Friday, 3 April 2009

The Comedy Addicts

Comedy is the only profession I know where the work is the easiest part of the job. I don't know any comedians who don't truly enjoy the time they spend on stage. Even the beginners who experience paralysing fear still get more positive than negative from their time behind the microphone. Comedians are quite simply addicted to performing, that is why most major cities have venues with comedy shows where comedians, both amateur and professional, jockey for the glittering prize of being allowed to work without pay beyond a free drink or two. Some are working on new material but others are wearing down old material smoother than river rock. Some are trying to fill a social void, and others are leaving behind frustrated spouses and unfulfilled commitments.

The venues involved in this wholesale giveaway of comedy talent are typically nothing you would expect a performer to covet: sports bars with a hundred flickering televisions or coffee shops where the crowds and the Columbian are equally lukewarm and thin. To be fair there are also well run, ambitious little gigs that boast a heart of regulars and a great space to do seven minutes without the constraints that money gigs can bring. Regardless of the quality of the venue, as long as the management has no complaints and some patient soul remains willing to donate their time and effort into organization the gig will continue. Sometimes long after it should have been allowed to die with dignity.

It is a peculiar mixture of ego, art and adrenaline that keeps the comedian's enthusiasm unbridled and while the public demand for live stand-up will ebb and flow, nothing will, it seems, diminish the supply or the needs of the stand-up comedy addicts.

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