Today on the Comedy Cast we welcome Katie Mears, a comedy essayist onto the show to geek out about stand-up comedy. We speak about Prophet Comedians, the history of Dirty Jokes and the future of stand-up comedy.
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We kick off the interview speaking about something that caught my eye on Katie’s Instagram profile, it said ‘henley enthusiast’ What’s a Henley, a motorbike, a type of cigar, a type of moose? No idea, so I had to ask.
We get onto the topic of why I simply had to get Katie on the podcast. Katie has a YouTube channel where she makes video essays about stand-up comedy and comedians. We speak about why Katie decided to open her YouTube account and why video essays were the best type of video for her to use as a medium to show her understanding, analysis and love for stand-up comedy. As she says herself in the piece, people weren’t going to read 3 page blog posts about stand-up comedy, but they will watch 10-minute video essays about it.
The first video of Katie’s that I came across was called Prophet Comedians and the Barbaric Yawp a look at comedians who Katie deemed as being ‘angry, prophet comedians’ in their delivery; Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison, Barry Crimmins, Lewis Black etc. We speak a bit about the video in particular and why learning from the comedy of Barry Crimmins gave her a better understanding of Kinison, not that it made her a fan, but saw where he was coming from.
This leads us down a bit of a tangent about the differences between comedy clubs in Ireland & Britain and over in the states. Whereas in Ireland & Britain a comedy night would usually entail about 4-5 comedians while in the states it’s not uncommon to see 6-8 or even more comedians on stage over a night.
We get back to the video and speak about why she labelled these comedians as ‘Prophet Comedians’ and what they had in common as performers. She explains some of the characteristics that their comedy shares and why they have to get their comedy out and why it makes so many people uncomfortable. We speak a bit about Bill Hicks in particular and why his level of fame was somewhat different when we compare his status, while alive, between America and Ireland & Britain.
Louis CK’s influence on stand-up comedy has been immense. His name pops up in the podcast a good bit from here on in and we speak about him dipping his toes in performing again of late. We speak about how Louis is going to go about his comeback, what will he have to do to get back into the good books of both his fans and his critics. It looks like he’s going to have to make some grand gesture to try and win people back and should he try to just sneak back into performing regularly he’ll make very few people happy.
Another video I really liked, A Brief History of Dirty Jokes is next on the list of topics. In the video Katie traces the history of dirty jokes (surprise, surprise) from Louis CK back to Lenny Bruce via George Carlin. Carlin, as you’ll know, is one of my favourite stand-ups but he would never have been what he became had Lenny Bruce not come before him. Katie speaks about the influence that both of these stellar performers had on the art and it’s plain to see that their influence is still seen in modern stand-up.
We speak a little about where comedy is heading. Louis has been at the forefront of anxiety-fueled, introspective, narcissistic comedy and maybe we’re heading into a period of more improvised, silly comedy. Or maybe we could go in the direction of more high brow comedy.
This brings us onto the topic of Adam Sandler’s new special, it’s been getting great reviews since it came out a few weeks ago and we speak about whether it’s kind of a reaction or maybe even a sign that we’re coming to the end of angst-y, introspective comedy. Probably not, but it’s nice to see a comedy special that’s fun and doesn’t have some ‘message’ rammed down your throat. We speak for a little about ‘older’ stand-up returning to stand-up; Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, makes you wonder what would tempt the likes of Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin back into performing stand-up.
We change topic for a bit then and we speak about Katie’s own experience of working in a couple of comedy clubs over years. This obviously gave her a different insight into comedy rather than reading and hearing about things second hand and when asked about whether she ever wanted to try out stand-up she gives a great answer.
We speak about a couple more of Katie’s videos and y’know, all I can say is check out Katies YouTube channel, give her a subscribe and watch the videos, they’re so insightful and analytical but fun too and just gives a great insight into the world of stand-up comedy.
Katie Mears on Youtube: here
Katie Mears on Instagram: here
Katie Mears on Twitter: here
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