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Title: STAND-UP:%20COMEDY%20WITH%20A%20BITE


1
STAND-UP COMEDY WITH A BITE
  • By Alleen and Don Nilsen

2
Stand-Up Has a Long History
  • Royal jesters, in motley clothes and carrying
    fake scepters, were actually a kind of stand-up
    comedian.
  • For todays comedians, microphones work as their
    symbol of authority.
  • They had special identification because they were
    the only ones allowed to criticize the King.
  • Some jesters spoke through scepters (made
    from pig bladders), as when todays
    ventriloquists speak through their puppets. It
    was a way of distancing themselves from
    criticism.

3
  • MAX BLACK ( WILL FARRELL GET OFF THE STAGE)
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vNoXLu9Rz70g

4
Mark Twain Might Be Considered Americas First
Standup Comedian
  • He was forced into touring the U. S. and sharing
    his most humorous stories, along with his cryptic
    observations, during the late 1800s because when
    he went into business as his own publisher, he
    lost money. The tours were a way to recoup.
  • Starting in the 1960s, Hal Holbrook, a talented
    performer, began recreating Twains lectures.
  • We saw Holbrook at the State University of New
    York in Oswego in 1965 and still have a vivid
    memory of his retelling of Twains The
    Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

5
  • George Carlins Im a Modern Man
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vhkCR-w3AYOE

6
Defining AmericanStand-Up Comedy
  • Bob Hope, Jack Benny, George Burns, Fred Allen,
    Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, Alan King, and
    Frank Fay are said to exemplify a pure form of
    stand-up comedy. They stood before an audience
    and managed to develop the kind of rapport that
    allowed them to speakand laughwith strangers
    who had suddenly become friends.
  • Performance comedy is more theatrical, more
    scripted, more elaborate, and more fully
    developed. Performers use costumes, props, and
    stage settings as do most of our contemporary
    late night TV hosts.

7
  • MARGARET CHO TALKS ABOUT RACE
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vkc6mLwOa2Ig

8
STAND-UP IS COLLABORATIVE
  • Jason Rutter says that Like conversation,
    stand-up is a collaborative production made
    possible by the active involvement of those that
    make up the interaction.
  • Paul McIlvenny says that Working the room
    consists of figuring out the homogeneity of the
    group because laughter is an expression of shared
    values.
  • Comedians quiz club owners for key pieces of
    information with which the audience can identify.
    They look for community names and ways of
    contrasting local socio-economic classes in the
    particular region.

9
  • James Corden
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vsnDEDpCIOsc

10
The Marx Brothers
  • Although the four brothers were most famous for
    acting in films, Groucho was a true off-the-cuff
    comedian. In You Bet Your Life (beginning on
    radio in 1947 and television from 1951 to 1959),
    he engaged in hilarious conversations with
    contestants who had been carefully chosen. But
    to protect spontaneity Groucho would not meet
    them until show time. He was a genius at getting
    them to say funny things.

11
  • WILL FERRELL (JOHN C. REILLY JACK BLACK AT THE
    OSCARS)
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vo5JAPkvnysofeatur
    echannel

12
Abbot and Costello protected their spontaneity by
never starting in the same place when they did
their famous Whos on First? piece.
13
We would assume that a male would wear the left
hat while a female would wear the right hat, but
comedianswho are always looking for
surprisemight go the other way.
14
  • Chelsea Handler
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vw6k_278oGHI

15
Comedians Are Eager to Find an Identifying Mark
  • Groucho Marx had his glasses, his cigar, and his
    moustache (an idea borrowed from Charlie
    Chaplin).
  • Phyllis Diller had her long cigarette holder.
  • Dave Chappelle dresses in Army fatigues.
  • Even in real life, Don finds that if he wears a
    funny tie, people assume he wants to joke with
    them.

16
THE VOICE AS A COSTUME AND AS A PROP
  • Jason Rutter says that when worn as a costume,
    the voice is used by the comedian to create a
    character which they play for the entirety of a
    narrative sequence.
  • At other times, the comedian may use the voice as
    a prop for a limited time, as either a
    quotation from a character, or as a caricature
    by itself.

