Believe it or not… There’s more to comedy than just Stand-Up
Somethings… to think about.
By Steven Grabo
Believe it or not… There’s more to comedy than just Stand-up.
One may say… “Sure! I know… Um, duh!” But when you start talking to them, they seem to always revert to the single person standing alone on a stage telling jokes about what they’ve experienced… or rephrasing jokes they’ve heard or read from others.
What most don’t realize is that comedy has it’s own set of Genre’s. Even every music store listed on the Planet, don’t seem to get it… As they have Comedy listed under the classification of “Spoken Word”. Then, and only then, can an artist use drop down menus to choose from the various sub genre’s, like; Comedy, Poetry, Spoken Word (yes, it’s mentioned twice), Song Parody, Sketch, etc. And most styles aren’t even a thought of being mentioned!
When first listing our most recent, “Greatest Misses” CD, I got tired of going through hoops like this and just listed it under Pop Music. From there, I gave it a sub genre of comedy. Now-a-days, who really looks at it?… It’s now all a computer algorithm, set on auto-pilot, with the various music streaming sites. No one actually programs your choices anymore…. Unless you’re dealing with actual non profits, or mom & pop stations… Gone are the days of actual Program Directors
Being a former program director, musician, actor, etc… most of these newer factions of delegating what gets played really irks my monkey. But like in Music, comedy has their own set of sub genres. Where Music has genres like Pop, Rap, R&B, Rock, Alternative… Comedy has their own set of genres too. Yet, no one seems to recognize them or acknowledge the difference between them. Although some genres of comedy utilize the same aspects on the delivery of a joke or pun, I found it when speaking to people about this concept, they’ve always reverted back to the Stand-Up philosophy.
With comedy, you have things like: Live Comedy, Stand-Up, Sketch, Improv, Commercial (Or Corporate), Main Stream, Pop Culture, Political, Satire, Political Satire, Parody, Song Parody, the list can go on… And yes, Song Parody is different than parody… as it’s done with music. You may say Duh,.. but there are still some people out there that will be like, “wha…?”.
A good example of Parody would be the State Farm Commercial on TV, where the husband is talking with the State Farm Rep, at 3 am… and the wife comes down the stairs and is like “Who are you talking to!!”… The Parody of that Same commercial was done using the Coneheads! Where a Song parody is pretty self explanatory… but for good examples of song parodies, please feel free to purchase or listen to our “Greatest Misses” CD.
For the Genre of Live Comedy, one could pin-point sub genres like; Stand-up, Improv, Sketch, Dinner Theater, etc… because they are ALL ‘different’ types any styles of comedy. Countless times I’ve spoken with comedy club owners, who’ve “done this” for 25-30-50 years, but when booking a troupe to perform dinner theater, were unsatisfied by the style of comedy. This is mainly because they were not use to a theatrical setting. Or were expecting Saturday Night Live to somehow enter their location… OR… (more likely) Maybe their room was designed for stand-up and they weren’t prepared for a theater troupe taking over the entire room, not just utilizing the dimensions of the stage with a single microphone provided. This happens more frequently than one can imagine. Which is why I’m probably sharing these concerns… Because even those who’ve been in the business for years and years, may still not fully grasp the complexity of performance comedy, even though they may have created their own niche that has done well for them financially.
Imagine… Just for a second, if a comedic booking agency only booked shows in venues that only supported Stand-up. …Oh, wait… Never mind.
Now imagine if a comedic booking agency, contacted various banquets facilities, or golf resorts with banquet facilities, to have a comedic troupe come in and perform theater or improv shows…. I’m not a statistician, but I believe there are more Golf Resort communities across the Country, than there are comedy clubs. This is hardly ever done because… they all have that “Stand-up” mentality.
..And believe me, there are more starving acting comedians than there are starving stand-up comics. I believe established booking agencies could triple their profits if they utilized these facilities and troupes that are already available throughout various communities.
I’ve been asked to do Stand-up many many times, and I have! But when asked on the street if I’m a stand-up comedian, I plainly say “I’m just not a stand-up kinda guy”. Not getting the joke in that, most times they just walk away… looking over their shoulder, checking their pockets… Ok, maybe they did get the joke. I just simply prefer to write and produce things that will last longer than a 15-45 minute set… and, in events like stand-up or improv, once that time is gone… it’s usually gone forever. Poof! Yes, that may have just happened, but unless you kidnap the comedian or an entire cast, you can’t take it home with you if you really liked the show. Which is why I like to produce things that will last.. long after the show is over. It’s “Comedy you can take home”. …and You’re Welcome from Misplaced Comedy.
October 22nd, 2015