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American Comedy Lagging & Stew Lee's critical comments.

Started by tribalfusion, January 06, 2022, 11:19:47 PM

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tribalfusion

Hi all,

I would imagine by now many of you have seen that year-end list from Stew Lee where he discusses his faves from the past year.

When discussing Doug Stanhope and Maria Bamford, Lee writes 'as all serious fans of stand-up know, the American iteration of the artform is currently lagging somewhat compared to the manifestations produced in other English speaking territories' and then he goes on to praise each of them (I happen to enjoy Maria's work and while I'm not a fan of Stanhope, I do agree there's more to him than the usual chucklebot).

While I don't agree that Lee's premise holds where Canada, Australia or New Zealand (among others) are concerned, it's been my thought for years now that the U.S. comedy scene is depressingly conservative in both form and content (with some noteworthy exceptions) compared to the U.K. which has produced a more diverse and interesting comedic scene for my tastes.

Some reasons for this include the powerful influence of the generic U.S. 'comedy club' for quite some time, the ubiquitous macho jokester persona and the even stronger relationship between show business writ large in the U.S. and comedy.

In any event, I have plenty more to say about this if anyone is interested but wanted to put the topic out there and hear some thoughts.

Please let us know where you are from if you don't mind (I was born in the U.S. and lived extensively in various countries in Europe as well).

Thanks!

shoulders

Disagree, America has its big bland focus grouped mainstream comedy machine sure,  but as a country it is bigger, more diverse, has a greater freedom for acts to do their own thing and better opportunities for fringe acts to develop a core audience, whether that's online or standup touring. A lot of their legacy acts are just miles ahead of the UKs, so much that it seems embarrassing to really compare.

The UK has a cliquey, bland back slapping closed shop of an industry and a shallower pool of talent, most of whom are trying desperately to prune their act to fit to whims of the one agency who can make their careers here.

tribalfusion

Quote from: shoulders on January 06, 2022, 11:23:45 PMDisagree, America has its big bland focus grouped mainstream comedy machine sure,  but as a country it is bigger, more diverse, has a greater freedom for acts to do their own thing and better opportunities for fringe acts to develop a core audience, whether that's online or standup touring. A lot of their legacy acts are just miles ahead of the UKs, so much that it seems embarrassing to really compare.

The UK has a cliquey, bland back slapping closed shop of an industry and a shallower pool of talent, most of whom are trying desperately to prune their act to fit to whims of the one agency who can make their careers here. 


Thanks for the reply. Why don't you be a little more specific about the acts you have in mind and perhaps discuss a bit your own background and experience in the 2 countries?

I'm not seeing all these fringe acts in the U.S. with much presence but I'm curious how it seems to you from wherever you may be.

13 schoolyards

Being from Australia the (moderately) interesting thing is that our local stand-ups head overseas the second it looks like they might be able to make a go of it, because worldwide "stand-up" is almost always just a stepping stone for a media career and good luck having one of those here.

Australia is too small for stand-ups to bother trying to shape their acts to get on TV or whatever - they generally do what they like then use whatever fame they can gather to get on TV (or radio I guess) and be TV-friendly before heading overseas to vanish without trace or become Adam Hills and / or Hannah Gadsby.

Whereas in the US it seems like the exact opposite: if you're doing stand-up and are the slightest bit interested in having a comedy career, that's extremely do-able so long as you're doing the kind of work that "comedy" - be it the clubs or the media - wants.

No doubt there are quirky diverse acts out there doing their own thing, but from a great distance it seems like the whole industry there is one big machine only looking for a handful of "types" and if you don't slot in you're screwed.

Mister Six

I live in NYC and pre-Covid misery I used to knock around comedy haunts here, but I rarely (never, really) saw any unusual or notable stand-up acts other than established people like Bamford. The Comedy Cellar/Dangerfield's places were usually stocked with longtime circuit comedians who had their 15-minute gag-gag-gag sets prepped, and while you'd occasionally get a surprise guest spot from someone like Chris Rock or (pre-wankbeast revelations) Louis CK trying out some interesting material, or an old hand ad-libbing their way through a set for a laugh, the expectation was that it was just going to be a string of unconnected jokes. No characters, or attempts to create a little flow or narrative or anything (and to be fair, it's not what the punters are looking for, mostly).