17
  • Mary Maxwells Deadpan Prayer https//www.youtube
    .com/watch?vvPFCn3itBFEfeatureyoutu.be

18
Early on, comedians sought to identify themselves
with ethnicities
  • These went way beyond African American, Hispanic,
    and Asian communities.
  • Scotch, Welsh, German, Norwegian, Jewish, and
    Irish were all fodder for jokingboth from inside
    and outside the groups.
  • Still today we see comedians desperate to stand
    out from the crowd.

19
  • DEMETRI MARTIN
  • http//live.demetrimartin.com/

20
Hot topics in the 1960s and 70s, were politics,
race relations, and sex.
  • Alan King, Danny Thomas, Don Rickles, Joan
    Rivers, and Jack Leonard became popular at
    nightclubs and resorts, while Woody Allen,
    Shelley Berman, Phyllis Diller, and Bob Newhart
    became famous on television.
  • African American comedians Redd Foxx, George
    Kirby, Bill Cosby, and Dick Gregory developed
    white audiences.
  • Lenny Bruce was known as the obscene comic,
    while George Carlin was arrested in July of 1972
    after performing his still famous Seven Words
    You Can Never Say on Television.

21
PATTON OSWALT
  • http//www.pattonoswalt.com/

22
In the 1980s and 90s there was a wide variety of
comedy.
  • Stand-up expanded from nightclubs into major
    concerts with huge audiences.
  • Bill Cosby and Steve Martin were gentle
    comedians, while Robin Williams was frenetic.
  • Richard Pryor used an acerbic style, while Rodney
    Dangerfield and Buddy Hackett stuck with the old
    style, avoiding social satire.
  • Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show brought
    stand-up comedy to the whole country.
  • One newspaper editor suggested that stand-up
    comedians were the new heroes in our society.

23
  • TREVOR NOAH AFRICAN AMERICAN
  • https//vimeo.com/ondemand/trevornoah?gclidCN7ajd
    PP1cQCFYNsfgodbrkAvw

24
Comedians, not doctors, are the ones who
practice.
  • When Chris Rock was recently interviewed by Jon
    Stewart, they talked about changes in stand-up.
  • Rock resents people taking pictures and sending
    copies out to
  • their friends.
  • This is because when he does stand-up in clubs,
    hes practicing and getting new ideas. He
    wants time to ponder and refine before going
    national.

25
  • Chris Rock
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vv3HPF92NhrE

26
Most Comedians, Even TV Stars, Take Time Off to
Go On Tour
  • Jerry Seinfeld has gone on record saying that a
    comedians skills are best honed in stand-up.
  • The challenge in stand-up is that the audience
    expects to participate.
  • George Schultz, owner of the famous Pips Club in
    Brooklyn tells about forcing a comedian to go on
    even though there were only four guests in the
    club.
  • He taped the mans performance, and afterwards
    both Schultz and the exhausted comedian
    discovered that in the course of his show, he had
    created 20 new jokes because he had interrelated
    with his audience.

27
Who Creates the Jokes? Is it the Writer or
the Comedian?
  • Audiences are increasingly asking Whose joke is
    that? Does it belong to the comedian or a
    writer?
  • Some critics think they can distinguish between
    comedians telling their own jokes vs. when they
    are telling jokes created by someone else.
  • Everyone agrees that, at least, the comedian
    needs to feel ownership even in something like
    Jay Leno showing in-print mistakes that viewers
    have sent in.
  • One story supporting the idea that comedians are
    inherently funny is about Milton Berle visiting
    the dying comedian Jim Backus and telling old
    jokes for two hours. As he got up to leave,
    Berle said, I hope you get better. Backus
    replied, You too.

28
Are These Jokes Likely to Be Used by a Stand-Up
Comedian? Why or Why Not?
  • A bicycle cannot stand alone. It is two tired.
  • When youve seen one shopping center, youve seen
    a mall.
  • A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said
  • KEEP OFF THE GRASS!
  • DONT JOIN DANGEROUS CULTS PRACTICE SAFE SECTS.

29
Is Stand-Up Overdone?
  • The Laugh Factory is editing its recordings in
    preparation for making them available online,
    much like music.
  • Here is Dave Chapelle performing stand-up at the
    Laugh Factory
  • How can newcomers compete against smoothly edited
    TV performances?
  • Some open-mike clubs will no longer accept
    amateurs because their audiences are spoiled by
    the perfection on TV.

