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So, as some of you may know. I'm a part time comedian (yes, that's a called a setup, now run with it).
During the discussion last week about pranks, brought on by the nurse suicide, I mentioned that I hate comedians that rely on pranks of unsuspecting people.
This week, an old friend from high school that works in LA and does TV work (most notably on a show that rhymes with Greg Merguson) said she needed improv comedians from Chicago for a show that her friend was casting. The premise of the show is to prank unsuspecting people.
Now I'm not saying it was a sure thing by any means, but probably a higher chance than any other audition I'd go to.
I passed it up. I did pass it along to my friends, but I couldn't do that to people. I'll admit though, that if I didn't have a job and was struggling, it might be different.
[Edit] Here is part of the ad, showing that it doesn't seem to be a lighthearted Candid Camera type show:
The cast will portray a variety of characters and test the morals of unsuspecting subjects. Actors will be required to create awkward and compromising situations and MUST be comfortable with delving into politically incorrect material, driving the scene to that unsettling place. Actors need to be quick-witted and willing and able to “push the limits” of the subject to get the desired reaction.
While I would generally agree that humor which relies on pranks pulled on others is a low form, I still think that Allen Funt's Candid Camera was one of the funniest shows ever produced. Prank humor has its place, but it can be easily overdone.
Well there's pranks and then there's pranks. If it was along the lines of Candid Camera, then I think it would be fun to do. But something like Scare Tactics maybe not, as someone literally might have a heart attack.
Why is it that North American humour is centred around making fun of others? It seems more about making people look stupid, or putting them in uncomfortable situations and laughing at them react rather than being witty and clever.
Laziness, easiness, predictable outcomes, mitigation of risk, cheaper, etc. It's sad to see complete crap shows out there when there are hilarious scripts that exist. Yes, they exist, but the audience response is not as predictable. Embarrass someone! Everyone loves that. I'm not sure what it means, but I've heard people in the industry blame it on "those West Coast producers".
Honestly, it's not all North American humour, but yes, way too much of it is based on this.
I've taken acting/comedy/writing classes around here and some really focus on making the smarter choice, and not relying on the expense of others for the punchline. It's a greatly rewarding and more difficult thing to so.
You are in Toronto right? There is a Second City there, if it's anything like the Second City in Chicago, there should be plenty of talented comedians that won't rely on sh*tty gimmicks. Take the CP crew there! [^]
Why is it that North American humour is centred around making fun of others?
I don't know; there are cultural differences in 'taste', but they're not as big imo. Most humor is tend to be centered largely around three themes: violence, humiliation and absurdities.
The violence and humiliation can be projected outward (humiliating others), or inward (comedian humiliating himself, playing a weak character on purpose)
In Belgium humor is 'more' absurd and 'inwardly projected humiliation'. But not exclusively.
Typical prank invented here and was copied several times: "Guy walks into a library with a comically giant cellphone, which goes off loudly and he starts shouting."
That's absurd humor; but it also has an element of violence, because he's being extremely obnoxious on purpose. I think all good jokes are a combination of several 'funny' factors that work together very well.