david heti - thoughts

David Heti - thoughts

so, only one joke discussed

What’s a comic to do with those jokes most likely to be appreciated by other comics only? Introduce them to the world in some confusedly ineffectual manner with respect to whatever may be the intention, it appears. And, so, here, as equally open for public consumption in theory as without readership in fact, are some jokes otherwise far better performed than written out, notwithstanding the case of the likelihood of so few appreciating them if performed.

(All of this too, perhaps, obviously, or, actually, maybe not at all, would most likely be better experienced more fully performatively. It’s the inflection, pacing, intonation, etc. that’s lost. On the other hand, of course, is the opportunity to read over, read in and return to, etc. provided.)

Unrelatedly, most comics appear to employ such a space for the promotion of future shows. That for which it appears to be best, however, is in fact the apologizing and attempting-to-account in light of whatever earlier, perhaps previous nights’ performances.

So, though immediately, at least for me, seemingly far more interesting to carry on in this vein, these are the jokes:

Sifting through some old papers the other day, I happened to come across the first joke I ever wrote. And it was a thrill, just to see how incredibly funny…how sophisticated…was the comedic sense, even back then. Because it’s just…it was…it appears to have been a callback.

Cue slow clap.

You see, the thing is, it’s just not a joke that’s for everyone. And that’s not to say that it’s not a good joke.

There’s a difference between a joke that’s no good in itself, unconditionally, and a joke that’s no good in its time and place and people. Here, whatever elements of sufficient joke goodness there may be, if any, are present.

The problem lies in the general, non-comedian audience’s lack of familiarity, in general, with the notion of a callback. In the context of a set of stand-up comedy, acallback denotes a referencing to an earlier moment in the set. A callback will tend to take the form of a punch line that brings to the audience’s collective attention an earlier joke or punch line. The apparent intention of a comedian employing a callback, one can only assume, is the affecting, thereby, of not only a moment of pleasant surprise, but the impression, too, of incredible, pants-dropping proportions of comedic mastery.

Returning at this time to the joke, the implicit, comedic incongruence of a first joke being a callback is revealed.

The joke, then, arguably, turns in on itself, maybe, for just as the fictional joke callback must have necessarily failed as callback, so too does this admittedly pretty worthless callback joke fail as joke.

Yet, in my mind, I love them both.