Tears are streaming down my face, Ive just watched the video of Dame Edna Everage’s interview with Martin Sheen , it features one of those moments when something unexpected and wondrous happens. Comic genius unleashed because the performer has immersed themselves in the character. It is the character that informs Barry Humphries’ (Edna’s alter ego) decision to make a bold and really unacceptable response to a crowd reaction. Then a strange thought struck me – how must Barry Humphries feel? He knows hes done something extraordinary – Martin Sheen is laughing hard.
Mister Humphries actually applies the rule of threes in reverse. The rule of threes states that you can repeat a gag three times with the goal of the laughter increasing (twice works fine; four doesn’t, its a universal mystery). In this case Barry Humphries actually settles the audience with two funny but less humourous quips to redirect the conversation – notice after the “higher learning” comment he redirects the conversation with a question that introduces a new topic, keeping the conversational tone rolling along , quite masterful.
What is the motivation for the comedian? At that magical moment they wield a tremendously potent power over the audience and in this case the interviewee yet they also share in the rapture of the moment. So which is it? The power or the rapture? It doesn’t matter much, but it’s an interesting question.
Ive been writing so much comedy stuff at the moment I’m really contemplating giving stand-up a go – its one of my great fears and something I really ought to tackle. It’s not as though I haven’t died onstage before, every performer has. Its the isolation of doing stand-up that is terrifying; being out there on your own, sink or swim, nobody is going to save you if youre drowning. I’m not committing to this but I think the chances are very good that I’m going to try it at an open mic in Seattle maybe? I’ve put myself down on paper now so I’m half way there. I’ll let you know how I go, I might even get somebody else who is present to write that post , its good to get a third-party’s response.
Im starting a new audience building campaign for The Bloke Show which I will let you know more about in the coming days… right now its 4:37am and I cant keep my eyes open.
Oh gawd heres another wonderful Dame Edna put down – just for the hell of it. You cant get much more succinct than “wha?”
I’ve added to this post twice now – I just cant help it – another lesson from The Dame push those boundaries – this one is completely and marvelously tasteless.