30
Do Comedians Just Naturally See the World
Differently?
  • If you were a teacher, would you have wanted
    Hedberg as a student?
  • Comedian Mitch Hedberg
  • When Hedberg was warned that he was blocking a
    fire exit, he responded, As though if there was
    a fire, I wasnt going to run. If you are
    flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a
    fire exit.

31
  • Mitch Hedberg
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vu6xaj2fC1jI

32
In the 1990s, while Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen
DeGeneres made odd observations, Steven Wright
was known for his ironic musings, e. g.
  • He claimed to have the worlds largest collection
    of sea shells, which he stores on beaches around
    the world.
  • He also said he has a microwave fireplace that he
    lies in front of every evening for eight minutes.
  • He used to work in a fire hydrant factory, but
    could never find a place to park.
  • One night a burglar broke into his apartment and
    stole all of his furniture, and replaced it with
    exact duplicates.

33
Censorship and Stand-up
  • In the days of vaudeville, performers would look
    over their audience to see if anyone looked like
    a government agent waiting to arrest them for
    corrupting morals.
  • Mae West developed her coyness and skill at
    innuendo as a way of outwitting such censors.
  • Belle Barth would slip into yiddish, when she
    came to a sensitive point. Her audiences were
    mostly Jewish New Yorkers vacationing in the
    Catskills.
  • Lenny Bruce in the late 1950s and 60s was more
    interested in changing public attitudes toward
    censorship and so each time he was arrested he
    used the situation to bring attention to what he
    thought were foolish proscriptions.

34
LARRY THE CABLE GUY
  • http//www.larrythecableguy.com/

35
The Contributions of HBO
  • HBO was the first network to produce comedians
    without censoring them. This was partly because
    patrons paid for their services and so expected
    more. HBO produced 14 comedy specials starring
    George Carlin and his campaign against
    censorship.
  • A new generation of comedians including Bill
    Burr, David Cross, Hannibal Buress, Chelsea
    Handler, Dave Foley, Todd Glass, Sara Silverman,
    and Demetri Martin do not have to worry about
    censorship of the kind that caused the Smothers
    Brothers to lose their show because of mildly
    criticizing the Vietnam war, or caused Jack Paar
    to walk off his show to protest his networks
    censoring of an old British story about a
    confusion over whether W.C. stood for Wayside
    Chapel or Water Closet.

36
HERE IS A SCALE USED TO RANK COMEDIANS from 1 to
10 on various categories. Try filling it out for
three or four of your favorites. The problem is
that to predict success, even if you find where a
comedian stands, you also need to know where the
audience stands in its preferences.
Cultural Savvy______ Cynicism_______ Deadpan_______ Energy_______ Ethnicity_______ Insightful_______ Interactive ______ Invective_______ Irony_______ Political Savvy_______ Redneck_______ Risk Taking_______ Sarcasm_______ Sophistication_______ Spontaneity_______ Wit _______
37
So Where Is Stand-Up Today? Actually Its On Its
Way to Becoming Sit-Down.
  • The late night news stories have borrowed
    techniques both from traditional stand-up and
    from sit-coms.
  • Like the sit-coms, the shows start and end with
    the same set, music, and introductions so that
    viewers feel comfortable.
  • Like the stand-up comedians, the hosts use lots
    of old jokes, but they seem fresh because they
    tie them in with current events and celebrities.
  • The hosts choose eccentric guests and set them up
    to do a kind of Improv so that they have
    spontaneity, which is also helped by their live
    audiences.

38
  • STEVEN WRIGHT
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vvroWEVKnsWElistP
    L60E4B18D8874F50E

39
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Americas New
Style of Comedian
  • Greg Beato wrote in an article, Amusing Us to
    Depth, that multiple surveys by the Pew Research
    Center and the Annenberg Public Policy Center
    have found that viewers of The Daily Show and The
    Colbert Report are among Americas most informed
    citizens.

40
All Comedians Have Dreams. Heres our
Prediction of Their Bucket Lists
  • To Play Las Vegas
  • To Have a Sitcom
  • To Write a Best Seller
  • To Host a Comedy Talk Show
  • To Star in a Movie
  • To Win the Mark Twain Award
  • To Be a Winner at a Comedy Festival
  • To Emcee the Oscars

41
  • Welsh Comedian and his lost luggage in Australia
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vTSFmipc_60s
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