Rainer Hersch needs to explain himself – a lot! Usually at random parties though sometimes even to people who should know better…
I am a comedian…
But one who has given up talking about Flying…
“Anybody fly recently? – why don’t they make the plane out of the same stuff they make the black box out of, what’s that all about?”
Cats and Dogs…
“Who’s got a cat or dog? If you’ve got a dog, the dog thinks ‘these people feed and look after me, they must be God’; if you’ve got a cat, the cat thinks ‘these people feed and look after me, I must be God.”
And even my girlfriend who ‘has just left me’…
“Ok, so my girlfriend just left me. We argued and I ended up with really low self-esteem [AUDIENCE: AAHHH]. No don’t, I’m not worth it. But you know what they say about couples? After their worst arguments, they have the best sex. Me and her, it used to work that other way round: we used to have terrible sex followed by fantastic arguments.”
Yes, I gave up all that to do jokes about, brace yourself… Music! But not just any old music – Classical Music. And, on top of that, I don’t really tell the jokes, I have an orchestra and they kind of play them. I set ’em up and the orchestra knock ’em down, so to speak. Get it? Well, no because it’s a bit of a hard one to get.
So then comes the question: “what’s it like?” “What do you mean ‘what’s is like?’, I just spent five minutes explaining that.”
“Well, I mean is it like…
* Benny Hill?” – “No.”
* Monty Python?” – “not really.”
* Benny Hill and Monty Python” (An American lady once said this, not realising that these two are at diametric opposites) “definitely not”
* Bill Bailey?” “well – ish. Funny but I was doing my orchestra shows before he did his and classical music really isn’t his thing.”
* Victor Borgia?” (they say Borgia like the 15^th century Pope/poisoners) “you mean Victor Borge. Now you’re talking. But he is not my big hero or anything. I’m much more stand-uppy than him.
…and so it goes on.
Occasionally, with an older person, this conversation goes on to invoke the names of the other ‘great’ musical comedians of the past, Borgia (sic), Hoffnung, PDQ Bach… “You are far too young to remember them”, they say. Actually, gramps, I bet I know more about them than you – I made two series for the BBC about musical comedy. I have been forced to be their student. This version of the conversation usually ends with me correcting half-remembered recitation of Borge routines.
The fact of the matter is, I pathetically just hope what I do isn’t like anything. If it was, I would probably stop doing it. I also slightly bristle at the idea that somehow it has all been done and, if you enter the fray, you have got to be imitating someone else. Harrumph. Try countering this idea with ‘yes, it’s like all those people – but FUNNY’, you just sound like a smart alec.
Maybe pigeon holes are good. Pigeon holes actually make comedy possible because most jokes are about generalisations, gross generalisations at that – though don’t tell anyone I said it.
And in the end, though pigeon holes are small and full of pidgeon poo, maybe a pigeon hole is better than no hole.