Comedians and Kids
By David Ian
I was sitting at a local comedy shop, enjoying the evening, when The Master of Ceremonies introduced the next comedian as "The New Guy," and I smiled.
I always smile when a new guy is introduced, because I know what is coming.
It's only a matter of time, and there he goes: a joke about his kids.
You can always spot a new comedian in a crowd: they're the ones who talk about their children. Somewhere in their material will be a bit that starts, "I've got three kids at home, and let me tell you …"
He is trying to sell you the idea that his children inspire him to find the humor in all situations.
Don't be fooled. They are not inspired; they are merely trying to get some free therapy by using the audience to get issues off their chest. Why else would someone tell a crowded room full of strangers that Johnny covered the cat with peanut butter?
Stand up comedy is the hardest job on the planet; a close second is running for president on an Independent ticket. Running as an Independent presidential candidate is something that successful people do when they need a little failure in their life. It has a job description that states in part, "Must be able to face ultimate failure and rejection on a large scale, and be thought of as a national loser."
You really have to admire our political system. It contains the two major parties (the "We Who Are Right" party and the "Those That Are Wrong" party) as well as the Independent "I Just Don't Have a Clue" ticket.
Britain's political make-up includes "The Silly Party", which was founded unintentionally by a comedy group called Monty Python. It has made some enthusiastic converts in the political arena, however. The object is to come up with an outlandish get-up, make up the most ridiculous name (usually involving squeaky noises and sounds of bodily functions) and then try to garner votes by virtue of utter silliness.
In essence, it's the same as our Independent Party system here in America. But more honest.
And all started by the comics of Monty Python. Which brings me back to stand-up comics, who have the hardest job on the planet, with just as much opportunity for rejection. But I have figured out why comics attempt this emotional suicide by attempted whimsy.
You see, as our current justice system exists, you can't throttle your kids in public. And despite the efforts of the "We Who Are Right" and "Those That Are Wrong" parties, the government still has a say in what we do in our own homes, so you can't even throttle your kids in the privacy of your own house.
So what to do when you want to throttle your kids and society won't allow you to? You bite the bullet, and go into stand-up comedy. Then you can publicly put your children up to ridicule and feel good about it. And get laughs.
Why else try to do the hardest job on the planet, if not to get away with a little subversion on the side, let off a bit of steam, and get some free therapy in the process. The only side effect might be that your children could grow up to become Independent presidential candidates.
So, "The New Guy" is stressing out on stage. I've seen that look a thousand times before: nobody is laughing. I check my watch, and begin counting down: ten, nine, eight …
"So I've got three teenagers at the house, and let me tell you ..."
Teenagers? Oh dear. This guy needs therapy bad.
David Ian is the Founder and Artistic Director of "Unchained Productions", a Christian theatrical production and resource organization. He is an award-winning playwright and performer, and despite having no kids of his own, he is touring a one-man comedy show entitled "The Replacement Disciple". His website can be found at www.UnchainedProductions.com.
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