Even when you went to one of the bigger venues to see someone do a proper solo show, it was generally just a bunch of jokes with no obvious theme or particular structure. That seems, on the whole, to be the American model. If you want to see something a bit more outre, you'd have to go to an improv or sketch night.

And obviously the free-entry places were the same, but massively worse.

Could be I was just unlucky, and to be fair I didn't do a lot of digging about, but in the UK I'd still manage to blunder into a show with a multimedia element, say, or some kind of over-arching narrative, or a 15-minute bit done as a character, or just something more than someone in a T-shirt or moderately nice blouse doing gags about jerks in traffic.

For better or worse (worse; it's worse), "someone at a mic doing jokes" is the expectation of US audiences, not helped by loads of shite Netflix specials that are exactly that.

tribalfusion

Quote from: Mister Six on January 07, 2022, 05:14:42 AMI live in NYC and pre-Covid misery I used to knock around comedy haunts here, but I rarely (never, really) saw any unusual or notable stand-up acts other than established people like Bamford. The Comedy Cellar/Dangerfield's places were usually stocked with longtime circuit comedians who had their 15-minute gag-gag-gag sets prepped, and while you'd occasionally get a surprise guest spot from someone like Chris Rock or (pre-wankbeast revelations) Louis CK trying out some interesting material, or an old hand ad-libbing their way through a set for a laugh, the expectation was that it was just going to be a string of unconnected jokes. No characters, or attempts to create a little flow or narrative or anything (and to be fair, it's not what the punters are looking for, mostly).

Even when you went to one of the bigger venues to see someone do a proper solo show, it was generally just a bunch of jokes with no obvious theme or particular structure. That seems, on the whole, to be the American model. If you want to see something a bit more outre, you'd have to go to an improv or sketch night.

And obviously the free-entry places were the same, but massively worse.

Could be I was just unlucky, and to be fair I didn't do a lot of digging about, but in the UK I'd still manage to blunder into a show with a multimedia element, say, or some kind of over-arching narrative, or a 15-minute bit done as a character, or just something more than someone in a T-shirt or moderately nice blouse doing gags about jerks in traffic.

For better or worse (worse; it's worse), "someone at a mic doing jokes" is the expectation of US audiences, not helped by loads of shite Netflix specials that are exactly that.


I think that's a fair summary and it hits a lot of the points about what leaves me flat about American stand-up very often with a few noteworthy exceptions of course.

I think a lot of these tendencies come from the way stand-up became popular in the US in mainstream comedy clubs where all comedy is considered to be largely fungible and presented in bite size chunks to any random audience which precludes a lot of other kinds of material. Of course there's an alternative scene but it always struck me as much smaller per capita than what one found in the U.K.

I also happened to see a clip of Dave Attell and Joe Rogan talking about how (in their words) supposedly British comedy had surpassed the US scene and they referenced Stewart Lee (it was clear they didn't know almost anything about him). They were incredibly dismissive and there was no real curiosity about scenes elsewhere and yes, I know they aren't perhaps the ideal people to engage on these issues but there was an insularity which was instructive. In fact Marc Maron wasn't all that well-informed or interested when he did his interview with Stew either for that matter.

Of course there are people like Maria Bamford or Dave Anthony who are different in a variety of ways too. Anthony in particular has made comments about his preference for the more cohesive British model of an hour-ish long set written and presented as a coherent piece and Stewart Lee is his favorite comedian in fact.


Scrapey Fish

Quote from: Mister Six on January 07, 2022, 05:14:42 AMI live in NYC and pre-Covid misery I used to knock around comedy haunts here, but I rarely (never, really) saw any unusual or notable stand-up acts other than established people like Bamford. The Comedy Cellar/Dangerfield's places were usually stocked with longtime circuit comedians who had their 15-minute gag-gag-gag sets prepped, and while you'd occasionally get a surprise guest spot from someone like Chris Rock or (pre-wankbeast revelations) Louis CK trying out some interesting material, or an old hand ad-libbing their way through a set for a laugh, the expectation was that it was just going to be a string of unconnected jokes. No characters, or attempts to create a little flow or narrative or anything (and to be fair, it's not what the punters are looking for, mostly).

Even when you went to one of the bigger venues to see someone do a proper solo show, it was generally just a bunch of jokes with no obvious theme or particular structure. That seems, on the whole, to be the American model. If you want to see something a bit more outre, you'd have to go to an improv or sketch night.

And obviously the free-entry places were the same, but massively worse.

