At it’s best, comedy delivers the truth. Sometimes that honesty goes down smooth and sometimes it has a bite but it should always be undeniable and funny. If my comedy had a crest it would have the world “truth” and “smooth” on it. In Latin, of course. (Note to self: Make a Comedy Crest, put it on a jacket.)
The goal of the comedian, as I see it, is to explore non-obvious truths OR explore obvious truths in a unique way. So jokes about leaving the toilet seat up are tough to pull off because they contain obvious truths that are hard put in a new light.
As a comic, you know you’re on the right track when people come up to you after the show with stories that corroborate your act. (Shout out to “Law and Order” for teaching me the word “corroborate”). Hearing audience members say, “That one joke you did was so true…” is music to my ears. It lets me know my act will stay with them and long after I’ve left town the laughs will live on.
I have a joke about smart phones taking away our ability to lie. Every stat, every historical event can be cued up in seconds. Good for accuracy, bad for fun interaction. Our phones are like mobile judges and when we google things, it’s like we’re approaching the bench. In my act I joke about how 12 years ago you could tell someone a famous figure was born with six fingers on one hand. A fun lie that could not be corroborated or disproven and ultimately wouldn’t hurt the person you were talking to. The crowd eats it up. You really should see me do the joke as I’m doing it no justice here.
After the show a guy came up to me and told me HE was born with six fingers on one hand. Can someone Google the odds of that happening! Score 10 for truth. I was trying to be completely random just to prove a point and in that randomness I tapped into this guy’s life story. He was cool with the joke, thank God. He also had a best friend whose first name was “Dwayne” and another whose last name was “Perkins.” I’ve grown accustomed to these odd coincidences.
Shout out to Thumper in Long Beach. Thanks for the music. Perhaps I need to go more random with that joke. Cue the unicorns.