Laughing Matters | Comedy Festival | Triumph & Disaster
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Laughing Matters


A day in the life of a typical comic....
By Jesse Griffin
(aka Wilson Dixon aka Dad aka Husband)

Wilson Dixon

Firstly, let me begin by saying I'm not a typical comic. For a start, I have a wife and three kids. This differentiates me from 90% of comics (who are all young responsibility-free lazy narcissists with drug and/or alcohol problems) who have no wives or kids.

That is obviously a gross generalisation, but that is what us comics do, we generalise grossly in order to make jokes, even if it is about other comics. Quite a few bad people out there in the world offer gross generalisations to support their own views (I'm talking about racists, sexist people, and neo-liberals) however the difference when comics do it is a) the generalisations are funny b) they are made to make a point and c) they often aren't true (and we don't in any way pretend that they are).

Crazy people like Walt Disney, Hitler, and Donald Trump make those generalisations but never pretend they aren't true. This is a real problem, and also a huge missed chance at  joke making opportunities. Imagine how funny Donald Trump would be if all of his nonsense about banning Muslims from entering America and building a wall along the entire length of the Mexican border and legislating that women that seek abortions should face criminal punishment were actually part of a comedy routine satirising those very politicians and people that hold those kinds of views? Gold.

Having kids requires you to have some amount of responsibility. You can't, for instance, get up at 7am after a massive night out "doing the comedy" and expect to make the school lunches with any degree of success. It's not appropriate to thrust a box of plain water crackers at your 6 year old kid - as well as a $10 note - and suggest she buys some cheese off her classmates.

I cite this as a hypothetical example, I would never do anything like this, however, one of the lazy narcissist drug addict comics would, and that is what I mean by not being your typical comic.

The time that I'm usually picking my children up from school in the afternoon (around 3pm) is generally the time that all the unmarried/non-parent comics out there are picking themselves up from whatever floor they fell on in the early hours of the morning after a massive party following one of their "comedy shows." What kind of perspective on the world, what intelligent things are going to be uttered by a person who habitually has breakfast at dusk? The answers here are a) a really skewed perspective and b) nothing.

Having a wife (or any life partner other than yourself) requires you to have quite a few thoughts each day about the feelings, aspirations, and wellbeing of another person. This is something that is totally beyond your average self obsessed fevered young drug addict/comedian. They're so bound up in their own misery/brilliance/anger that they are unable to even imagine that there are other people, and that those other people have feelings, aspirations and wellbeing.

A good example that backs up my thinking on this is from a recent survey of the Mothers Day we had last weekend. This survey revealed that only 2% of the young self-involved drunk comedians sent their mum a present (chocolate or flowers) or a card (or a text). However, 98% of them did post a picture of themselves as a kid being held by their mum with the caption "love you mum!" The implied message here of course is: "love you mum for keeping me alive as an infant and for showering me in love so that I could grow up into the awesome and important person I am today."

The only thing I have in common as a comic with the stupid youthful shit-faced ones is procrastination. Delaying things is at the core of any comic's creative process. Cramming one's preparation into the final few seconds before going on stage is what gives comedy it's energy, sense of danger and aliveness. You might think this is a really crazy way to approach something but it's also exactly what the All Blacks do, and they've just won two world cups in a row so put your judgement back in your wallet and spend it another day.

So my typical day goes like this:
7am - 9am: Dad/Husband
9am - 1pm: Dad/Husband
1pm - 1:15pm Remembering jokes for the show
1:15pm - 3pm Dad/Husband
3pm - 6pm: Dad/Husband
6pm - 7pm: Dad/Husband
7pm - 10pm: Driving to comedy club, putting on whatever wig or costume as required, remembering jokes in order on stage, having a beer, traveling home
12am - 7am: Sleeping/Intermittent bits of Dad and Husband

You'll notice there is nothing listed between 10pm and midnight.  I genuinely have no idea what happens in this two hour period. This is concerning. I have theories about alien abductions and/or government mind control experiments but nothing concrete at the moment....

We've had a marvelous time over the last couple of weeks at the Montecristo bringing the good people of Auckland (you) an array of comedy shows. There's been everything from afternoon storytelling comedy to evening stand up comedy to nighttime cabaret comedy all the way to late night insanity. We hope you've enjoyed it!

My favourite moment was the Late Nite Jazz Scat show I put together a few weeks ago that involved a live jazz combo (of me on drums, Leigh Hart on piano, Jonny Brugh on bass and Hopetoun Brown as the horn section) playing jazz as a series of comics (Urzila Carlson, Cohen Holloway, Phelicity Ward amongst others) came on stage and did their jokes to the jazz. It was a perfect mash together of creative things. The best bit was when a comic dressed in a brilliantly rendered costume of Admiral Akbar from Star Wars came onstage drinking whiskey singing "I Did It My Way." Priceless.


Jesse Griffin

 



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