Remember that time, the 2000's, when one could at any time write on the topic of metamodernism or simply about cultural cross-sections in order to have a bunch of likes and awards for keeping up with the times? How glorious a time it was, however, it may be good, that it's gone.
Stand-up, as a genre, doesn't bring to the table anything completely new unless it intentionally refuses most of the tools that have been used by cartoon or sitcom. One expresses his thoughts as soon as it comes to mind, without overthinking the framework of a decent and permitted individual.
At the heart of the comedy, the genre is a classic remittance of the audience to the overall experience and, further, to the recognition or the surprise. Despite any way that you look at it, Aristotle, was right, and the Chinese people have a funny emphasis.
However, over the past half-century, the genre grew up: from parody to the manner of driving women or blacks
we came to the reflections of the artist about the boundaries of the genre, the nature of sadness and fun.
The format of a successful stand-up, is either an hour or five-minutes long, it is built on the sense of the viewers presumption. A comedian knows how the public will react to one or another part of his speech. It is simple for the comedian to understand, if this joke will call for the viewer's laughter or not. It floods into more complex things, like peculiar mini-golf, in which the ball is a spectator, and causes bizarre bumping onto various emotions. Doug Stanhope proves the existence of life after death and for ten minutes tells the story about how he did the euthanase of his emphysemic mother, and then it turns out to be a set-up for a punchline on how he bought things on her credit card after she died. Not the emotions themselves, but the transitions between them are the exciting part here. At the very beginning, Stand-Up Comedy was used just to cause laughter, later its purpose was the other emotions and feelings: social discontent, sadness, self-doubt. Then the palette of emotions became varied, the transitions between elements were added. Important to understand, the genre didn't refuse methods, designed during previous stages (which are quite conditional actually). It developed by accumulating the methods and moving the accents to the new ones. Not that long ago, when the genre became more complicated, it was dealing with easier problems. Such as: searching for the boundaries of the permitted humor, defeating from the police of liberal morals by jokes about 9/11 and rape. However, one can already see how gradually one outgrew this level as well. Gradually, irony becomes less apparent and to stay relevant, it has to be funny and sincere at the same time. Previously, the comedian made faces and depicted accents. After about 20-30 years, the reality around the genre requires from it both: jokes and honesty. Now, it has to be sincere speaking ironically. Well, and here is metamodernism. If the writers' fear at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries is a fear of seeming vulgar and dumb, then the comedian is more than anything, afraid of being not funny enough. Having an end-goal to show their uniqueness, they are afraid to be worse than the people before them. That's warranted: comedians before would just make jokes, and their only goal was to be as funny as possible. To consider the public's presumption regarding jokes on taboo topics, is easier than embedding one's own identity in the perception of an audience that is brought up on completely different humor.
The new comedy is reflective and sadder in general. For an artist to pretend being deep, is basically the same as to walk on very thin ice, beneath which you can find vulgarity and fancy sincerity. In fact, the point is only whether the artist is funny or not in the broad sense of the word, whether the angle from which he or she looks at the world is interesting, or whether he or she is able to tell the viewer what the viewer always knows and feels. Arkady Tkhorov
translated by Verena Podolsky
edited by Eleonora Kap