Confessions of a Comedy Nerd

Unlike the Treckies or the Whovairans that people who are obcessed with Star Trek or Doctor Who my stream of nerdity doesn’t have an abbreviation. Unlike those who race home to download the latest episode an analyse it; I like to understand the world of stand up comedy.

You can tell if you are a comedy nerd by the following traits:

  1. They know not only who tell the jokes, but also who writes them
  2. They are interested in influences of comics
  3. They are interested in “comic trees” (i.e. Writers of 1 specific show that have branched out)
  4. They consume hour long comedy podcasts in massive quantities

I have been guilty of all these things though outt the last four years in which I have been a consumer of the chuckle. To date I have lost how many shows I have seen in person, however during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2010 – I managed to see 80 shows.

Australians have always had the ‘laugh at ourselves’ persona and observational comedians will pick a topic and examine every element there is, de-constructing it until they find the funny. Australian comedians like Jimeoin and Carl Barron are masters at this type of comedy.

I am only speaking for myself but I may resonate with a lot of fellow comdy nerds when I talk about what happens when we discover someone new. This, for me as happened on at least 5 occasions, and by no coincidence they all evolved from watching the BBC TV show Mock The Week. These are the steps and emotions that happens when I discover a new comedian:

  1. Google their name
  2. Youtube their name
  3. Follow them on twitter
  4. Like their page on facebook
  5. Listen to their podcast (if they have one)
  6. Watch massive ammounts of their material on youtube
  7. Consider sometimes buy and have shipped their DVD
  8. Tell your friends about them
  9. When and IF they come to Australia go see their shows

I guess I like being this type of nerd because I like to laugh, however it is much more then that when you look under the surface. Like many nerds, our chosen passion and wanting to know every little bit of detail about it stems from the sheer joy that it brings us.

For me, comedy helped me discover myself. It helped me become ok with who I am, warts and all. It was because of comedy that I met my two best friends, done a comedy writing course and next year planning to do my first show.

In particular Spicks and Specks host Adam Hills; who because he talked about having a artificial foot helped me overcome my fears of missing limbs (which is ironic as I have a disability as-well). I met him and through knowing him was how I met my best friends. So now we get together for comedy festivals and as well as seeing a lot of shows we go see Adam. Every time we see him, there seems to be a raising the stakes with the level of interaction he has with us during the show.

Now, I am a fan of not just stand up comedy; as there are many genres. One in particular that I love is musical comedy. There is something magical about comedian that is multi-talented in the art of a musical instrument. They are most often catchy and a lot of the time – they become my ear worm. My favourite comics are either are solo musical comedians like, Sammy J and Eddie Perfect; then there are comedy bands that are building up a reputation about being the next rock stars. Some of my favourite comedy bands are The Axis of Awesome and Dead Cat Bounce.

When I did my comedy writing course in 2009 I learnt about the invisible line of comedy from Doug Anthony All Star – Tim Ferguson. He taught me that there are no taboo topics – you can joke about anything, because someone, somewhere will find it funny.

It should be noted that because comedy is not clearly defined that there are in fact some comedians that don’t particularly take my fancy. However I understand that he does appeal to other people, as in some comedians I adore don’t appeal to everyone else in the world. Comedy is subjective and what one person finds funny the other person may not.

All in all; comedy I feel has made me a better, well-rounded person. It has brought out the best in me, and helped me make like of the worst. I have been for the last 4 years a comedy nerd – and I have no intention of kicking the habit any time soon.

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