Could be I was just unlucky, and to be fair I didn't do a lot of digging about, but in the UK I'd still manage to blunder into a show with a multimedia element, say, or some kind of over-arching narrative, or a 15-minute bit done as a character, or just something more than someone in a T-shirt or moderately nice blouse doing gags about jerks in traffic.

For better or worse (worse; it's worse), "someone at a mic doing jokes" is the expectation of US audiences, not helped by loads of shite Netflix specials that are exactly that.

Someone else might be able to flesh this out better but it presumably goes back to the art school ethos in the UK which reached its apex in the 80s. Certainly in music, art has been seen as the UK's secret weapon, most obviously in the post punk bands, but reaching back through Bowie and into the Beatles.

In the UK, the influence of the 80s alternative comedians is still strong, leading to a more creative and experimental scene.

What that doesn't explain is why Lee thinks US comedy has been lagging more recently in particular.

Scrapey Fish

I'd also argue that the departure of Louie CK as a credible figure and the death of Norm are leaving a big hole at the higher end of the US scene.

whatabulb

firstly, as requested, i'm from the UK and have been a fan of UK/US standup going back to the 70s.  i think that it's fair to say that at different points, each of the different scenes have had things to commend them.  (richard pryor was performing during the wheeltappers and shunters club era over here!)

these comments were also the things that really jumped out at me from Lee's newsletter as i commented on in the other thread.  it seemed a very ignorant and self-congratulatory comment coming from a self claimed "student of comedy"

we all know the kind of standups that he's referring to, bragaddocious weed-bros, joe rogan types et al.  perhaps if we give him a little more credit he also includes the east coast self-loathing left wing comedic trope.

either way it is incredibly reductive, and the current american standup scene i would say is more diverse than it ever has been, largely due to the internet allowing performers to earn a living by directly connecting with their audiences.  contrast that with the UK where everything is very much mediated by traditional media in comparison, and specifically the formulaic career path of Panel Shows(tm), and possibly Live at the Apollo, which have done more to fuck variety in UK standup than any other factor.  these are the stated parameters for success for any aspiring comedian, lest they want to be shouting into the void on the back pages of the Go Faster Stripe website catalogue.

to build on that point concerning diversity, i think that is the real difference between the UK/US scenes, and that is in part because  it is simply a much larger and more diverse society, in religious, ethnic, political, social senses.  you encounter novel stories and observations that are so outside of your own experiences, there is an opportunity for contrast and comparison and surprise that is the foundation of a lot of comedy. 

on the face of it there is a lot of diversity in UK standup, but the views expressed and actual comedy material delivered is relatively interchangeable (swap Ghanaian mums are like this, for Gujurati mums are like that) and never stray too far from what a Mock The Week booker might consider beyond the pale.    i mean that's not to say that can't be entertaining, but i've not been CHALLENGED by anything i've seen in UK standup for a very long time.  compare to a youtube show like This Is Not Happening, which i guess would kind of be the US' scene's equivalent to Mock The Week and you have comics talking about their experiences in maximum security prisons, or how they drank their own piss to get high during the peak of their meth addictions.  i'm not saying that YOU, specifically, should enjoy that, just an example of a different level of diversity of performance and material.  you could shoot back "well, you're  comparing the internet with the TV, of course it's wilder" - ok, so where is our UK based internet scene?  why is everything locked down by hat trick etc?

i think that this thread would benefit from some more specifics, before we descend into undefendable "americans are all x, brits are all y" propositions, so this is the most recent american standup special that i watched, and i would recommend it to people interested in comedy.  even if the material itself is not to your taste (personally i laughed most of the way through), there is a lot to be interested in with regards to the experimentation with the form that i would offer as a preliminary refutation that all current US standup is uninventive.  £3 on amazon prime.

https://youtu.be/cf-ql6qAIkk


whatabulb

Quote from: tribalfusion on January 07, 2022, 06:26:30 AMI also happened to see a clip of Dave Attell and Joe Rogan talking about how (in their words) supposedly British comedy had surpassed the US scene and they referenced Stewart Lee (it was clear they didn't know almost anything about him). They were incredibly dismissive and there was no real curiosity about scenes elsewhere and yes, I know they aren't perhaps the ideal people to engage on these issues but there was an insularity which was instructive. In fact Marc Maron wasn't all that well-informed or interested when he did his interview with Stew either for that matter.

on this specific point:  ari schaffir telling rogan about the Edinburgh festival after appearing there last year.  it blew his mind.

