand some things they quite like.

    When Jeremy mentioned having to make the publicity before the show it reminded me of a theory I had about The Pickle King, a show whose poster did not match its content. If you're going to do a devised touring show I guess you kind of have to throw everyone together for very few weeks then go. I'm guessing the did the posters first.

    I'll add that we shouldn't be too limited in what might be considered comic "material". It's possible to make people laugh just using rhythm and breath.

    Not that I'm suggesting that would make a good 50-minute set for any of y'all.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    When Jeremy mentioned having to make the publicity before the show

    You see the exact same phenomenon at academic conferences, where you must submit your abstract months in advance (often before you have the results, sometimes before you've even collected the data, or even before you've finalised the study design).

    And funny that there should be such a collection of people here that remember those gigs. I ran into Jeremy in Auckland not long after he left (Jan 1999?) at the Classic. We had a bit of a chat and reminisce then! So quite cool to be doing so 8 years later!!

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 682 posts Report Reply

  • Sodium Hydroxide,

    Question for Lyndon <waves back> seeing as he is lurking, little off topic, maybe funny, who am I to tell, anyway:

    Re the Scoop budget coverage, with the pics of the politicans, does anyone, ever, "Click for bigger version" ?

    The desert of the real • Since May 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I was in Dunedin Monday, now Ruby's is something called "the Terrace"

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 869 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Uh yeah. The Terrace. I think it might also have been something else in between. I have been to The Terrace twice, perhaps. About the best feature was being able to get 6 odd litres of Speights Chocolate Ale in a tall glass tube with a tap on the bottom. Mmm. Beer with chocolate.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 682 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Those glass tubes have become quite the fashion of late it seems.


    Oh, and anyone else surprised and disgusted that TVNZ would see fit to devote a solid minute of their news hour to an investigation of the "golden street" of Tinwald on Budget Day? The moment when they were searching the vegetable garden for the "secret" was possibly the lowest moment I've seen in some time.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 869 posts Report Reply

  • Anne M,

    TV3 did it too, conspiracy maybe?

    Better than the story on the kids who didn't get hit by lightening though. That gets my vote for stupid story of the month

    Since Nov 2006 • 101 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I don't get how they couldn't find something better to talk about on Budget night. Or at least make it topical, like "if you did get a tax cut, would you spend it on more lotto tickets?"

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 869 posts Report Reply

  • Anne M,

    I think the segue went something like "Well, the residents of Whatever St in Tinwald don't need tax cuts ..." so it was loosely connected. Connected but irrelevant.

    I got much more idea of the Budget and who was flanneling listening to Mary Wilson on RNZ dissecting the usual suspects (Cullen, English, some employers)

    Since Nov 2006 • 101 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Oh now that is smooth, I wish I hadn't automatically blocked it (self defence measure)

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 869 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    And it can't be ALL about the element of surprise - or why would people buy comedy CDs and DVDs?

    Mothers Day, Fathers Day, X-Mas ...

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    One point that I think hasn't been mentioned is that when people go to a gig they rarely go alone, so there is an element of social interaction amongst the audience. For instance. A. says to B. and C. "Let's go and see Brendan's show". B. and C. say "who's Brendan?" A. says "He's a really funny guy". This is all purely subjective and based on A's previous experience of seeing Brendan. Brendan tells Joke X, that A. has heard before and found funny. A. hopes B. and C. find it as funny as he did the first time. If they do, then A. feels good, if not then he will feel embarrassed. If Brendan only does new material then A. will be reduced to a blubbering heap of insecurity. So the comedian must use old material for the sake of all of us who suffer from paranoia.
    Pfffft..(stubs roach in ashtray)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Re the Scoop budget coverage, with the pics of the politicans, does anyone, ever, "Click for bigger version" ?

    Well, I myself find it useful as photoshop source material...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    Better than the story on the kids who didn't get hit by lightening though. That gets my vote for stupid story of the month

    Really? I thought that was fascinating! How often do you see lightning almost kill 2 kids walking home from school in the rain? I mean they really were almost tasered out of existence.

    I wonder if the media would have shown the footage if the kids had been zapped.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Five,

    mmm... think your being a little generous Damien... NZ comedy does suck! (well the Ak Comedy Mafia do anyway)...

    there is a reason Brendon L, Cal Wilson, Carley B, Bic R etc need to get day jobs... it's cos they just are as good as other things on offer...

    It's time NZ artists stopped thinking that we owe them something just cos they are from here, and concerntrated on doing what they do better...

    bout time for a NZ Off Air blitz i think

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Oh quality comment Felix

    NZ comedy does suck

    NZ comics don't think you owe us anything just because we're from here, check out the ticket sales for the Festival, look at the number of local shows getting great reviews, take your head out from your own ass and actually go out and see Jeremy Elwood, Michelle A'Court, Sam Wills, you did not mention them in your "Ak Comedy Mafia" and they are brilliant brilliant stand up comics.
    Come down to Wellington and see Steve Wrigley, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer and mrs.peacock again, brilliant comics.
    There's an endless list of talented funny good comedians out there and for you to tar them all with the 'suck' brush really puts on display your own ignorance of the subject matter.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Felix, that really was an inane thing to say, don't you think? There are hundreds of extraordinary comedians in NZ who work very hard to bring you their observations on life, in their various ways, that make you laugh and ponder and go, well yes, exactly. Not everything from "overseas" is fabulous. Not everything from other countries is better because it's not from here - I thought that attitude died long ago. Obviously, I was wrong.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    Are you the original felix five? A long time ago I heard a rumour your middle name was rocksteady-a-gogo. Is that true?

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Sodium Hydroxide,

    oOo Felix feel da buuuuurn (Asthma is a serious problem)

    altho dropping the ! and (well the Ak Comedy Mafia do anyway)... off "nz comedey does suck" is selective distortion of a possibly tongue in cheek comment, words on a screen hard to see context eh.

    To quote the sage council of anti-high brow wankery campigner Jackie

    "And isn't it great that we are all different."

    NZ comedy is fun :P

    The desert of the real • Since May 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

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