Some say comedy is simply storytelling with a thick injection of humour.
While it can be all that and more, this next comic is someone who really gives justice to that phrase.
I give you: Simon Evans!
Welcome back to the Comedy cookbook – a mini series on this blog which looks at the factors which make comedy work.
The style flaunted by Evans is basically a very funny retelling of a series of stories (and again you might think this is what all comics do anyway).
It’s in the way he puts it all together. There lies the difference.
Take a look at this clip from Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow
The opening is just quick, clean and on-the-ball. “A couple of you are thinking ‘This is all very well, but where are his eyes?’” he remarks, to an explosion of laughter.
Some experienced comics might no longer go with the “physical quirks” opening, but it works so well for Evans. His opening line refers to his very narrow, deep-set eyes.
Realising this almost instantly, the audience immediately gets it by erupting in laughter.
If we also take a quick look at how Evans presents himself, this also goes a long way in explaining the success of this incredibly well-executed set. Red tie, suit and the formal shoes complete a sophisticated ensemble which gives an immediate impression of respectability, maybe even serious and professional.
All this has implications on the expectation it creates for the people watching: This man is serious about what he has come for. His presentation of self is taken with the highest regard.
Evans then launches straight into his conversational delivery of his material. Hand-in-pocket and standing completely still, his metaphorical leap from story to story almost feels as if you happened to bump into him at a dinner party.
“It can appear, under stage lighting, that there is no more than a couple of crude knife slits pressed into my face, but no,” he continues.
The rest of the set shows a remarkable knack for adding in the tiniest of “afterthoughts” that leave the crowd in complete stitches. One of the earlier examples is where he speaks about how his small eyes meant he was teased a lot as a child. Examples of name-calling are listed, after which he remarks (almost under his breath): “Mother could be very cruel.”
Similar situations, where the smallest afterthought provokes the biggest laughs, are littered all over this highly-impressive performance.
Check it out and enjoy!
Back on the Rhodes scene
On the personal front, I had my first “purely stand-up” performance at the Kimberley West Hall welcome dinner on Tuesday 19 February.
The material was quite fresh and untested so I wasn’t expecting a knock-out performance. The energy was a bit low in the beginning, which wasn’t helped by my off-the-cuff decision to go with a rather tame opening that fell completely flat. Basically, I tried something which sounded funny in my head but just didn’t take off when I put it out there.
Overall, the set was so-so (to me). There were instances where I fell back into the hyper-scared energy that just takes so much away from milking the moment.
Not sure what next is on the cards and juggling a whole lot of work at the moment.