"it goes on for a MONTH??" haha.

i couldn't believe that rogan hadn't at least HEARD of it, but i guess we can also be a little arrogant in the UK about how much goes on elsewhere

Thursday

I think I heard Lee say something about this before which was that so many American stand-ups seem to largely see it as a potential path to an Acting career. And while it's certainly not like that's never not also for a lot of British stand-ups, I can definitely see that it seems to be true with so much American stand-ups and their attitudes. It's just a stepping stone for them, and thus they aren't really interested in exploring the medium, they're just doing it with building a résumé in mind. Which is why the form and content is often so generic.

ajsmith2

Quote from: whatabulb on January 07, 2022, 09:18:10 AM(richard pryor was performing during the wheeltappers and shunters club era over here!)




Read this on first glance as Richard Pryor performed AT The Wheeltapper and Shunters club! Damn, what could have been..

DrGreggles

I remember being at a New York comedy club about 20 years ago (can't remember which one, but it's downstairs and there's a man selling meatball subs outside which were fucking delicious) and every single act was a Jerry Seinfeld wannabe. The attempts at observational humour, the delivery, even the fucking clothes.
They were all dreadful. It was one of the least entertaining evenings of my life - and I've seen Comic Relief.

Not saying that's what all American stand-ups are like, as the best are obviously fantastic, but, like with sitcoms, there are so many American ones that the good ones distract from how many are absolutely fucking dog shit.

whatabulb

Quote from: ajsmith2 on January 07, 2022, 10:03:52 AMRead this on first glance as Richard Pryor performed AT The Wheeltapper and Shunters club! Damn, what could have been..

i'm not saying my mother in law's fat but sheeeit.

dissolute ocelot

In the US if you're funny it seems an established career path to go straight from YouTube to TV or other media, particularly if you do character/sketch comedy or songs, which work better on YouTube than conventional standup. Bo Burnham, Issa Rae, the Broad City girls (who started off in improv), etc. So if you're creative you don't need to do standup to make a living, or can do it on your own terms once you've made a reputation on the interwebs.

up_the_hampipe

Daniel Sloss said something about the US having the best 10% and worst 75% of the world's stand-ups. That made sense to me.

I'd say that UK stand-ups are often some of the best writers, while the US has the best performers.

Quote from: up_the_hampipe on January 07, 2022, 01:17:43 PMI'd say that UK stand-ups are often some of the best writers, while the US has the best performers.

Weirdly, this has a parallel with the world of battle rap, where you can often observe the same thing.

notjosh

Quote from: Thursday on January 07, 2022, 09:54:37 AMI think I heard Lee say something about this before which was that so many American stand-ups seem to largely see it as a potential path to an Acting career.

I can't find a link to it but I assume you mean the routine where he claims that every American stand-up is just trying to pitch their own 'my crazy family' sitcom:

"My mum's Jewish and my dad's Italian... so when I see a bagel, I don't know whether to eat it, or shove it up my ass!"

Which is sort of the thing that bothers me about most stand-up I see now, British included. So much of it seems to be built around cliched identity labels. "I'm sort of nerdy looking so here are some jokes about how unsuccessful I am on Tinder". "My parents are Muslims so here are some jokes about not having Christmas". "I come from the North and now I'm in London so here are some jokes about not talking to people on the bus."

Most of the time I couldn't give a shit about what a comedian's life is like, unless they happen to be genuinely fascinating and weird (eg Maria Bamford). What I want to know is if they've figured out a new and interesting way of looking at the world that will spark a couple of synapses in my head and give me something to take away with me.

Fundamentally I think there is a dearth of actual ideas in the stand up scene at the moment. Britain has some good purveyors of offbeat observational comedy (Acaster, Bailey, Kitson when he's in full stand-up mode) which I get a lot out of, but I can't think of any recent British acts who have impressed me with political or social commentary. The US is probably still better on this front, with the likes of CK, Burr and Stanhope, but their output has been tailing off for a few years now.

Mister Six

Oh! I forgot to say, I'm from the UK but have been in the US for six or seven years now. And I was living abroad before that, so I've not blundered into random live UK stand-up acts for aces. So take everything I say with a pinch of salt.

Quote from: Scrapey Fish on January 07, 2022, 09:04:11 AMWhat that doesn't explain is why Lee thinks US comedy has been lagging more recently in particular.

