: Andrew George
As Kyle Kinane says in his hour special for Comedy Central, Whiskey Icarus, “I want comedy to be taken as an art form, I feel like I put just as much heart and blood, sweat and tears into this as any musician or any sculptor, and I want it to be appreciated as such.” Kyle then continues by saying, “I was once in a van and told my friends that my farts felt like contractions for my turd baby”, which prompts him to say, “And that’s why I’m not an artist.” That is where the joke ends in a big laugh, and where viewers everywhere start to understand that comedy really is a legitimate art form.
One of the most common stereotypes of standup comedians is that they do comedy because they simply cannot do anything else, or as the overused joke says, “I became a comedian because I screwed up one too many job interviews.” This is no longer the case at all. Modern day comedians have put a great deal of work into shattering the misconception that standups are essentially just clowns looking for the cheap laugh. Comedians WANT to do comedy because they respect it as an art.
Many of today’s top performers come from well off families, have a wide set of employable skills, and would be able to succeed in almost anything they attempted, because if comedians have one thing, it’s determination. Plus, a huge part of it is that many comedians have the mentality that if they don’t like something, they are not motivated to pursue it. Eugene Mirman spent his entire high school life in remedial classes because he was bored with the work and just wouldn’t do it, which made his teachers all think he was a little bit slow. Once he found his true passion in standup, he continued to graduate from college, where he got a degree in comedy, which you can totally do apparently.
A certain level of intelligence is required in order to be a standup comedian. In order to create, craft, and alter jokes in an artistic way that an audience can find funny, you have to be able to make connections and observations that the average person would not be able to come up with, and then you have to be able to express those ideas in a manner that is conducive to laughter. Before Conan O’Brien became the super comedian that he is today, he was in the top of his class at Harvard. When asked why he chose the school on The WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, Conan said that the thing that attracted him to school was knowing that he would have a chance to be a writer for The Harvard Lampoon, which he then went on to be the editor in chief of for two years.
Stand up comedy survives on the principle of individuals being able to recreate experiences for their audience, whether it is something that a group can relate to, or that they can briefly take part in through the story telling abilities of another. In the same way than an artist makes a thought provoking paining or a musician can conjure emotions with a song, comedians can make strangers euphoric happiness through their sometimes twisted and altered outlook on life.
We at Mad House pride ourselves in showcasing how comedy truly is a form of art. In every form of the definition, comedians are creators. They use their nontraditional thought processes as a way to make everyday connections and use their expressive abilities to share their thoughts in a way that provoke emotion in others. That’s why we made the conscious choice to showcase the art that is happening on stage in a way that yields the best experience for everyone involved.