Glasgow Comedy Festival

The Last Laugh - Keir McAllister

 

There’s 420 shows in the Glasgow International Comedy Festival this year. That’s 420 times over 18 days where, in the majority of cases,  one single individual will stand in front of a room full of strangers (ok… in some cases - 2 strangers and a dog) and say… 
…Listen to me - I am way more entertaining than anything you could ever say to one other. For the next period of time, that I alone will decide - I will be your sole centre of attention. Don’t talk or look at the people you came with. Look directly and only at me and don’t dare interrupt or I will say vi-cious things about your distinct lack of physical attractiveness, point out everything you’re insecure about and crudely allude to the sexual promiscuity of your mother… And if you don’t seem to be enjoying my company which let’s not forget - you’ve paid for… if you don’t respond to my complete satisfaction - if you do not fulfil my levels of expectations for this hallowed experience that you are so privileged to be a part of… then it will be your fault for not possessing the requisite intelligence to understand how bloody great and entertaining I am and I will tell you so to your face, then walk away to cry and count your money…
Ok they might not use those exact words, but essentially that’s the general subtext. 
There can be no doubt that the desire to be a comedian is a fairly dysfunctional thing to do. It’s also relatively new.  It used to be the case that stand-up wasn’t really a career that you planned your way into… more one that you found yourself in after drinking your way out of whatever it was you were supposed to be doing. There were less well groomed, metro-sexual, genetically modified 20 somethings, sipping smoothies and talking about documentaries on Netflix and far more middle age maelstroms looking like they had just walked out of an explosion in a midlife crisis factory, gulping gin, and talking about how they shat the bed during sex. 
I have to admit to being a traditionalist.  I want my comedian’s to be actively dysfunctional. I want them to have earned the necessary life points before they are allowed to stand up in front of a room full of people (or even 2 strangers and a dog) and proclaim their inherent funniness. There should be some kind of test - have you ever had to drink your own and/or someone else’s piss for bus fare? do you regularly sleep in your and/or someone else’s car? have any of your ex’s partners not attempted to stab you? is your pension a puggie? Those type of questions. 
See my fear is that comics start taking taking themselves seriously. Nobody wants that, in much the same way that we don’t want surgeons to start seeing themselves as experimental artists or MP’s to start considering themselves normal human beings. Surely the role of a comic in society - other than helping to fund Edinburgh every year - is to point out our hilarious delusions of grandeur - to poke at our pomposity - to signpost our collective stupidity - to attack the powerful and generally remind us of how ludicrous and fleeting and petty our very existence is. We shouldn’t take our comics seriously… just like we shouldn’t take police officers sarcastically - which is exactly the kind of experience I want my comics to have had and be able to tell a brilliant anecdote about.
So if you like your comics dysfunctional, come see my play about one called Eddie Butler. It’s called The Last Laugh and other people have quite liked it. It’s got a girl in it who’s very funny - some decent swearing -  a good joke about Michael McIntyre and an awkward sex scene. But re-member it’s a play - not just stand up - you have to take this shit seriously…

There’s 420 shows in the Glasgow International Comedy Festival this year. That’s 420 times over 18 days where, in the majority of cases,  one single individual will stand in front of a room full of strangers (ok… in some cases - 2 strangers and a dog) and say… 


…Listen to me - I am way more entertaining than anything you could ever say to one other. For the next period of time, that I alone will decide - I will be your sole centre of attention. Don’t talk or look at the people you came with. Look directly and only at me and don’t dare interrupt or I will say vi-cious things about your distinct lack of physical attractiveness, point out everything you’re insecure about and crudely allude to the sexual promiscuity of your mother… And if you don’t seem to be enjoying my company which let’s not forget - you’ve paid for… if you don’t respond to my complete satisfaction - if you do not fulfil my levels of expectations for this hallowed experience that you are so privileged to be a part of… then it will be your fault for not possessing the requisite intelligence to understand how bloody great and entertaining I am and I will tell you so to your face, then walk away to cry and count your money…


Ok they might not use those exact words, but essentially that’s the general subtext. 

There can be no doubt that the desire to be a comedian is a fairly dysfunctional thing to do. It’s also relatively new.  It used to be the case that stand-up wasn’t really a career that you planned your way into… more one that you found yourself in after drinking your way out of whatever it was you were supposed to be doing. There were less well groomed, metro-sexual, genetically modified 20 somethings, sipping smoothies and talking about documentaries on Netflix and far more middle age maelstroms looking like they had just walked out of an explosion in a midlife crisis factory, gulping gin, and talking about how they shat the bed during sex. 


I have to admit to being a traditionalist.  I want my comedian’s to be actively dysfunctional. I want them to have earned the necessary life points before they are allowed to stand up in front of a room full of people (or even 2 strangers and a dog) and proclaim their inherent funniness. There should be some kind of test - have you ever had to drink your own and/or someone else’s piss for bus fare? do you regularly sleep in your and/or someone else’s car? have any of your ex’s partners not attempted to stab you? is your pension a puggie? Those type of questions. 


See my fear is that comics start taking taking themselves seriously. Nobody wants that, in much the same way that we don’t want surgeons to start seeing themselves as experimental artists or MP’s to start considering themselves normal human beings. Surely the role of a comic in society - other than helping to fund Edinburgh every year - is to point out our hilarious delusions of grandeur - to poke at our pomposity - to signpost our collective stupidity - to attack the powerful and generally remind us of how ludicrous and fleeting and petty our very existence is. We shouldn’t take our comics seriously… just like we shouldn’t take police officers sarcastically - which is exactly the kind of experience I want my comics to have had and be able to tell a brilliant anecdote about.


So if you like your comics dysfunctional, come see my play about one called Eddie Butler. It’s called The Last Laugh and other people have quite liked it. It’s got a girl in it who’s very funny - some decent swearing -  a good joke about Michael McIntyre and an awkward sex scene. But re-member it’s a play - not just stand up - you have to take this shit seriously…

 

The Last Laugh is on at Cottiers, 24th March, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 and can be purchased here.