Monday 12 November 2007

Why do I bother?

I managed to get my hands on a couple of tickets to see Dara Ó Briain at Vicar Street on Friday evening. It was thoroughly depressing -he is far too good. Ó Briain may not be universally regarded as THE best comedian in the world* but he steps into a league of his own when it comes to audience banter. He seems to have this incredible ability to conjure endless laughs from an innocent audience member's answers to a couple of mundane questions - like what they do for a living - and all without being offensive or condescending.

I go to a lot of comedy gigs and it is a pure pleasure to see top guys like Ó Briain, Tiernan and Rich Hall ply their trade. You can learn a lot that can improve your material or delivery. You notice little "tricks of the trade" that can improve a joke (like Wibbly Wobbly Wonder is an inherently funnier name for an ice cream than Choc-ice). It also makes you wonder why you bother trying to craft 15 minutes of material that is consistently funny and loosely linked when these guys make it seem so effortless. I'm sure its not effortless. I know a lot of work goes into it behind the scenes - hours spent writing, standing in front of a mirror rehearsing the delivery over and over.

I guess it just makes me aware of how huge the learning curve is and how much room there is for improvement.

* The title of World's Best Comedian is, of course, a matter of opinion and will continue to remain so until some "boffin" (for it will surely be The Sun who break the news) develops a method of scientifically measuring an indiviual's level of funniness. For what it's worth, having mulled it over for the past few minutes, I haven't been able
to decide who I think is deserving of the accolade but I have decided that if such a measuring system is devised it should use the Milligan Scale and each unit of measurement should be called a Goon.


sheepworrier said...

Gotta say that Tommy Tiernan is one of the better Irish stand-ups at the mo...
'little fanta filled fu*kers!'

The Bad Ambassador said...

Before I commit blasphemy let me say that I think Tommy is in a class of his own - both in Ireland and world wide.

The thing is, I don't think his material is that great - it's his energy, his delivery, his story telling ability, the way he draws you into the tale and his "turn of phrase" that combines to make it all hilarious.

I reckon I could do Dara Ó Briain's material and make it at least a little funny. If I tried to do Tommy's material I would at best be booed off stage and at worst carted away in a white jacket with extra long sleeves.