Thursday, July 21, 2011

some fun arts on the streets, and how not to be funny.

A couple days ago we trekked over to visit Lizzie in Brooklyn, where all the hip artsy folks live. She invited us to a free comedy show in Bedford so we were all like, free? um yeah okay. Since the show got out late and it's a long trip home that we had already done twice late at night, we decided to sleep over at Lizzie's.

Here's a couple snapshots of the evening and following morning.

(Top and Trousers: forever 21. Shoes: thrifted)

it's fun going to visit Lizzie because we can see our borough's skyline from her borough.....and ours is more famous.

I've never understood why this happens, but it made a great photo..

unfortunately I think that shadow makes it hard to read the pun on this stencil. "it socks to be lonely." the wall is covered in abandoned socks without their pairs that were found along the street.

Tide sculpture.

The comedy show was pretty disappointing, but it was free and we were hanging out with friends so it was still a nice night. The opening host dude had really great humour and timing, and almost every single thing he said made me laugh, but it was all downhill from there.
The last act was this guy and girl pair, and as soon as they got up and started talking I thought....Okay, for some reason most female comedians or performers I've seen end up being not that funny because of either lots of forced sex jokes or lots of spaz. I was in the comedy improv troupe in high school, and I've been to a lot of other shows since, and one thing I've noticed is that a lot of times female comedians tend to act really overly spazzy on stage (loud=funny?) or they tend to get really crass (vulgar=funny?), and there isn't much in between.
It feels like there is an annoying overcompensation thing going on for not being male and having some unwritten license to be innately funny..... and to prove themselves on par they have to show that they can be just as loud, just as crazy, and just as comfortable with sex. What comes across as a result though, is just an annoyingly spastic person who can't stop talking about body parts really loudly, to the detriment of clever humour.
I've also had a lot of gay guy friends in my time being involved in theatre and comedy and film and whatnot, and a trend I've noticed there, is that for some reason it's way more 'cool' and 'funny' and generally accepted for a gay guy to constantly joke about vaginas and penises and uncomfortable sex subjects than any other type of person. A straight guy would be looked at as straight up creepy, and the average girl, gross, but with gay guys it seems, I don't know, more innocuous? The whole thing kind of becomes a running joke. It becomes almost a character trait even.
I am not trying to say that every Girl Comedian yells and grunts about sex and that every Gay Dude Comedian lisps about about it for entire sketches. I'm well aware there are varying dynamics and nuances out there. I also don't consider myself a prude. I'm not really easily offended by material, and I'm open to different types of humour. As soon as this pair came up though, I did begin to brace myself for the stereotypical performance, and it was delivered to a T.
The improved material remained on sex, gay sex, straight sex, genitals, female masturbation, STD's, and yeast infections the entire act. I could be out in left field here, but at least to me, that is not funny. It isn't clever. It doesn't take any skill or finesse to bring up dodgy material to get uncomfortable laughs from the audience. It feels like a cheap shot and a waste of my time, and I'm really really glad I didn't have to pay for it.
In college I did some readings on the theory of laughter for a Monty Python class, and one essay I read categorized the different reasons why we laugh. I wish I could remember details, but there were only about three broad categories, which I found interesting. He talked about superiority, incongruity, and relief as being the three most prominent theories behind the laughing impulse, and I think that uncomfortable laughter, or laughter that is an outlet to release tension is the category that enveloped this performance I witnessed. It feels like something that less witty comedians tend to prey on when they have a captive audience, because all they have to do is say something that is socially taboo and people will respond with laughter, albeit of the uncomfortable, tension- release breed.
All I'm trying to say is this is NEW YORK people, one of the culture capitols of the world! One of the biggest art hubs! A place where standards of excellence are higher....or maybe just everything is more expensive. This comedy show we went to was rated one of the best comedy clubs in New York. And yet, it left quite a bit wanting in the quality department.


  1. "Okay, for some reason most female comedians or performers I've seen end up being not that funny because of either lots of forced sex jokes or lots of spaz."

    Totally. I have the same feeling of dread when I see a female comic approach the stage and then guilt because of it (but it usually does bear out). Straight dudes also have that callous-uber-alles persona as well, which sucks, too.

    Most free comics nights kind of suck in one way or another. I really wanted to like Invite Them Up bc of Kristen Schaal but the one night I went, it was painful. Not because of her, though!

    There are good female comedians out there - just few and far between!

  2. I am visiting New York in a week or so these pictures have gotten me very excited for my upcoming adventure. And in regard to the comedy show, it's disappointing that it wasn't all that good. I agree that gender norms are prevalent in comedy, and to surpass these standards some women may make jokes centered around sex/being excessively loud. I think this speaks to the pressure within "the boys club" of comedy, where male-comedians often make jokes that degrade women/minorities. I wish this would change! Tine Fey wrote about some of this in her autobiography.

  3. It's a shame that girl comedians end up being like that most of the time...makes the rest of us look bad!
    On a happier note, the photo of you two holding hands is completely adorable. And I love those pants!

  4. ok you/your blog are ADORABLE!!

    and i tear up every time i even THINK about graduating...i'm sure once i actually get to my convocation i'll be sobbing.

  5. Interesting take on humor. This is almost related to what you've been saying, but even the humor in kid/preteen shows these days is not that funny to me anymore, compared to the shows I watched as a kid. I feel that people are being less original and more cliched with their humor. I like humor that is clever, quick, and witty...stuff that make you think. But yeah....I love that "It socks to be lonely" photo. So cute.

  6. your f21 trousers are adorable!! that is a bummer about the show but you can't win all of the time. i have yet to see a live comedy show that really got me laughing. maybe i just don't like stand up....only time will tell.

  7. I agree about the female's like their humour often hinges on being self-depreciating. It's as though they don't have full confidence in being able to make you laugh with them so they try and get you to laugh at them instead.
    Also, maybe this is just in Ireland, but I've heard the shoes tied together and slung over a telephone wire is supposed to mean there's a drug dealer in the 'hood :)
    Love your outfit, blog and overall sense of style!

  8. what great snaps! ya - most female comedians I've seen (not that many) seem to be over vulgar and shouty too - not funny!


  9. It was interesting for me to read about the reasons why people laugh!
    You know, even here in Italy female comedians seem to talk only about sex and/or everyday life with a man.
    Anyways great photos, the photo of the shoes hanging made me think about Big Fish, one of my favourite movies.
    I also like your outfit! Those pants are incredibily pretty.

  10. I love that "it socks to be lonely picture! I'm coming to NYC in August and I'd love to get to know the city before I go. I don't want to miss a thing! I'm going to look a bit moer at your other posts now ^^ x

  11. I haven't seen too many comedy shows but female comedians tend to be similar. It's good you had a nice night with friends.

  12. I LOVE this post! the snapshots are so great. you are so gorgeous girl!