For this project we were given the options to work alone or with others in creating either a stand-up performance, a video, or a slideshow for our comedy presentations. What I valued most about this project was that we needed to fight our inner embarrassed selfs in order to have fun with this project. This was a big step for me and others because something that is typically so nerve-racking was a lot easier to do with the surrounding community of Freestylers who showed their support to each other during the presentations.
The Humorist Study:
The two comedians I am studying are Bill Burr and Ali Wong. Burr’s comedy has a very clear point of view and he has a mischievous and wicked sense of humor, as does Wong. They both like to execute self-deprecating humor which I personally like the best because it’s easy to joke about yourself and it’s inoffensive to others. They also both use a structure, but disguise it. Bill usually sets up a dilemma in the beginning of his act and follows it with recognition, incongruity, and simple truth. Wong also follows this structure, and her brutally honest personality about past mistakes and embarrassing traits earns her big laughs. Her netflix special Baby Cobra demonstrates that having the comedy in a narrative form holds a lot more comedic value and is a lot funnier than just setting up a joke, spiking the punchline, and moving on. Burr’s deployment of anecdote and recountment of common experience as social critique, basically shit-talking, is relatable. Analyzing one of his performances, I found that the structure Burr follows is quite simple. For example, to start this performance he says, “I’m afraid to get married, man.” This is Burr setting up a dilemma that’s very relatable. Next, “What man wouldn’t be afraid to get married at this point? Look at Kobe. Look at the shit he’s going through right now.” This is where Burr recognizes Kobe as someone to empathize with, and it makes the audience laugh because of the reality of Kobe’s situation and how Burr feels like he can relate to him. Lastly, “Guys gettin a divorce: his wife is gonna get seventy million bucks, never hit a layup in her life.” This earns a big laugh from the audience because Burr not only recognizes Kobe’s situation and makes the audience picture Kobe’s wife in a lakers uniform (recognition and incongruity) but also states a simple truth; the fact that she’s gonna get so much money by divorcing the basketball star. Similar to Wong, Bill Burr uses his relentless truth to make the audience laugh, no matter how outlandish it sounds, it resonates with what people are actually thinking despite how socially abhorrent it might be. Ali Wong presents her audience with the same sorts of dilemmas, surrounding mistakes shes made in her life and her disgraceful and vulgar sense of humor. I feel that both of these comedians exemplify my favorite type of joke-teller; one that takes their own insecurities and can confidently put themselves down. I feel like this is the best humor because not only is there no risk of offending other people, but some of the funniest and most ironic jokes stem from one’s own perception of themself.
Considering what I want to create for my own project, I feel like the self-made dilemmas and self-scrutiny will be the easiest-flowing material I can get. I’m not quite sure yet if I want to use the blue humor that Ali Wong so proudly displays, because I don’t know how comfortable I am yet with telling mature jokes. I do, however, want to create a skit out of my performance. I want to be able to tell a story that has a narrative format, but I want to intertwine various comedic techniques that the two comedians I’ve studied display. I think I’ll talk about young love and high school relationships because I feel that it’s such a common happening in all of our lives that a lot of people write off as stupid or unimportant. I want to play on that by explaining how serious these relationships are by making various jokes that try to prove my points, but still prove that they’re unimportant and not at all serious. I think I definitely want to use a little bit of foul language, mostly because I feel like it will add to the ridiculousness of my performance. My performance is going to be a recorded skit with a few actors, and I haven’t fully decided on whether or not it will be narrated by me or the actors will just act out the performance without any narration. The premise of my script will be about two freshmen students, a boy and girl who are in a “committed” relationship. The story follows them through a movie date where the both of them are nervous to be intimate with each other, and I’m thinking of getting narration from both actors to show what they’re thinking despite what their acting towards the other person. I want to use young actors in high school because I want to exaggerate the stupidity and simplicity of how high schoolers are supposed to act, versus how they act in order to try and be in a serious, committed relationship. I’d like it to be staged like a movie date, where the two teenagers are sitting next to each other on a couch. I think it would be funny to have the boy attempt to get closer to the girl but to have the narrations explain his overthinking and hesitancy. I don’t know if I’ll tackle the blue humor like Ali Wong because I would be dealing with younger students, but I’d like to add somewhat mild blue humor to depict the reality of high school relationships, which involves sexual behavior/thoughts as well as certain stigmas.
This is the video I created for this English project: