The inspiration list 18/10/2019

This week has been a busy one! I was doing my Frog and bucket world series heat on Monday, gigging at ‘See you next Tuesday’ at the Artista in Brighton on Tuesday and then at Common Hall Street Social in Chester on the Wednesday.

Been trying to work on some new material bits and test out some jokes (including some scrap pile jokes) and keep writing. My next gig is tomorrow in North Wales.

Here’s what has been keeping me motivated and inspired this week.

The book

I’m reading ‘Daily rituals: how artists work‘ which takes a look at some of the most famous creative minds throughout history and explores their daily routines.

It’s a really interesting book, largely because of the difference in all the artists daily routines. It’s re-assuring to know that you can create great work without following a strict schedule.

What is also interesting is that a lot of the artists do follow their own form of daily ritual. Getting up at the same time, doing the same thing through the day and always making time for the work that they’re renowned for.

It’s been a good glimpse into how much work I want to put into comedy and how to go about building out daily routines to get the work achieved.

The YouTube channel

Thanks to Aaron Wood, a friend and comic who put me on to Andrew Schulz’s ‘Inside Jokes’.

It’s a great series where Andrew Schulz and friends look at some of their jokes they have done in the past and dissect them. It’s really interesting to me because Schulz tends to tell jokes that land on the darker side and I often worry that my jokes are too dark so it’s good to see pro comics grappling with similar issues.

Aaron was also the first to put me on to Gary Gulman’s, Gulman’s tips over on Twitter which have been really useful as well.

Once you’ve had a look at Gulman’s tips, take a look at evil Gulman which is very funny.

The essay

Hunter Collins delivers an excellent, well researched and well delivered article on punching down in the comedy tribune.

It’s an interesting stance because he’s arguing in favour of punching down rather than against it.

Anyone who is interested in comedy will likely be aware of the (I suspect manufactured) controversy around Dave Chapelle’s Netflix special and the argument that he is punching down in several of his routines.

For any none comedy savvy readers, ‘punching down’ is what we call it when a comedian makes a joke at the expense of a vulnerable societal group.

This isn’t really the place to get into the debate but I can see both sides of the argument. On one side, comedians are seen as the champions of the downtrodden and voice of the voiceless and is it funny to take swipes at vulnerable groups?

On the other side, who says what groups are vulnerable? Is it patronising to call a group of people vulnerable? And actually is it more liberal and progressive to include everyone in your jokes rather than picking and choosing?

I can also be semi-swayed by the argument that laughter should be the ultimate judge but I have been at open mics and seen what might get a laugh at and I have to say, I think we can do better. Al Murray has spoken at length about the audiences who didn’t ‘get’ the irony of his pub landlord character and just took everything he said at face value.

Marc Maron, one of my favorite comics, made an excellent point about making jokes which hurt people.

I think ultimately, my reasoning is, if you feel like you can defend a joke then you can say it. If people call you on something you’ve said and you can’t stand by it or defend it without falling back on ‘it was just a joke’ then maybe it wasn’t a good joke?

The comedian

I got to see Nick Helm’s fantastic Phoenix from Flames tour the other day and it was brilliant. The man is just fantastic.

It was a much more poignant show then I’ve seen from him in the past but no less funny for it and contriving an entire show around the desire to tell the audience they are c***’s is hilarious.

He’s one of my favorites and seeing his show made me realise even more how much I want to be there, doing solo shows. Maybe one day.

That’s all for this week. Let me know anything you think I’d like or that has inspired you in the comments below. And if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, gig lists and other news, why not subscribe to my monthly newsletter?

Bye for now,

Dave

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