Comedy: The Gift

I finally handed in my essay on stand-up for the comedy module of my course last Friday, so I thought it was good timing to post this piece I started writing about comedy, back in August, after seeing Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman live at London’s Apollo. Hope you enjoy!

Until this past August, seeing live comedy, in any form, was something I was interested in but had never had the courage to do. Not least because, well, going solo to most types of shows has basically become my style. Sure, having company is fun, but when that’s not available I’ve learned that going to see my favourite live music or a new theatre production on my own is infinitely better than missing out. But also, planning for other people stresses me out, and I already have enough to worry about. But anyway, back to the matter at hand: comedy.

Comedy has aways been something I’ve been interested in, loved even, back when Russell Brand was my favourite stand-up comic, Gavin and Stacey and Friends were my favourite television shows, and I religiously watched panel shows like Mock the Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats. But I grew up and out of it, and into more serious and real and ‘important’ film and television, leaving behind the silly world of comedy.

That was until last Summer when I made the best decision by finally starting to watch a little show called Parks and Recreation. I immediately fell in love. The characters, the actors, the crazy new stories and situations every episode, but most of all, the heart. And just like that, I fell back in love with comedy. I finally realised that it’s not any less, just because it makes people laugh instead of cry, feel joyous instead of reflective. It can be just as important, if not more so. To be able to make people laugh is something special, a real gift.

Amy Poehler’s performance as Leslie Knope inspired me to watch more of her work, and I began devouring Saturday Night Live sketches on Youtube and watched her improv work with the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). Watching clips of them performing was magical to me. Their creativity and communication are astonishing. (If you do anything after reading this, please make it watching this ASSCAT! performance, you won’t regret it!). I also learned about the Del Close Marathon, a comedy festival run by the members of UCB in New York City, and as soon as I save up enough money, that’s where I’ll be.

Unfortunately, since that didn’t happen during last Summer, I decided to compromise. After watching Parks and getting back into comedy, I’d also grown fond of other American comics; Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer, Louis CK, among many others. And then I found out that the latter two were planning European tours, along with Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman bringing their Summer of 69: No Apostrophe tour to the UK.

This was my opportunity to see some of my favourite comics without having to spend hundreds on travelling to America. Also, spending any amount of time in London is heaven to me. So, after finding a little reassurance online and deliberating over whether it was ok to go to a comedy show alone, I decided to suck it up, and booked tickets to see all three.

Best. Idea. Ever. The shows were all incredible to see live, so hilarious and so worth it.

But if I had to choose a favourite, I think it has to be Mullally and Offerman’s, who’s show was so positive and full of energy, I don’t think I stopped smiling for a second. The love between them is so obvious to see, and their chemistry and banter so fascinating to watch, I really hope they create another show together. After it finished, I remember being sat on the coach waiting to leave London, on the phone to my Dad, telling him how much my cheeks ached from laughing. The encore, in particular, was to blame for this, and also left me replaying Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better for days.

So; comedy. It’s pushed me out of my comfort zone. Inspired me to learn more about the world and try to understand things I wouldn’t normally care about. It’s made me laugh, cry and everything in between. Taught me to enjoy the silly and childish and not look down on it. It’s introduced me to many people I now take so much inspiration from in my life. It’s given me many gifts, which I am now proud to give it credit for.

If you have any feedback, advice or thoughts on comedy I’d love to hear them!

Also, if you’d like proper reviews for any of the shows or maybe some tips/advice for going solo to events, just let me know in the comments or on Twitter. Thanks for reading.

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Author: Leanne Richards

22-year-old writer and aspiring filmmaker from Cardiff

3 thoughts on “Comedy: The Gift”

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