Ranting through the unexpected

by Matthew Godfrey | 1 September 2014

The stand-up comic has become the pressure relief valve of a subservient society.

“Every revolution was first a thought in one man’s mind; and when the
same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: first series, 1841.

“Every joke was first a thought in one person’s mind; and when that
same joke occurs to another person, it is the key to a great bit.”
Matthew Godfrey, This article: second sentence, 2014.

Comedy is unexpected. Comedy is subjective. Comedy is agonisingly elusive yet brilliantly simple when not thought of. As with clown and improv, comedy comes from having a point of view, committing to the moment, fiercely pursuing an objective and then letting the chips fall where they may. The angrier or more opinionated I get about a subject the more people laugh. The more I get lost in my own character the less contrived the comedy becomes. The more focused one is on attaining a goal or the more impassioned one is about a certain point of view the greater the opportunity there is for comedic magic to occur.

Improvised ranting is the best way I have found to discover these little moments. Be it through the clown working a physical bit or through the stand-up comic recording or writing everything they say, think and feel. Comedy will surprise. It lurks in that dark space between clever and stupid. It comes when least expected and can disappear just as unexpectedly. Some are born with comedy, some achieve comedy and some have comedy thrust upon them.

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