Starting a fresh blog is always a daunting task – I’m the same when confronted with a blank, pristine notebook. I never know if I should do an introductory post or just dive right in. The latter, you say? Well alright then, I should probably listen to you after that thing that happened with the thing.
You know the one I mean.
Right, so: comedy.
Now, comedy’s always been something I’ve taken very seriously (yes, I know, I’m the worst sort of person), and it’s something I wish I’d have been able to go into, but being a big blithering stammerer means that a solid six-minute bit would be more like ten and an hour’s set would end sometime during the next ice age, and I just don’t own enough scarves for that. And yes, I know that that didn’t stop Kitson, but the Big D does manage to balance that out by working bloody hard on immaculately structured shows to showcase his extraordinary comedic gift. The closest I have to an extraordinary gift is my surprisingly hard shins, and I don’t imagine that I could stretch that out with an audience for more than twenty minutes.
Half an hour tops.
With that in mind. I’ve decided to get back into writing. This is partly to keep my eye in by making myself post regularly, and partly to spur me into writing some sketches and hopefully the book I’ve been kicking around ideas for for a while. Incidentally, if you see me out and about, feel free to kick me around for a while if you find out that I’ve not been getting on with any of those.
One of the things I always try to do when writing “the funnies” is to keep away from crude jokes, dirty jokes and, to a lesser extent, swearing. I don’t see myself as being “above it” or anything pretentious like that, it’s just that whilst it can be easier to get a laugh with a dick joke or a well placed swear, it’s a cheap laugh and I’d rather try and push myself to get the laugh without resorting to that. The nice side-effect of this approach is that if and when I do decide to drop in a bit of left-field crudity, it has the double impact of the joke itself coupled with the unexpected nature of that joke coming from me.
Twitter is also something I’ve found to be a bit of a godsend when it comes to honing my writing. I’ve always had problems with being a bit of a rambler, and having to constantly pare a line down to 140 characters really helps you see the dead wood that you might otherwise have left in. Brevity is the soul of wit and all that. I’m not so much one for regularly posting joke after joke on there; I find if more useful to look for tweets to reply to to give me something to spark off and it means that I’m constantly scanning for joke opportunities on whatever subject rolls up in my feed.
Whilst I use it as a practice tool, there are some who have taken it to extraordinary places as a medium for comedy. Steve Martin, despite the questionable direction his film career’s gone in the last 20 years, has become a master of the form. His habit of using acronyms and abbreviations in a tweet whilst then explaining what they are short for and the fact that they are being used to save space in that same tweet, is, to me, a perfect bit of comedy. It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s completely silly, and it exploits the medium perfectly.
For now I’ll end here and come back with a more focussed piece in a day or two. Maybe sooner if something grabs me.
I’ll leave you with this: