Comedian’s disclaimer

People tend to think it’s an easy job – maybe because of the laughter, or because we have a proclivity to perceive other’s activities as insignificant or even irrelevant. But actually, it’s anything but easy. As the belief goes, standing in front of an audience and “making them laugh”, is something that almost anybody could do, if that anybody put some bit of effort into it. However, there are few of us doing it successfully – not just mumbling trite obscenities or stupidities before a silence as tight as a doll’s ass or the grotesque laugh of idiocy.

Not an easy job, I assure you. A job that, by the way, entails a tiresome work of research, and selection of material – which involves a painstaking process of trial-and-error – to be translated into something communicable through humor (as good a vehicle as any other) that ultimately will appeal to the intellect of the listener, to shared knowledge, to a common idiosyncrasy that elicits not only laughter, but a deeper exegesis of reality. This is what, ultimately grants the audience’s loyalty to a certain performer – who, at this point it can be said, is much more that that demeaning designation of “standup comedian”; who is, instead, a sharp analyst and interpreter of reality, by identifying and penetrating more insightfully and deeply into the heart of our more persistent habits: miseries, weaknesses, prejudices, innocence. The product of this observation is timeless.

Laughter is, if you want, the easiest part of it all; even a byproduct of it: the reaction to the particular way of presenting reality; the emotional refuge to the brutality that every truth burst through the seams of everyday life – since it doesn’t admit anything but acquiescence. All in all, laugh is a way of stating something besides utter silence, a mechanism to have something like the “last word”, or at least, the last sound. We are also happy to believe such a reaction – noise and spasm, that is – liberates or disassociates us from the truths being pronounced. I do it myself when watching some of my colleagues. Can’t avoid it. What’s one more self-delusion after all?

After the final applause, and once in the dressing-room, the sweating drying and leaving its unmistakable stains in my shirt, the mercilessness of the mirror returning me to my human stature, I dare to wish that some day people would hear what I say in an interested, thoughtful, critical and respectful silence, while they regurgitate their awful offensive laughter at what politicians and experts say. And, of course, demand some very different kind of leaders. Who knows, maybe even comedians like me, I think while the make up in my face looks like a personality melting.

© Marcelo Wio

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