Hey everyone, Flobo here.
Even though I’ve only been doing comedy for (relatively) a short time, I make it a point to chat up comedians when I’m on a show. Sure there’s that whole networking thing (Hmm, that probably should be a future post) but I really like picking the brain of the performers. You know, find out about their philosophy and all of that.
The main polarizing question I ask usually ends up splitting comics into two camps. The question?
Is comedy an art or a science?
Some say comedy is an art. An extension of live performance, there’s a real finesse to finding ways to engage with an audience. There are some that say comedy is a science. To craft a set, it requires dedication to repetition to get things right. You know, practice makes perfect and all that. I, on the other hand (and judging by the title of this post) have a different answer.
It’s actually my way of saying ‘both’ without it looking like a cop out. You see, pick an athlete any athlete. [When I tell people this story I mention either Kobe Bryant (in his prime), JJ Watt or Landon Donovan.] Leading up to a game, go about their full training routine. They do warm ups, they do drills, they run full simulated games. In short, they prepare themselves to the best of their ability. When they hit the court, the idea is that their training becomes second nature. Of course there are things that athletes have to deal with that even training cannot help complete. Things like a hostile crowd, an exceptionally difficult opponent, injuries or even fatigue. This is where you hear things like “grit,” “sheer will” or “wherewithal.” There’s an underlying heart that rises to the surface and ultimately separates the champions from the also rans.
Comedy (in my opinion) is no different.
You write jokes, tell those jokes to yourself and go to open mic nights to make it as good as possible. (That would be warm ups, personal fitness training, and team training if you’re still with me on the analogy). Then on game day (a show), it’s time to put your game plan (set) into action on the field (stage).
Taking it one step further. While it’s great to have a couple of ace jokes in the hole, it’s important to try new things. Just like how not switching up your routine can “bore” your muscles, it’s also good to keep your “comedy muscle” guessing as well!