Why are there so many bad comedy acts
May 25, 2016 4:37am CST
There is little worse than watching an unfunny comedian, or a laugh-free comedy movie. In nightclubs, lousy comedians can be booed and heckled off stage. The comedy slam and gong show openly encourages audiences to show disapproval, and some comics will find their act is over before they’ve even finished saying hello, let alone uttered a lousy joke. Other bad comedy acts survive, leaving audiences baffled as to how. Mention some popular comics to friends and you’ll see them grimace, swear or crush whatever they are holding in quiet rage. You’ll be hard pressed to find actual fans of some comedians who never seem to be off our TV screens. TV producers have realized that a comedian with a certain level of unpopularity will still be watched and talked about rather than simply forgotten. This helps explain why many current TV talent shows not only show the shortlisted finalists, but also the ‘oh you must be joking for even turning up’ hopeless audition artistes. The no-hopers will go on to haunt clubs and bars for a generation with comperes introducing them as ‘having been seen on TV’. It might have been for five seconds before Simon Cowell and company sent them packing from Britain’s Got Talent, but they got their Warholian fifteen minutes of fame. Arthur Chappell
12 people like this
• Kingston, New Hampshire
25 May 16
You can learn dancing, singing, acting or playing a musical instrument to various degrees of accomplishment. But, comedy has got to be the only thing that can't be taught or learned. It's an instinct, so to speak. You can tell a good comedian by the way they interact socially. They don't have to try; it comes out naturally.You've either got it or you don't.
• United Kingdom
25 May 16
not always the case....comedy can be learnt. Many of the greats were very bad at social interaction .... unless it was on stage ... then it was an act .... learnt and not them being themselves. Also many people think that comedians are funny all the time and not just when they are working ... again , not so ! Some are nothing without a script ( sometimes written by others ).
• Manchester, England
25 May 16
The level of comedy has fallen vastly since the days of Bob Monkhouse or the old sitcoms from the 1960s. Now we get US sitcoms where someone walks in and makes a overly emphasised "Hi" resulting in peals of canned laughter.
• New Zealand
25 May 16
We've had a run of great british comedians on tour here, and my husband and I have indulged ourselves with some date nights. We've had Dawn French, John Cleese and Eric Idle on tour and I've just booked tickets for Michael McIntyre. That's more shows in one year than I've seen in the past 5!
• Cambridge, England
25 May 16
Comedy seems to be the 'in' thing these days. Maybe it's got something to do with Arthur Smith and Radio 4 Extra (or maybe they are just jumping on the band-wagon or maybe I just listen to Radio 4 Extra - because I CAN on DAB radio - too much!) Every so often, R4X has a sort of knock-out competition for comedy acts. It tends to be connected with the two 'comedy festivals' which they seem to sponsor: Edinburgh Fringe and Machynlleth Comedy Festival (both of which have some pretty good acts, on the whole, but with the occasional appalling gig!) I do have to say that it is very hard to beat the real old-time comedy programmes like the Goon Show and anything with John Cleese, Graham Garden or Bill Oddie in it, to mention but a few! I think that it isn't just the jokes (which are execrable) but the way they present them. Very few people today seem to understand that 'comedy' is ALL about timing and personality. If you ain't got the charisma and the ability to interact with yer audience - that is, listen to when they want to laugh and BUILD on it - you are likely to be a failure as a comedian! David Sedaris writes very funny stuff but it is the way he READS it - to an audience - which makes it hilarious because his timing is impeccable. Both he and his audience have a ball because they are together. I imagine that Mark Twain and Charles Dickens (who both did public readings) had very much the same effect.
• Bern, Switzerland
25 May 16
Sometimes l do ask myself,did hey ask anyone they trust to first watch and give them an honest opinion? some are horrible.Thanks to my shyness l dont see me going to perform rubbish and being booed. But as you say,5,10 years from now they will be like,*I`ve even been on TV", trying to impress a stranger for the first time