Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The crazy monkey theory of comedy

Comedy is a crazy monkey that lives inside your brain. The funny stuff the monkey comes up with always happens "now." The rational brain says, "Hey. That's some funny shit, monkey!" and writes it down. But there was always a time when you thought of the joke for the first time -- when the joke was funny and fresh to YOU. That's where funny comes from.

Good improv comics are in touch with that. You know. Their inner crazy monkey. Bad improv comics fake spontaneity.

The crazy monkey theory explains much.

First, the crazy monkey doesn't want to work for monkey. If you say, "Listen, you !@#$ monkey. I need some material that'll really !@@#$ sell" -- the monkey responds by baring his teeth, going "EEEEEEEEE!" and throwing a big wad of feces in your face.

The crazy monkey ain't into work-for-hire. He works when he wants to work. He's funny when he wants to be funny. He doesn't give a crap about your schedule, ego or debt obligations.

In fact, the crazy monkey likes to do his thing at exactly the wrong moment. Somebody says, "Hey, you're a funny guy! Do something funny!" A circle of gawkers surround you waiting for the hilarity to come. At that point, you got nothing, nada, squat. You're as funny as a !@#$ computer manual.

But, let's say you're in CHURCH. You're showing your due respects to God Himself. Ah, now THAT'S when the crazy monkey starts generating great material. Eeeee, eeee. What if the communion wine had Ex-Lax in it? Eeee, eeee. What if all those people coming out of communion were on a big conveyor belt? Eeeeeeeee. You ever notice how communion resembles those animal treats the Trainer gives Shamu? Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

And then you start snickering. The person next to you on the pew starts snickering. You let fly with an enormous, stained glass window-rattling fart. The entire church starts laughing. You'll have to change religions.

The crazy monkey has won.

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