Tilt Republic. Johannesburg. New York. Cape Town. London.

fuck’s playthings.

{Ed’s note: this is a cut & paste melange from a folder entitled ‘bits of chaos’, probably best read drunk.}

Sitting at the Armchair, show’s about three hours away and I have nothing but this ‘chilaxed preshow twilight zone time’ on my hands. It’s a weird saying, given that time is far better at killing us. An unnecessarily depressing facet I feel, but entertaining if you look at it with the right kind of eyes.
I’m hosting tonight, which requires more spontaneous play than anticipated material. The wordy equivalent of a dancing monkey. That’s hosting’s double standard, less stress, more pressure, an exceedingly weird combination because it requires me to look bored while I feel fear. Sometimes it helps to have a drug addled history.

 

The moment becomes the gagbook, the mic a pen, a supremely insane moment to find yourself in; a room full of people waiting for your brain to do something funny and sometimes, it doesn’t. That’s when you bomb, reach deep for a graceful dismount and pretend like you don’t care- next gag, stay poised, be cool.

 

Great comedy happens where it wants, spontaneous or contrived, rehearsed or hashed, it doesn’t give a fuck. The only crucial ingredient is the audience, comedy people are the only thing that matters without them the entire thing doesn’t.
So, about the texture of what happens here, on Sundays, has left me with a few ideas. First off, there’s a manifest vandal inspired thirst for destruction. Eager to fuck shit up, stick their chests out and declare a sinister allegiance to the republic of fuck. A difficult thing, but rather more-ish when done well. Comedy underground is.
We’re all very quick to engage offence for its own sake, transgressing socially by firing taboo after blasphemy into the crowd. I, of course, have little problem with such sentiment. Our stage is a shrine to speech’s freedom; the mic stand a voodoo charm to ward off prudes, but we can’t ignore the responsibility our freedom implies. Be funny.
Our radical swagger needs reigning in, tightening up and more than anything else adherence to the funny. Without humour and cultivated charm this moral-social transgression gets far too ugly. We don’t need the contrived, tired kind of forced nicety but the stuff of overflow, sincere sentiment wrapped in excessive grit- it’s not about smiling.
I glance back at this god awful century and see little to be extraordinarily proud of, and that is an achievement on it’s own but the novelty of apathy has warn thin. There’s this perpetual notion that the best is to come, where Thompson & Kerouac wrote of a golden era that was, I can’t shake the idea that ours is en route.
We are a forgiving bunch, there’s much slack in this collective noose we’ve spun. Our cleverness and empathy has done well to ease some of the existential angst, but a need for a grand gesture still looms, we must unfuck this greying dystopia run by business pigs and zealots. A bullshit situation; artists wait tables and white collar slavers piss their undeserved blood money into our drinking water.
There are Witbank residents that walk to a river for water while we leave our taps running. It’s a bizarre testament to the lack of African solidarity that we actually shit in our fresh water. These problems make aesthetic ones less glorious. Shit politicians and general indifference to our proletariat turns caring about art into a selfish thing. This is a relevant sin.
Now I know that a culture that embraces fucking up is a healthy one, sure we get lashed at times but we learn from our mistakes. I enjoy the fact that comics flirt with boundaries, fuck up and return to those boundaries after they’ve learnt their brutal lessons. A certain gusto and toughness goes with that.
There is a heightened liberal sensibility that does damage to this process, the idea that all destructive behaviour is negative. It’s an aggressive sentiment that rubs that bravely-creative gleam out of our craft. 
Destruction comes in so many variations, we see it everywhere because it’s the kind of behaviour that feeds attention. A consequence of surrounding ourselves with contrived platforms is that they fall prone to editorial trends. Our online republic has a filter on it and it’s dictated to by advertisers and which ever PR lobbyist found the reporter first. Someone’s driving and it isn’t me.
Politicians are trying to destroy their opposition, ideologies issue their adherents weapons on a daily basis and individuals, be they secular or fundamentally flawed, pay premium rates, with wide eyed enthusiasm, to watch the spectacle unfold. In this shit storm you’re either watching or bleeding.
The Middle East is eating itself alive when it’s not being eaten by the Allied oil pigs and every other day some desolate skid mark of a third world country promotes another dick to the podium.
This is what my newspaper tells me because it’s all true.
If it bleeds it leads, now the problem with this isn’t that it’s negative, no, the problem is that it’s one dimensional. Whenever destruction, the act of making something un-exist, is reported on, people tend to respond negatively.
CNN might be applauding US intervention, or our very own state owned news might justify police brutality, but that message is never assimilated by the thinking people I talk to. They distrust and analyse and find reasons broader than the ones prescribed. What happens though, through all the truly beautiful liberal sentiment, is a toxic sensitivity. The coat hanger gets thrown out with the foetus.

 

We need destruction, it’s an important part of our biome, our culutral zeitgeist needs it, our economy needs it and our sanity needs it. Progression requires shit to get broken regularly. Break shit often.

 

Destruction interests me because it’s so prevalent, cultivating a dislike for it would devalue my surroundings too severely.

 

Liking something because it’s there seems a little back footed and pragmatic (in a docile way). The thing is, I think I like destruction for it’s own sake, despite the fact that it’s kind of edgy or inevitable.

 

People who like things because they’re a necessity are different to people who like things for their own sake. Being a fan of gravity doesn’t make your aesthetic disposition interesting, it just makes you practical. But liking something that is both abstract and transcendent lends a sexy headiness that conventional pragmatism doesn’t always grasp. Clever appreciation.

 

The reason I think I’d admire destruction even if it wasn’t a necessity or so damn cool has three edges to it.

 

You can’t question its sex quotient. Marla Singer versus Mary Poppins, a spoon full of sugar versus an arm full of scag- well, there’s no real debate there. That Yolandi Vi$$er-esque twisted kind of dirt filled pretty with its self destructive swag.

 

Size zero fascination has ideas that stretch beyond skinny, it rings with a little whisper in our collective libido and if you have the right kind of ears you can hear it echo: “die for me darling”.

 

When an idea, person or thing is pushed to destruction we get to see what its capable of. The point just before it breaks is its strongest. Sure the point just after is its weakest, but that just sounds like balance to me. I’m geeking out a little here with my Nietzschean fapping but lets consider what the stache said;

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

What about what kills you shows everyone just how strong you are?

We don’t want to know how strong people are, we want to know how strong they aren’t. The entire industry of sport rests on that very principle, the human need to see another’s breaking point. Reality television celebrates it, sport showcases it and we adore it- destruction is interesting because it deals with the real and the objectively consequent.

 

I think that is why we attend comedy shows or watch motor racing or open the newspaper, to see the beautiful spectacle one more time. Inadvertently an obsession with destruction is an obsession with strength, by promoting it we, by proxy, promote survival- an irrelevant sentiment without the threat of destruction.

 

So before you shy from an overtly destructive on stage persona think, the nihilistic pageantry is as much a reflection of existence’s brutal regime as a willing construct.

Thanks for reading. 

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