There are more interesting US comedians, but they're all middle-aged now. Or older. Or dead. Or cancelled. Maria Bamford, Louis CK, Norm MacDonald (sometimes, although I watched half of his Netflix special and it was just gag-gag-gag)... Bill Hicks occasionally had a theatricality that went beyond "standing at a stage telling jokes" and worked in themes and something of a structure.

Again, I've not approached this scientifically or in massive depth so I might be talking out of my arse - and I've not been to see any live comedy since maybe a year before Covid sprang up - but even when people have a bit of a "character" like Anthony Jeselnik it's more of a stance for telling a particular kind of joke. I watched a couple of his Netflix shows and aside from the "edgy" material just being a bit bland and obvious, I kept thinking, "Imagine if this audience sat down to watch Jerry Sadowitz at work..."

I dunno, maybe it's different in LA. Didn't Adam Buxton do Bug out there? I can't imagine their being an audience for that in New York.

jobotic

Check this out, American comics drive a car like this. Yeah but British comedians drive a car like this.

Quote from: ajsmith2 on January 07, 2022, 10:03:52 AMRead this on first glance as Richard Pryor performed AT The Wheeltapper and Shunters club! Damn, what could have been..

"My mother in law, she hates me sucking dick"

Thursday

Quote from: notjosh on January 07, 2022, 01:35:09 PMI can't find a link to it but I assume you mean the routine where he claims that every American stand-up is just trying to pitch their own 'my crazy family' sitcom:

Nah this would have been an interview or something. Can't really remember any context about who was he talking to to narrow it down though.

paruses

Quote from: Thursday on January 07, 2022, 02:26:05 PMNah this would have been an interview or something. Can't really remember any context about who was he talking to to narrow it down though.

I've heard Richard Herring mention it when he talks about the two of them going to Montreal because there was, at the time in the 90s, some interest around Lee. He says it was a real culture shock seeing the Americans doing comedy as like a showcase of their talents for agents rather than for the comedy / art form itself. He talks about them learning sets by rote so much so that when one guy missed his mark on stage he moved back to where he had been and restarted the set from there. That may well have coloured and influenced Lee's view of US standup but seems unlikely he wouldn't have updated it in 30 years. Or maybe he watches US standup with the prejudice.

Pimhole

Quote from: dissolute ocelot on January 07, 2022, 11:19:13 AMIn the US if you're funny it seems an established career path to go straight from YouTube to TV or other media, particularly if you do character/sketch comedy or songs, which work better on YouTube than conventional standup. Bo Burnham, Issa Rae, the Broad City girls (who started off in improv), etc. So if you're creative you don't need to do standup to make a living, or can do it on your own terms once you've made a reputation on the interwebs.

I think this does have a large part in it. Why slog away in your local comedy fleapit in Dipshit, Ohio when you can have a much bigger audience on YouTube or TikTok? There also doesn't seem to be the same progression from comedy clubs to late night talk shows any more. Do any of the talk shows have regular "here's a new stand up" slots any more? Or do they just lock them all up in their writers' room so the host can continue to look brilliantly funny?

I think the sheer size of the US is another factor. It's possible to live in, say, Swindon or Lancaster but still work the whole UK stand-up circuit. In the US and particularly if you want industry attention, you'd have to be in New York or LA... possibly Chicago.

Finally, I think the Edinburgh Festival makes a big difference to the UK scene. Sure it has it's problems (A LOT of problems) but it is a place where being creative, different or mould-breaking is positively encouraged AND gets a lot of industry attention if that's your aim. Edinburgh shows are reviewed in national newspapers, showcased on national TV and can lead to a solo national tour. There's nothing like that in the US and if there were, it would be totally bland, corporate and commercialised and would not have the batshit creative energy of Edinburgh.

Peabo Bryson Is Not Dead

As a Brit that's lived in LA and now in NYC, comedy is a strange beast here compared to back home.

An American comic is either huge, massive, all over every platform or a struggling writer for late night or a new (terrible) cartoon. There is no in-between, no Rob Beckett. The bigger names have streaming specials, awful podcasts and a guest spot on the plethora of network TV talent shows.

For me, I've gone off The Comedy Store, Comedy Cellar and their ilk because all the acts spew out tired tropes on race, twisted realities on nationalities (did you know the Irish like a drink?) or anal sex. That's it. There are very few fresh opinions and even less good jokes on it. There is an incredible mulch of landfill comedy here that all merge in to one.

