I’m taking part in a radio show tonight. It’s one of those ones where they discuss topical issues, people call in who have often read a news headline and like shouting it over and over again until someone responds, and they have a guest comedian hoping they might say something funny here and there. Tonight, I am that guest. Also on the panel is the editor of a newspaper who’s content I don’t enjoy, to put it as politely as possible. The subjects we are discussing were sent this afternoon and unfortunately they aren’t ones I’ve written much on this week and so have spent the last two hours scurrilously putting pen to pad and trying to write any ideas down that I can. Not just comedy notes though. No. Because I am an opinionated idiot, I have written down facts and thoughts on all of the subjects because I feel I should express them if they come up. This is not the easiest way to do it. I could, like a good comic, just think of a few quick gags, fire them off when needed and I may gain a follower or two from being vaguely funny. That is probably the way in which you could approach these things with a) less stress, b) least work involved for something you’ll never say again outside of a local radio station one hour show and c) what you could do to ensure no one argues with you for being wrong because you haven’t read everything under the sun to prove your point.
Robin Ince wrote a blog the other day about the problems of having to be ‘correct to the best of your ability.’ I have this very issue with making any political commentary. I want to talk constantly on such matters but with an overall intent of making it funny. However to make them funny, you have to be able to back up your viewpoint with evidence as to why you might think like that or say that. This of course, requires a lot of reading. Which of course, requires time to do. Suddenly you find yourself researching a subject so much you’ve failed to find the comedy in it and your brain is tired and you’d forgotten what the point of it all was anyway. It would be so very easy to not read anything, decide on an opinion in my brain that works best for a joke, then say it and generally most people probably will just laugh and not care and wam bam, my job as a comedian has been done.
I am incapable of doing that. I have a sort of personal mantra that I only do stand-up about things that I believe in and care about. By reeling off easy ideas and misinformation I’d feel as though I was abusing my job that gives me a platform to speak to people on regular occasion. Also, I’d feel as if I wasn’t remotely trying or challenging myself. Why I need to challenge myself is completely beyond me. It lurks somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind alongside the urge to keep finding new projects to do and commit to, when I could just have a holiday. So instead of respite, I’m looking up the connection between poverty and obesity and the dangers of fracking, when I could probably just write something cheap about being overweight or how fracking sounds like a swear. Ultimately my brain hurts and I wish I wasn’t such a stubborn bastard and could just go with the latter.
Still, in a few hours, I’ll be off air, having spouted thoughts that will likely be argued with and proved wrong because I forgot to look up something that I had no idea was something I should look up. I’ll probably get a few tweets telling me I’m an idiot and then ultimately I’ll come home wondering why I didn’t just read my book all afternoon. But at least I’ll feel like I’ve done what I can to represent my actual viewpoints. I like to think that’s what’s important. And also why I’m not on television and have a shit car.
I don’t think I’ve explained that very clearly at all, but in my head it made sense. Then again, I have spent the afternoon reading everything on fracking, so appropriately I feel like my brain has been drilled into and chemicals inserted in it. So sense isn’t my forte right now. This radio show should go swimmingly…..
I’m doing my first ever UK tour in 2014, starting end of January. All dates and most ticket links are up at my website: https://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.