Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why I Like Stand Up

Laughter certainly is good for us, and it feels like it. Comedy is often hard to recommend because one person's idea of funny may be totally different from someone else's.

I think that stand up is the highest form of the art because when a person is doing that, they are engaging the audience and entertaining using nothing more than their wits, their voice, and their body language to put on the whole show. They have to be sharp and dancing on that razor's edge or else the audience will know it right away.

The best are always coming up with new material and the ones who show up and simply repeat what they have already released on video will disappoint the audience.

I have also noticed how some who are great at stand up can become stale and boring in sitcom type shows.

And on the other hand, some comedians tear up those sitcoms and crack us up so hard that the audience wants more and we really get to see them cut loose on the road in a stand up role.

I appreciate these performers who can crack us up on laughter using only their wits. I think that is what keeps them sharp. I think that one of the reasons that sitcoms can get boring is that they have these scripts that crawl from the set up to the punch line and sponsors who may want to make sure that none of the jokes are too edgy. Sometimes they depend on the music, the sidekicks, straight men and props to carry the moment which can bury the real comic genius under a blanket of fluff.

Listening to a bit of stand up can lift the spirit and mood of a day pretty quick for me, and then I can always share the good times by retelling the jokes to someone else. What a great way to spice up a day or a conversation.

Ernie Banks & Picasso

When Ernie Banks passed away recently, I had this sudden recall from my youth because when I was growing up, I was an avid Chicago Cubs baseball fan and Ernie was for years, one of the most outstanding players on the team.

Later on, back in the 1970s, I worked for one season as a security guard for the Cubs. And that was a fascinating experience from a whole different angle.

Memory works in strange ways some times, because the incident my memory landed on was this.

Back in the 1960s, Chicago like other cities, was adding art to public places, so of course, going for a big name since they are a big city, they hired Picasso to create an original work of art.

I was at the unveiling, and I remember people in the crowd looking at the Picasso saying "what an ugly piece of shit! What a hunk of junk! We should have put up a statue of Ernie Banks and it would have cost a whole lot less."

There are a lot of us who still agree with that assessment.