Comedy is slowly becoming the forgotten stepchild of the performing arts. Stand-up comedians get the short end of the stick when it comes to being recognized for their talents and having the opportunity to be taken seriously as artists. In our exclusive interview with comedian Nicholas Krywucki, he gave us an inside look into stand-up comedy and what it really takes to be a comic.
Being a successful comic greatly depends on one's personality and their level of confidence and charisma. And just like any performer, the art of comedy takes practice and dedication. Dancers, singers, musicians, and actors all have the opportunity to earn degrees and become true professionals with academic recognition, even earning doctorates. They're also given accolades for turning themselves into another character, mastering an instrument, or having a beautiful voice.
Comedians aren't afforded the same possibilities despite spending hours practicing a natural talent and also performing a rehearsed piece for an audience. Comedy is part of theatre but when it's a comedian performs as a character its considered "comedic acting". When it's done as the self (or an on-stage persona) telling jokes, it's not considered acting, and referred to as "stand-up". It is seen as less than of art and more of a hobby.
Stand-up comedy belongs in the theatre group and due to the brazenness that can happen on that open mic stage, it's one of the coolest performing arts. It's edgy. It's hipster. It's comedy. Making fun of things and telling jokes about one's own life is, simply put, cool. It's a perfect mix of comedy and tragedy. Stand-up makes audience members laugh but routines incorporate personal tragedies with a funny spin. There's something very poetic, but also a little bit disturbing, about laughing at someone else's pitfalls.
As Nick K told us, "Standup has a unique artistic feeling that other arts just can't have with an audience. It’s not for everyone for sure, but for people that like to laugh and enjoy stand-up, there is a special intimacy only in stand-up. It’s not premeditated and the audience at a good show really feels fluid and amazing." It is really different from anything else that happens on a stage. There are no sets or extras. There is usually no plot. Sometimes there is no rehearsal whatsoever. It's completely random. But that's part of what makes it so artfully unique.
Interestingly, Emerson College does have a Bachelor's program to earn a degree in the comedic arts. There, students can learn how to better perform, write, or produce comedy shows/plays/etc. They also delve into the history of different types of comedy. It does sound like a neat degree for those of us with a funny bone and certainly solidifies the idea that this art form deserves the recognition that other theatrical practices already have.
Stand-ups deserves a spot at the artsy theatre table but there's no doubt they'll be the cool rebellious kid. You'll find stand-up comedians trying to convince the dancers to ditch their next class and have some laughs.
What do you think of stand-up? Would you call it artsy? Let us know in the comments!