There are many problems with comedy, and one of the main ones is constantly being obsessed with overthinking about it and working out exactly what it is we are all meant to be doing. This is pretty much what leads to all the other problems of comedy and were any of us that are involved in the funny stuff able to get the key notion of exactly what it’s all about then we’d probably stop worrying about all the other stuff that causes all the other problems. We all know the idea is to make people laugh but should we do it while making people think about things, escape from thinking about things, make them think they think about things that they don’t think about or just talk complete bullshit? Should we tell tales, quick gags, funny songs, satire? Should we perform to everyone, just the people we like, just the people we don’t like, just children, just adults? Should we comedy everyone gets or just those who get exactly what it is we’re doing and become niche? The thought process is fairly endless, and hugely tiresome for everyone who has to live or speak to us on pretty much any given day.
Of course, all these differences are open to personal interpretation, what suits us individually and what our influences are. All of which is important because it allows comedy to be hugely diverse and subjective and ultimately allow everyone, wherever they are, to at least have one comedian they might like for their specific sense of humour. But it doesn’t stop everyone fretting about what if the comedy they are doing isn’t the right type and should we all be trying harder at something else. This doesn’t then remotely take into account the further questions that dance around the material and presentation itself, all of which pop up to ask you if you want to do the Edinburgh Fringe, or write new material, or keep working on the old material, or tour, or just write, or do weird one off gigs or etc etc etc until you feel entirely unsure of yourself and your entire gambled life.
Last night, I was doing one of those gigs that I go slightly dead behind the eyes while onstage. This is nothing to do with the gig I should add, which was, last night, very nice and very well run. It’s just one of the weekend gigs I’ve half convinced myself to stop doing lately because I don’t enjoy them anymore. They are usually full of stags, hens and birthday parties, none of which are particularly interested in comedy unless it’s full of swears and sex gags. Which I don’t do. I’m just not very good at writing jokes about it and I’m not particularly interested in writing jokes about it. So I don’t do it. But these gigs pay very well. And every now and then, like last night, they are full of lovely people and then you question if you should stop doing them or if you’re just being a diva about it all. Backstage, amongst the acts, we had the usual angst ridden chat of just what on Earth we are all doing, what’s wrong with us, and what should we all do, and will we all just become old with no security for later life whatsoever. The usual fears. At one point, the very funny Paul McCaffrey said to me ‘I just wish that sometimes I could stop thinking.’ I’m pretty sure he nailed the one thing that draws all us comedians together.
A recent study said comedians suffer psychosis more than most other jobs. It’s an odd study because comedians come from all walks of life. I’ve met acts that used to be everything from IT experts, to teachers, football hooligans, lawyers and those who’ve never done anything but comedy. But something draws us all to ending up shouting about our lives to people. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think that’s the problem. We all think far too much. Is that a by product of exposing our lives on stage, the fragility of the industry we’re in or something we all inherently have that’s led us to do such a ridiculous profession in the first place? Who knows. We’ll probably never work it out and ultimately, as long as audiences are laughing it probably doesn’t matter. Or does it? Oh god. Here we go again. Oh to stop the thinking for just 5 minutes…..
Yesterday Rufus Hound announced he is going to run as an MEP in the Euro Elections in May for the NHA party, formed to protect the NHS. His blog very succinctly explains why HERE, and I am hugely impressed and fully back him in doing what is a very bold move indeed. Rufus is, and in the time I’ve known him, always has been, a very grounded and fiercely hard-working man. Choosing to put a very successful showbiz career and use that voice to campaign for the terrifying destruction of the NHS is a brave and wonderful thing to do. You may not have known there was a Euro election in May due to lack of coverage or you may have thought that it isn’t worth voting in it. Well if you, like I do, care for our nationalised healthcare service then please vote for Rufus. He may not be a politician but he’s very passionate in his beliefs and I can’t think of a better person to be doing this.
I’m doing my first ever UK tour in less than a week! All dates and most ticket links are up at my website: http://www.tiernandouieb.co.uk. Please spread the word and come along as if you’re not there, it’ll be rubbish. It’ll just be me in a room and if I can’t get 3G I’ll be really bored. The very funny Chris Coltrane is supporting me on some dates and the brilliant Keith Farnan is doing a double header with me on others.