Standup comedy is in flux

My Article on Stand up Comedy: Ed Blaze

<> on March 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Stand-up comedy is in flux today and that doesn’t mean it’s always funny. Perhaps it’s merely a reflection on our world. I mean look at the shape of the world today. Everybody’s fighting about this or that, one country against another. Many times the fighting happens between people in the same country.

Even stand-up comedy has introduced gladiator matches, pitting one so-called comedian against another. The audience votes Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. It’s not uncommon for the audience to get into fights over their favorite comedians. Comedy has become a serious business. That isn’t funny.

We have Open Mic nights when anyone can take a shot at being funny. Most times, even after several drinks, participants couldn’t find funny, if it were painted on them. The whole idea of competing is ridiculous.

Can you imagine Kevin Hart in a death match with Lewis CK? No amount of money would make that happen. They know better. They know they’re funny. They don’t need to compete. What’s more – we know they’re funny.

Comedy isn’t a competition. It’s an art form, one which has the ability to transcend politics, religion and also the day-to-day grind. True standup comedy helps people forget about their problems.

There is something special about real comedy that music, politics and even sports can’t offer or even hope to attain. Comedy can heal, and it does so indiscriminately, no matter what our race, gender, nationality or political party. It’s universal.

To me, comedy is world peace. Sure, that sounds simplistic, but think about it for a moment. Comedy can unify the world. It’s not like a soccer match or basketball game where fans are put into a sports memorabilia centrifuge and separated into different sides. Separation only invites fighting and eventually all-out war.

No, comedy is something different. Check out the audience with any real comedian on stage. What do you see? Men, women, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Caucasians, and, on Wednesday nights, maybe even little green guys from the Pleiades are there. They don’t laugh at one another, but rather they laugh together. Everyone unites.

If you’re disabled, challenged, or physically fit, comedy is for you. Heck, it’s for everybody.

As a comedian, I consider it an honor to take the stage and know that in some small way, I help people forget about their troubles. Each person is important to me. I want to reach them, to make them laugh. At the beginning of my show, I can tell people are worried about life and they’re distracted. Then as the show goes on, I see them relax and enjoy themselves. They begin to laugh. They forget about their cares. That’s what it’s about to me.

Comedy isn’t forced and it isn’t something that divides people, as we’ve seen recently. Instead, comedy unifies, breaks down the barriers to the lowest common denominator.

Come to think of it, maybe the answer to world peace really is comedy. Think about it. Who could fire a gun when he’s laughing hysterically? Just the mental picture of that is funny.

Have you ever noticed that once you start laughing you tend to forget about the thing that made you mad or upset? They say laughter is the best medicine. I know that’s true.

If we could really learn to laugh about life, wars would cease. Billions of dollars wouldn’t be spent in finding ways of killing each other.

By laughing about life and not taking things so seriously, we’re doing something positive. What’s the worst that would happen? We might die laughing, but what a way to go!