Laughter - Part 2

Imagine you had the power to invoke a command performance of the funniest standup in the world, doing her routine just for you, at your house. It would be awful. Comedy depends on the social. You might laugh at a TV show by yourself, but that laughter is implicitly shared with other, unknown watchers, with society at large, or at least the society of people who might conceivably make up the audience for that particular show. That's how mass media are generally experienced: alone, but with the knowledge that there are others experiencing them too. But a live comedian with an audience of one? Risible. In fact, there's even something funny about the situation. Removing the audience and expecting the show to work betrays a rigidity of thinking - an arrogance that one could just transpose a form into a new setting without needing to adapt it.

I love Bergson's insistence on physical pratfalls and stupid pranks. In my experience French people laugh at nothing harder than someone walking into a lamp-post. I think it's part of their cruelty. But of course we all laugh at people walking into lamp-posts. So we all share in that cruelty.

I need to see more Molière.

Presented and produced by Eli Sessions. Music from The Underscore Orkestra.

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