A friend sent me two recent NY Times articles related to comedy and I thought both provided interesting perspective on current comedy trends.
The first, Take My Comedy Influences, Please, talks partly about the influx of comedians talking about comedy, something of which I’m a fan. I’m always fascinated by how other comedians approach their work, and reading / seeing a few pieces going meta on comedy helped me a lot when I was first starting out.
I’ll be interested to see the show in the article, “Inside Comedy” and admit I still have yet to see “Talking Funny.” It’s also no surprise that Seinfeld is a part of the new show as he’s shared a lot of his perspective on being a comedian. He’s also the center of the best documentary I’ve seen on stand-up, something I recommend all stand-ups (and other comedians) watch.
The second article, Plotting To Make Their Audience Laugh, covers sketch comedy. In it, the writer suggests that sketch is growing in importance. I agree with the sentiment of the article that, especially for New York, improv seems to be in the spotlight right now, but it doesn’t mean sketch hasn’t been around and incredibly important for years. You can look at what SNL, Second City, UCB (the show) and countless others did for comedy and comedic actors.
What does seem to be growing in New York is the teaching of sketch, with UCB, Magnet and The PIT all having sketch programs and regular slots for sketch comedy shows. Of course the challenge for live sketch shows will always be what can be found on TV or even YouTube. Whereas improv almost has to be seen live, and stand-up certainly benefits from it, sketch doesn’t seem quite as reliant on a “live” feel. Of course that could just be me.
What’s the point of all this? I’m not sure, but I thought I’d share some interesting articles from the NY Times.