Last night, I went to see my friend’s standup comedy show The Adventures of the Man With the Dominant Claw, which is currently playing as part of the Cracker Comedy Festival.
Anyway, it was very funny and naturally, being my friend’s show and all, I would recommend that you go and see it if you are in Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide over the coming weeks.
However, the most interesting thing for me about my friend’s Comedy Stylings is not the show itself; but rather my introduction to the incestuous underbelly of the standup community. As I am helping out with the merch stand - a new experience for me - I get to witness some pretty interesting and intense starf*cking. I choose to tell you about that now.
When I went to see the show, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Friends and acquaintances of mine are creative types of people - some of them more so than others - and they often have shows or exhibitions that one must attend in the interests of supporting the creative community and ensuring that people actually turn up to one’s own creative events when one is brave enough to invest money in a venue. Some of their shows are a bit shit, but you go anyway and get drunk and then when they ask you what you thought you change the subject and buy them drinks so they don’t ask you again.
However, Dominant Claw was excellent and highly amusing, and last night it achieved Real Success. Success is when other people, people who don’t know you, turn up to your shows and love you to pieces. Real Success, when you know you’re onto a winner, is when punters turn up way before the show and stay after the show buying drinks and merch and don’t want anything in return other than to follow you around and possibly perform sexual favours.
In a comedy situation, with a male comedian, these followers are known as Punters and Jokies. Punters are boys who want to be or are friends with the male comedian. This is very lucrative, because they like to buy shirts and DVDs and get excited about having photos taken with and shout the performer beers and generally hero worship him.
They can become irritating, especially when doing impressions of the performer to his face or requesting that he re-hash an especially amusing moment from the show in the middle of the pub, but are generally most welcome to spend their money and love on our male comedian.
Jokies are the other half of this equation, although it should be noted that they are not the girlfriends of Punters, but rather single women or groups of single women. Jokies are ladies who want to be with male comedians, and I find them much more interesting than I find Punters. From my observations of this week’s Comedy Gala after party, and also from seeing my friend achieve Real Success last night, there are two types of Jokie.
The first type looks and dresses like a model, doesn’t touch the canapés and is furtively and unbelievingly hunted by the far less attractive comedy male, who cannot believe his luck. These ladies have high self esteem, so much so that they don’t feel the need to compete with the “funny guys” or in fact open their mouths other than to show off their perfect teeth. They toss their hair and smile a lot and it is fun to watch them balance on their stilettos while throwing back their heads to toss back a drink and making sure that their mini-dresses do not show their lady parts.
The second type of Jokie is a frustrated public servant who is into amateur theatricals and has a “big personality”. She smokes and talks frenetically and surrounds herself with other ladies with “big personalities” and actively pursues the much meeker comedy male.
This lady has low self esteem, because being fairly intelligent, she knows that due to institutional bias her gender is holding her back from a successful comedy career of her own, and she internally rails against the patriarchy while sucking down her Marlborough Lights. Her consolation prize is to hang around back stage and cackle sadly, bitterly hating on yet aspiring to become successful lady comedians like Jackie Loeb, touching the comedy male inappropriately and (probably) snorting drugs in the bathroom.
This is the price of Real Success for my friend, and from my perch with the merch I get the full view. Nevertheless he appears to be having a ball and I do wish him the best of luck and Success, and if that means more Punters and Jokies, well, more power to the weirdos.
PS: There are also many normal and lovely people, both men and women, who attend these events, but they tend to be the friends/colleagues/family of the male performer or friends of friends who have heard about the event through the grapevine and are interested. Please note that stoush.net readers also automatically fall into this category.