Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I've been reading again. George Burns. Bob Hope. Jack Benny.

Chances are, if you can access a blog, these names are foreign to you. This is your misfortune.

But each wrote about how they developed their characters -- or, rather, how their audiences developed their characters for them. The audience laughed harder at Benny's cheap jokes. So Benny became, well, the tight-fisted Benny we knew. George Burns said he started off making the jokes -- but the audience laughed at anything Gracie said. So he stopped making jokes.

They did their development in vaudeville and in radio, while it was still a new medium. They had the luxury to experiment.

No such experimentation is permitted in the modern media. Not as near as I can tell. You hit -- or you miss -- mostly you miss -- and I can't afford to miss. I can barely afford the fare home.

So I can't hear you laugh. Or boo. Or heckle (this last seems to me a great advantage, now that I think about it). But I can see if there's traffic. I can read comments, should any be made. I can develop a "style" here, in obscurity, and maybe, over time, develop a following, too.

Who knows? I could be that next Internet hundred-aire....

I choose to remain anonymous. This way I can say what I want, how I want to, without having to worry about what others may think of me. Without embarrassing my family. Without worrying about telling the abosolute, unvarnished truth at all times because, you know, comedy is about exaggeration, not about careful reporting.

Anyway, I shall begin this Second Effort at blogging with this little manifesto and see what develops from here. I reserve the right to comment on affairs local and otherwise. I will not always be funny (like, so far, for instance) -- but I will not always try to be funny either.

And we'll see what develops together. So far "we" is me and the mouse next to my keyboard. (How's that for updating an old chestnut?)

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