… yeah, we’re not going to be covering it.
It’s fairly obvious from the content of this blog that live comedy is not our thing. Then again, we shouldn’t assume that anything here is “fairly obvious”: it’s also fairly obvious that this blog is written by a team of people (we’ve even had guest posters), and yet we occasionally hear about one comedian or another convinced they’ve tracked down the singular “person” behind this blog. So, in the spirit of spelling everything out, here goes: we’re not all that interested in live comedy.
Sure, maybe we should be. Lord knows we get enough people telling us about this or that great stand-up (or YouTube comedian) we really need to take a look at if we’re going to take the real pulse of Australian comedy. But we have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to comedy coverage – no, we’re not going to drive three hours to check out your open-mic night – and our line is this: once you get on television, that’s when we’ll take a look.
To be honest, we’re not even all that excited about filmed stand-up sets broadcast on television. Stand-up is a live act designed to be performed in front of a crowd that is reacting to it: filming it for broadcast is a great way to record material that might otherwise be lost, but it certainly loses something in the translation. Some comedians figure out ways to make up for that loss: when we start getting the Australian equivalent of Louie or Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, give us a ring.
This is in no way a dismissal of all the good work going on out there in stand-up land. It’s just acknowledging the fact that stand-up comedy is largely a niche act for a niche audience. As one of the things we self-important wanker types at Team Tumbleweeds are interested in is comedy’s place in Australian culture – that’s why we crap on about reviewers so much, as in some ways those guys are trying to nail down where a comedian fits in our culture (Chris Lilley is hilarious and exposes fault-lines in Australian culture; Shaun Micallef is a little too “smart” for mainstream acceptance; Andrew Denton is a genius; Dave Hughes is a knockabout everyman; you get the idea) – and stand-up’s place is way out on the fringe.
Of course, the fringe is a good place to be if you want to try out new and different stuff. Again, because this entire post is about making ourselves clear so we don’t spend the next few weeks fending off questions about our lack of MICF coverage as if we’re the only blog in Australia dealing with comedy, we’re not having a go at stand-up. Covering it is just not what we do.
Now, slagging off dodgy comedy gala reviews (“slightly un-PC” – Jesus wept) – that’s another story.