There is still hope in the smaller clubs, the backrooms, the bizarre improvs but then a lot fall in to the same old boxes to get their big break; Black gangster, neurotic Jew, naive Midwestern brought up in a religious home, nerdy Asian. Exist outside of these definitions and you don't have a chance. Unless your parents have already worked on SNL, a place which is seemingly the filter and fork in the road for most US comedy.

It's similar to the UK system, as it were. The Alternative become the Establishment, Oxbridge, podcast buddies and sketch cliques, professional Northerners, professional homosexuals, professional Northern homosexuals... I do miss UK clubs though, whether it be pub back rooms, a City Varieties or a Glee. The talent mix is better and the diversity of gender, race, class and sexuality decades ahead of the US.

Like others have already stated, UK stand-ups have an appreciation of the live audience while US stand-ups are desperate for Lorne Michaels to be in the room or Bill Burr turning up for a guest spot so they in turn can be discovered.

There isn't going to be another Billion Dollar Jerry but there's a good build up of personalities, storytellers and acts (as opposed to a weak 6 minute spot of shite gags) coming up via TikTok because there are too many barriers everywhere else.

So, yeah. The StewartNotIain Lee is sort of correct.


tribalfusion

Quote from: whatabulb on January 07, 2022, 09:21:28 AMon this specific point:  ari schaffir telling rogan about the Edinburgh festival after appearing there last year.  it blew his mind.

"it goes on for a MONTH??" haha.

i couldn't believe that rogan hadn't at least HEARD of it, but i guess we can also be a little arrogant in the UK about how much goes on elsewhere


The US stand up scene is incredibly self-referential. It's a rare comic who even cares about the UK much less what's going on in the rest of the world.

I think that's one of the problems with it too; US comedy is disconnected largely from the world of art, theater and even just other comedy scenes to a greater extent than is the case in the UK.

At the end of the day you're not left with much to generate unusual approaches.

tribalfusion

Quote from: Thursday on January 07, 2022, 09:54:37 AMI think I heard Lee say something about this before which was that so many American stand-ups seem to largely see it as a potential path to an Acting career. And while it's certainly not like that's never not also for a lot of British stand-ups, I can definitely see that it seems to be true with so much American stand-ups and their attitudes. It's just a stepping stone for them, and thus they aren't really interested in exploring the medium, they're just doing it with building a résumé in mind. Which is why the form and content is often so generic.


I've heard Lee and others say this as well and I agree. It's part of what I was referencing in my opening post where I mentioned "the even stronger relationship between show business writ large in the U.S. and comedy."

tribalfusion

Quote from: dissolute ocelot on January 07, 2022, 11:19:13 AMIn the US if you're funny it seems an established career path to go straight from YouTube to TV or other media, particularly if you do character/sketch comedy or songs, which work better on YouTube than conventional standup. Bo Burnham, Issa Rae, the Broad City girls (who started off in improv), etc. So if you're creative you don't need to do standup to make a living, or can do it on your own terms once you've made a reputation on the interwebs.


That's true but even with those people, look at how middle brow and mainstream their content is at the end of the day.


tribalfusion

Quote from: up_the_hampipe on January 07, 2022, 01:17:43 PMDaniel Sloss said something about the US having the best 10% and worst 75% of the world's stand-ups. That made sense to me.

I'd say that UK stand-ups are often some of the best writers, while the US has the best performers.

What I think I would say is that in terms of basic skills regarding how to work a room, develop a generic set and use standard pauses and conventions to generate laughs from virtually anything, US stand-ups tend to have more expertise.

They have a lot more rooms in which they must perform for random and generic 'comedy crowds' who have no interest in anything specific and it's a fundamental part of the US idea about what stand-up comedy is i.e. you're not a good comic if you can't make 10 guys from Wall Street and 5 suburban housewives from Orange County laugh at jokes about your ethnicity/eating disorder/problems with appliances etc.

up_the_hampipe

Quote from: tribalfusion on January 07, 2022, 07:01:51 PMWhat I think I would say is that in terms of basic skills regarding how to work a room, develop a generic set and use standard pauses and conventions to generate laughs from virtually anything, US stand-ups tend to have more expertise.

I'd agree with that. I've been to Edinburgh, watched several very well-made shows by UK comics back-to-back, then gone to see a US comic who's dropping in for a couple of shows, and it always seemed like a clear level up in terms of ability, but not necessarily craft.