Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Comedy from the Second City

Got this as a birthday present from my brother (thanks, Ben!) -- it's pretty interesting to listen to. A snapshot of intellectual comedy from 1961. Unfortunately, I think you kind of had to be there to appreciate it. It kind of felt like the sort of laughter that you get when people are amazed that someone smart is making a joke, as if the idea of intelligent humor had never occurred to them, and they are delighted to find it... in other words, the kind of laughing you do to sound smart. There is an extended sketch about people at an intellectual book club, for example, and a song about how Shakespeare's wife must have suffered... that kind of thing. There are some "old standard" jokes on here -- but the audience tends to ignore those. I only got one really solid laugh out of it -- a silly bit where Alan Arkin sings the works of William Blake as if they were cowboy songs. It was brief, but sharp and funny. Severn Darden is on here too -- I grew up fascinated with his solo album, with its Oedipus sketch. I can't say he was quite that funny on here, but he was definitely the one who taught me that intellectuals could be funny, and I was glad to know it! I remember being in junior high, and being really disappointed with his appearance in Saturday the 14th, as it was very lowbrow. Sounds like I would have been a perfect fit for that 1961 audience!

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