Me V Audience
Me: Anything else?
Audience: Nah that’s all.
Me: Don’t want a storyline or anything?
Audience: Um. No. Oh…maybe.
Me: Just a little one?
Audience: Well, not necessarily, maybe just like, repeat something in the middle and at the end.
Me: Oh yeah, (writing down) call backs.
Audience: Yeah, it doesn’t have to be much.
Me: (writing down) …will seem more clever than I actually am…
Me: Nothing. Right, so no pathos then?
Audience: Nah, just jokes and call backs.
Me: Ok. Multi-media?
Me: Audience participation?
Audience: God no.
Me: Character shit?
Audience: Does it have jokes?
Me: Possibly, providing it doesn’t compromise my theatrical motives as deep down I’m a frustrated actor.
Audience: Perhaps not then.
Audience: Are they you doing twenty different ones over the same four chords?
Audience: Don’t worry about it.
Me: I rhyme shits with tits.
Audience: Sure, maybe a couple.
Me: Um, what else, are you sure you don’t want complex tech-heavy interactive stuff, me talking to myself in the future via a pre-filmed webcam? What about a series of letters from a famous celebrity that’s just my mate doing a Mr T impression with reverb?
Audience: Again, actual jokes will be more than enough.
Me: (writing down) Just jokes…
Audience: Actual jokes.
Me: Are you sure?
Audience: YES! Now go, I’m trying to watch two and a half men.
Me; I hate that show.
Audience: At least it’s got jokes.
Audience: What? What’s your problem?
Me: I dunno, I just thought you’d want more from your comedy.
Audience: More than jokes? What else is there?
Me: You know, a good comedy show should challenge your idea of mainstream ideology, it should reflect your world in a refreshing yet thought provoking way, it should make you laugh but also make you cry.
Audience: Sounds awful. That’s what work is for. Listen dude, you have no idea what it’s like for us do you?
Me: What do you mean?
Audience: Have you ever been in the audience?
Audience: Of your own show?
Me: Well, no.
Audience: Then seriously, think twice. Can you imagine what it’s like to go to a job you don’t particularly like five days a week so you can afford skyrocketing rent and mortgage payments and put petrol in the car so you can go down to the beach with your kids on the weekend fulfilling the psychological models of satisfaction created by your parents. Can you begin to imagine how many times I’ve put my own welfare and happiness second to those of my bosses, children and friends due to the passive aggressive martyrdom carer status I cling to, a muddled manifestation of self loathing and arrogance. Do you have any idea how mentally draining that is?
Audience: Then think about the magnificent symmetry required to wade through the comedy festival book and find a show that will suit the polarised tastes of myself and my partner, secure a babysitter, fight the brain sizzling frustration of peak hour traffic, settle on a restaurant and fluke the timing to ensure plenty of time to find the venue for an evening show. By this point, just how much challenging do you reckon we need?
Me: Um, I don’t know, not heaps?
Audience: Amid the thicket of internal frenzy, toiletry aches and the pungent steam of modest air conditioning, how sweet do you imagine the sound of a well conceived, structurally sound, masterfully delivered joke?
Audience: And how often, pray tell, do we, the paying public, get this, consistently, over the hour?
Me: It’s not easy.
Audience: No, making us laugh for an hour isn’t easy. It’s a real…
Audience: It’s a real…say it….
Audience: YES! It’s a challenge, for the performer to write a series of jokes. Actual jokes. Fresh, clever, unexpected jokes. Jokes that makes you piss your pants like you did in high school when you first heard the one about ‘what’s brown and sticky?’
Me: A stick.
Audience: Damn right. A stick. Comedy is surprise my friend and I’ve seen plenty of professional comedians in my time, yet there’s never been a greater surprise than that punchline delivered with a Milo eating grin, by my best friend in the school dunnies all those years ago.
Audience: Sorry to rant at you about my frustrations with the world, I just thought you might, y’know, (laughs) like to see how it feels.
Me: Yeah, okay. God it’s good to hear you laugh.
Audience: I mean, what exactly is your aversion to jokes?
Me: I just think, you know, too many of them can be a bit…
Me: A bit, I dunno (holds up fingers as inverted commas) comedy 101.
Audience: And what does that mean?
Me: It’s just a bit predictable and easy. I mean, it’s a comedy show, so of course people are already expecting jokes.
Audience: And this is a problem how?
Me: I think a few jokes are okay, but I also think that a comedy show can be about skilled writing, acting, vocal performance and music with lashings of political and philosophical overtones.
Audience: So if comedy is about surprise, the surprise you offer is that you aren’t going to be that funny.
Me: Not exactly, but there is an element of…
Audience: May I ask, have you heard of the Melbourne Fringe Festival?
Me: Okay! There’s no need to be cruel.
Audience: I’m the AUDIENCE, you know how it works – individually we’re sweet, intelligent souls, but collectively we’re a malicious bunch of tactless oafs.
Me: I’m not sure why I let you move in.
Audience: You need us. Now, off you go. When you get back I’ll make apple crumble.