Sunday, April 5, 2015

COMEDY ARTIST RANT #1: AGAINST JEANS

I for one like to straddle the twin horses of theatre and comedy. I have no idea why those two disciplines have been so separate lately; or rather, who decided that comedy training was all about writing jokes and not about physicality, presence, use of space? 

Comedy was always what I was most attracted to, although I had a lot of acting and physical theatre training. And when I left the bubble of academia, and went out into the grownup world of comedy, I noticed something very weird. People were performing IN JEANS.

Jeans mean something to me, and I for one dont like what they mean. Jeans mean, Dont pay attention to my body, because its casual Friday, man. Jeans mean, I just rolled off the couch and am here to entertain you, dude. Jeans mean, There is no difference between my eating-a-taco uniform and my performance uniform. I might as well be eating a goddamn taco up here. Jeans mean, Fuck you, audience, fuck you, fellow performers, fuck all yall. I dont give a good goddamn shit-fuck. THAT IS WHAT JEANS MEAN.

DONT WEAR GODDAMN FUCKING JEANS WHEN YOU PERFORM, YOU SHIT-FUCK.

Go ahead and argue with me! Comedy is like rocknroll, Deanna! youll say. Comedy is supposed to be rebellious and dont-give-a-shit-y! Comedy is cool, and cool people wear jeans!It makes perfect sense for Chrissie Hynde to wear jeans. Know why? Because she is playing a guitar and singing. Her instruments of entertainment involve her mouth, hands and arms. She can shake a leg and/or tap a foot, but she doesnt need to communicate anything with that leg/foot besides Im Chrissie Fucking Hynde.Chrissie Fucking Hynde is not about to wear gloves or a surgical mask when she performs, because those would prevent her from effectively communicating with the instruments of her art form.

When you wear jeans or dresses or heels or any clothing that is restrictive and/or bulky, you limit the creative potential of your greatest instrument, the one everyone is looking at. And while we may think you look cute or cool, we will not believe that you are a shape-shifting comedy juggernaut who can make magical imaginative worlds blossom in front of our delighted faces.
Dressing upwhen performing could be okay, but less so for ladies in dresses, unless theyve got underwear that they dont mind showing, and womens underwear on stage is a whole other blog entry. Burn Manhattan, my improv gurus back in the late-90s New York, used to improvise in suits and ties. That worked…and those were some sweaty-ass suits and ties at the end of an hour.

Clothing one plans to sweat inis generally a good rule of thumb when performing in the comedy arts.

I dont care what your body type is, if you do not approach your comedy as an athletic activity, you are missing out on the good stuff. Any type of body can give an amazing, physical performance. But not if youre constricted by your own goddamn clothes.

Do comedians have an inferiority complex? Are the Comedy Arts taken less seriously than the Other Performative Arts, hence the ubiquity of jeans? Chris Rock once called comedy the lowest medium in all of show business, in levels of respect. What is that? FUCK ALL THAT FUCKING SHIT.

Take your comedy seriously. It is our weapon, our instrument. It is what we use to synthesize and criticize and reflect our world. So let us wear neutral, flexible clothing. Let us be ninjas, clad only in our comedy skin. Dangerous, versatile, ready. Animals making loony music in the night.


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