29 June 2008

Applause, Applause

Elvira Kurt is a very funny stand up comic. If you get the chance to see her, do. In person, on Youtube, wherever.

When I found out she was coming to GWU, I got tickets. There was a choice of the 7 pm or the 10 pm show. We're old, ergo, we went to the 7 pm show Saturday night.

She was funny as were the warm-up comics: Trevor Boris, Jackie Monahan and Vidur Kapur.

Here's the thing... (by now, you know there's always a thing...)

The entire 7 pm show, and different shots of the 7 pm audience, were filmed for a special that's going to air on Logo. So, it's possible we'll be on television. That's fine. If anyone happens to get Logo (we don't) and can record it for us, that would be great.

What's less fine: They took 40 minutes to set up the audience in just the right configuration and get whatever technical difficulties they were having worked out. It's hard to feel enthusiastic and upbeat for a comedy show after that long a wait. And there were pauses in between acts while the crew reset things. The pauses were brief, but in a comedy show, timing is everything and it's really easy to lose momentum.

Also, before the show, in addition to having us clap and cheer for a couple minutes while they filmed so they could pretend the crowd went wild after the show, they filmed us giving a standing ovation. I get that "applause" signs are as old as television but a standing o? We did so much pretend cheering and clapping that my hands hurt.

When the show actually was over, the performers all came out and... we gave them a standing ovation. I'd like to think it was real but I dunno. It's possible the audience felt that this was what we'd practiced so we might as well do it again.

It made me wonder about all those times I've seen specials on television and there's a standing ovation at the end... How many were filmed before the show? How many were strongly suggested?


Alexa said...

tv shows are all about editing. i try not to be jaded when i watch stuff but when you know about practiced standing o's it's hard not to be.

Lemmonex said...

Yeah, I am with Alexa here--it is all pretty much manufactured.

I am glad you liked the show. I saw Dave Chapelle at GW when I was a student (maybe in 2000?) and he was horrific. He is a funny guy and everyone has bad days, but it was a huge letdown. He was so bad we walked out.

Kristin said...

Interesting. I think I get Logo. I'll keep an eye out for the show. Well, first I'll look for the channel, THEN I'll look for the show. I'd probably be grumpy after all that clapping. I'm not happy and I know it.

Bilbo said...

Many years ago I was part of the studio audience for one of those locally-televised academic challenge shows back home in Pittsburgh. It was pretty much the same thing you experienced...we were coached not only in when and how long to clap, but also HOW to clap - they told us to clap with cupped hands, which apparently made individual applause units sound louder and implied a larger audience.

GreenCanary said...

"Standing 'O'" sounds dirty. I love it.

The only comedy show I ever saw was with some guy whose name I can't remember now. He was funny though. Richard Smeckler? Gary Richardson? Dude. I can't remember.

lacochran said...

Alexa: You'd think after watching The Biggest Loser, I'd realize it's all editing but somehow it never occurred to me that they'd fake the standing ovations.

Lemmonex: Walked out?! Wow. That's gotta suck to be a performer and know you're not nailing it and watch people walk out.

Kristin: Thanks!

Bilbo: Geez. That's even worse!

Green: Yeah, there's nothing worse than faking an "o". Let's go with Richard Smeckler--it sounds funnier.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Elvira was in town?!?! Why am I always the last to find out about these things after the fact! Grr. Momentum-killing interruptions aside, I'm sure she was hilarious!

lacochran said...

J.M.: If I'd known you were interested, I would have spread the word! She was indeed hilarious!