11.02.2009 08:59 - Why It's Not Enough Just To Be Funny.
Comedians are important.
No, I'm not blowing my own importance up. Far from it. Comedians are important because you need to laugh to remain healthy. On the list where no.5 was "three orgasms weekly", no.1 was "laugh". There's a whole list of medical reasons for having a good laugh. Despite which, I've never been able to gain sponsorship from the local Krankenkasse (Health insurance) for my gigs.
But the main point is, that if a comedian has a responsibility to their audience, then that responsibility is not just to make people laugh, but to be really good. Not just a little giggle good, but screamingly, uproarously tib-ticklingly, side-splittingly, laugh-so-much-you-nearly-lose-consciousness-for-not-breathing funny. (It's no coincidence that both the Beatles and Brian Wilson decided to write "funny" songs instead of love songs. "Drive My Car" is indeed a joke song, as is "Norwegian Wood". Not so much "All You Need Is Love" more Laughter)
Because you NEED laughter like that. Laughter makes things better. Laughter is the enemy of hate and anger - why do you think Hitler got rid of comedians? Because any government based on fear and hate can be ridiculed to death.
There's any number of hack comedians out there who are so-so, because they're in it for the money or groupies or whatever. Just occasionally you'll find a comedian who is in there because they realised the healing power of laughter. These are the ones with the original viewpoints, who can be called a genius in the true sense - a source of originality. These are the ones who, to quote Dylan Thomas, "Rage against the Dying of the Light". (Oops, getting a bit pretentious there.. Better stop before I start quoting Beckett.)
Unfortunately, they're also the ones around whom the darkness gathers, and tries to stifle.