When kids are in school and Vesna is at her office, I have 6 hours of solitary time to work on art, write lesson plans and emails, do whatever it takes to get the art out in the universe, while trying to figure out how to earn money. One of the things that keeps me sane and positive is comedy podcasts- Comedy Bang Bang, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, James Bonding, You Talkin’ U2 to Me, Superego, and others from the Earwolf and Nerdist podcast networks. Many of the same players crop up in each show- Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Gourley, Andy Daly, Scott Aukerman, Reggie Watts, James Adomian, Lauren Lapkus. There’s also the comedy of Andy Zaltzman and Jon Oliver on The Bugle Podcast, and Fresh Air with Terry Gross regularly hosts comedians like Amy Schumer and Hari Kondabolu (both on this week at the time of this writing).
Comedians are absolutely artists and their creative POVs provide the kind of clear insight to human behavior that help us understand ourselves better as humans, bring common ground between people, and speak truth to power. I admire their use of words and sounds in the way one relates to song lyrics or a masterful art technique- Andy Daly, for example, creates ludicrous characters that he fully embodies to the point that most of his act is spontaneous but is funnier to me than any scripted TV he’s been part of.
Which isn’t to say scripted comedy is inferior, though it does lack that anarchic chaotic edge I love. One of the most prescient observers of human behavior is Mike Judge, creator of Office Space, King of the Hill, Beavis and Butthead, and Idiocracy. His new show Silicon Valley (also featuring Andy Daly) has examples of Asperger’s-ish tech billionaires and “TED talk”-ish innovators who tag “curing AIDS” to the end of their speech on some new software patch. Brilliant stuff.
Beyond the positive vibes that come from laughing, and beyond the admiration I have for comedy’s creativity, I’m really inspired by the pure drive to get out in public and build an audience. They tour, do countless podcasts for no pay, create merch, organize variety shows, you name it, they’re constantly hustling. Above all they help each other out so they all can succeed. I would love to photograph comedians, but for now I’m content appreciating these artists from afar.