Monday, April 21, 2008

Who's Funny?

I've been listening to a lot of stand-ups for the past couple years, from the big ones (Dane Cook) to the little ones (Aziz Ansari) and I've got to say... I think I've got it down. I think I could replicate the sounds well enough to be a stand up stand-up. Hmm... well with material like that I may have to stay sitting. Gawd, I'm funny.

Not really, but I thought that would be a decent enough intro to my "Who's Funny?" blog article. So here we go...

WHO'S FUNNY?

Aziz Ansari is easily the best part of anything he's in. You can search for "Human Giant" or Aziz Ansari on YouTube and come up with such hilarious videos as "Rollerblading" or "Escalating Interview". All of these and more. He has such a perfect professional delivery. That's important to me. When you listen to a lot of stand-up, you begin to get a sense for the craft itself. Each comic has their own style of a) material and b) delivery. Some comedians have the same material but gigantically different delivery.

Mitch Fatel, who's weird-lookin', has an extremely unique delivery that pretty much sells anything he says. His material is... funny, but often runs around in circles. Practically every joke he tells revolves around sex. That's funny. I mean I laugh a lot, but until he gets more diverse, I ain't gonna call him best stand-up ever. His delivery is this lisp-y quiet and whisper-y creepy voice. He makes himself sound like a child discovering things for the first time. This is a definite case of "persona" however, as the "real" Mitch Fatel talks normally and is very aware of delivery. Every breath seems controlled and scripted. So Fatel loses points for making it less organic, but the professional delivery makes him funny.

I love David Cross. His material and his style couldn't be any more different than Mitch Fatel, but they both have that same professional atmosphere going. Cross has definite scripted bits ("squagels") but he sounds like he's just talking with people. He also has that specific voice that makes imitations (not impressions) and faux-serious tones work very well.

In the same world, Michael Ian Black is also funny. He has this great lackadaisical style, where it's like he's in a house party with ten other people as opposed to a stand-up comedian on stage. That's also important. If I wanted to feel like I was in an audience, I'd go to my local comedy club on amateur night.

I think that Demetri Martin is the current undisputed king of the one-liner. Not only is the only liner super funny, but it's also complex enough that sometimes you need that one second pause to let it sink in. His attempts at multi-media stand-up is sort of not working very well (you're a terrible singer, Demetri), but its ambition makes me appreciate it.

WHO'S NOT FUNNY?

I'm tired of Dane Cook. First of all, his material just ain't strong enough. He makes fairly obvious observations on every day situations and then makes comparisons or uses exaggerations to make the observation into a constructed joke. This isn't a new thing nor is it the worst thing. You can make stupid observations with a twist or a simile, that's fine, but your twist or your delivery of the joke has to be pretty f*%&ing awesome. Dane Cook is not. His delivery is simply yelling, or using sound effects or referring to a previous joke. It was funny the first couple of times, but now it's just annoying. References to late 80's nerd culture and using video game sound effect a joke does not make.

Oh, Nick Swardson. I had such high hopes for this guy. I thought that he was the funniest bit in anything I'd seen him in, and I was jazzed for his CD. Well, it's called "Party" and it's pretty much the most terrible comedy CD I've ever heard. Every joke has the same set-up and the same punchline, and he uses the words "gay", "dude", "party", and "f*%&" all the f*%&ing time. And commenting on the overuse in the act doesn't make it okay. Adults should know that acknowledging the poor behaviour does not mean correcting the behaviour. Swardson tells stupid stories about getting really drunk or really high. And that's about it. I like drunk stories. They're funny. But a whole CD of them? Imagine that guy at work, who every day starts every conversation with "Man, I got so wasted last night..." etc and f*%&ing et cetera. That's Nick Swardson. I really wanted to like the CD, but it wasn't funny. It just wasn't funny.

And to all you comedians who google yourself, and have found my blog:
Aziz Ansari is a f*%&ing badass.

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