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Circlet Essay, Work, Stand Up Comedy - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Circlet Essay, Work, Stand Up Comedy [Feb. 7th, 2008|01:30 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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Cecilia adapted a portion of her Master's Thesis into a nifty essay on "The History of Erotic Science Fiction (and How Circlet Press Came to Be)": http://www.circlet.com/?p=67

Today I woke up late, dashed to MYP to cover for Tony for a few hours, loaded hundreds of comics into their subscription folders, then ran off (late) to tutor my student. That was pretty much the day. I ended up eating a sammich (that I'd bought hours earlier) in his apartment, answering questions between bites, so I wouldn't pass out for lack of food. Fortunately, he's mellow and we've become friends. But I still felt unprofessional.

We (my student and I) have been watching episodes from the first season of Seinfeld that he got as a gift for the holidays. He watches episodes on his own, then with me, and I've been explaining the show to him. As as result, I've been doing some analysis of stand-up comedy. (For those who don't know, Jerry Seinfeld plays a stand-up comic in the show and there are bits of his routine before, during, and at the end of each episode, many reflecting the plot of that show.)

  • Some humor lies in taking a familiar situation and bringing the audience along with you while you draw it out to an extreme situation; the ridiculousness brings the funny
  • A lot of humor requires a knowledge of cultural assumptions and stereotypes (like drawing a comparison between a woman wielding her checkbook and an old west gunslinger wielding his gun using a single word - "holster" - and a bit of mime); this requires not only knowledge of gunslinging, but also of the stereotype that women enjoying spending money
  • Some humor is shared empathy, like the frustration you experience standing in line at the bank or the confusion you feel in ambiguous situations with folks of the gender to which you're attracted
Woo-hoo. Exciting, I know.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-02-07 05:32 am (UTC)
Well, not funny to you.

But, much as I hate sitcoms, season one had its moments and Jerry's routines weren't bad. Also, the laughter wasn't canned, so even if I didn't laugh, I could tell which ones his audience considered funny.
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