Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Art of Nothing

MEMO

From: Me
To: You
Re: Yesterday's post

What the hell? 


In the past, I have presented....well, an odd collection of stuff to celebrate the 100th, 200th and 300th posts on this blog. #400 was coming up and I figured I would come up with....I suppose another odd collection of stuff for that post. After all, I've been posting on this blog for over a year now and I've gotten really good with coming up with...something. 


My viewpoint on this blog is conveyed in the following quote from Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels: "We don't go on because we're ready. We go on because it's 11:30."  


So come hell or high water, something was going to happen for the 400th post of I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. It may not be good. (A frequent condition of most posts to this blog.) But it would be something. 


And then....nothing. 


Not one damned idea. Na da. Zilch! 


Pardon me but I feel a "fuck" is about to be uttered. 


Ahem.


FUCK! 


There. I feel better. Sort of. 


I'm reminded of something I saw back in the 1970s when I was a kid. It was some variety show thing and comedian George Carlin is one of the acts. I had seen Carlin's act on other shows and found him to be incredibly funny.  When he comes out, there was no telling what he might say. 


In the case of this particular show, what he said was nothing.  


Seriously. He stood there, taking the occasional breath like he was about to say something but nope, he did not utter a word. The studio audience wasn't sure what to make of this. I know this audience...this guy sitting in front of his black and white at home...didn't know what the hell was going on.  


Over the course of the time he stood there, there were three responses: 

1) Laughter. I can't believe he's not saying anything.
2) Not laughter. OK, this is NOT funny. Is he not going to say anything?
3) Laughter. I can't believe he STILL not saying anything?  


There's a trope for that, doing something that's remotely amusing, then keep doing it and it becomes not as amusing and then coming around again to amusing because the viewer is incredulous this is still going on. This is a trope that Seth McFarlane beats to death on a weekly basis on Family Guy


But the main thing was George Carlin came out and did nothing. 


And got laughs.  


Of course, I'm no George Carlin.  


Also from the 1970s, there was a bit that Andy Kaufman did on Saturday Night Live where he brings out a record player to play the Mighty Mouse theme song. And he just stands there. 


Except for one part: at the chorus with the bombastic "Here I come to save the day!", Andy would swing his arm in a dramatic fashion as he lips syncs to that one line. Otherwise, he stands there by the record player, patiently waiting for the chorus to come around again.  


That's a couple of examples of getting laughs by doing nothing. Of course, both are from the 1970s and as we all know for a fact, everybody back in the 1970s was stoned. 


So, was the 400th post art? Or just me drawing a blank?

...


Exactly!


Dave-El
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

"So we're just going to...sit...here?"
"Yep."
"OK then." 

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