"Life is a miracle. Death is inevitable. Everything else is hilarious." -- Stu Baker

Saturday, April 9, 2011

History of Stand Up: The Prologue

In my last blog entry, I indicated I'm reading a lot of books on the history of Stand-Up. My intention was to write a "Brief History of Stand-Up". But as I made my way through the volumes of material on the subject I also encountered a problem; not everyone agrees on just what stand-up comedy is. So, as "First Things First" things go, I'm backing up once again and tackling this by asking several comic how they define Stand-Up.

Certainly, the dictionary offers a starting point: Merriam-Webster 2: performed in, performing in, or requiring a standing position; especially : of, relating to, performing, or being a monologue of jokes, gags, or satirical comments delivered usually while standing alone on a stage or in front of a camera (stand–up comedy) (stand-up comedian) . Wikipedia: Stand-up comedy is a style of comedy where a comedian performs for a live audience, usually speaking indirectly to them. It is usually performed by a comedian with the aid of a microphone, either hand-held or mounted. Google: "Stand Up Comedy" is a song by rock band U2. It is the seventh track on their 2009 album No Line on the Horizon.

It seems to me that each comic has a definition that relates to their particular style of comedy. That's why I decided to ask several comics -- famous and infamous -- and see who responds. I'll post these responses and a few more thoughts soon.