Comedy - Barnstormers
Aaron Allston summed up the difference between tragedy and
comedy pretty succinctly. ‘Tragedy is something awful
happening to someone else, while comedy is something awful
happening to someone else.’ Mel Brooks put it more Mel
Brooks-ily. ‘Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy
is when you fall into a sewer and die’. Steve Martin
called comedy ‘the art of making people laugh, without
making them puke’. Dario Fo phrased it rather more intellectually.
‘Comedy makes the subversion of the existing state of
affairs possible.’ Carol Burnett had it down as this
‘Comedy is tragedy plus time,’ which we, frankly,
don’t get. Paul Lynde, rather prosaically, put it like
this. “Comedy is exaggerated realism. It can be stretched
to the almost ludicrous, but it must be believable.’
Warren Mitchell said ‘comedy comes from conflict, from
hatred.’ Was he racist, or just portraying racism?
Comedy is notoriously difficult to write well, let alone to
write about well, so we’ve tried to let others do it
for us. There are four comedians appearing at the Royal Oak
tonight. All of them are professional, all of them make their
living making people laugh. Gordon Southern is the most famous,
a veteran of TV and radio. Tommy Campbell lets you into his
maladroit love life. John Torrens is breaking into the scene.
Kevin Precious is a seasoned compere. If you are in the right
mood, and they do the job well, they will make you laugh.
If they do their job really well, they’ll make you cry
a little too. As Peter Ustinov puts it, “comedy is simply
a funny way of being serious.” DL