Thursday night was a first for me! My first live stand-up show! The new one of the great Ricky Gervais, an english humorist with a caustic humour, sarcastic or even aggressive, vulgar at times. As “usual” (just like a regularly-fed blog) nothing is worth more than a Youtube link
to test the water…
6.30 pm, on our way to the BIC (Bournemouth International Center). A parking space, a park to walk through, more and more people on the pavements, there we are, just some stairs left and we rush into the reassuring warmth of that crowded foyer…
There we are, part of the family. To the invitation to the group “I was at the BIC for Ricky Gervais’ live on the 19/11/2009 » on Facebook, we can now click on the “Accept” button. How many members in that family? A handful of thousands of them… And as many people having their tickets lying in a pocket, crumpled in their right hands (some people haven’t got any left hand… nor any pocket) or safely kept in a handbag… The common point that binds us all together, that piece of paper. Our thoughts? Not quite sure… It’s what I was wondering throughout this night. What is this human hive thinking about? What is it like if we isolate this small fat guy or this mother with way too much make-up on, and that we increase the volume inside their skull?
Look at those three for instance… They seem pretty happy, in the middle of a conversation, one of them says a joke, the two others laugh, one of them comments, the other smiles at the comment while the first one ignores it, too worried about how to elegantly put an end to his arrogant smile, his look diving into the infinity of his self-esteem. A quick look at the watch, a furtive thought, but a thought still, the one linking them to the reason why they are standing there…
« Excuse-me! », the look filled with surprise, he said it as a reflex, no idea whether he means it or not, he just brushed against the beautiful purple shirt of this overproud live wire. People don’t like contacts. He resumes his quest, he’s lost. Why not stopping and looking around rather than walking without analysing his environment and declaring war on the 5 persons he’s bumped into? “Yeah, but if I don’t move I look like being lost whereas if I walk it’s less visible.” Interesting.
We are all constantly seeking happiness, whatever we do, consciously or inconsciously. Of course “happiness” is a really vast concept, but would it be totally erroneous to suppose that it is always fed by emotions? No counter-example in sight… I’m in the BIC entrance hall. How many people are phoning on those stairs, the Ricky Gervais’ ticket in the pocket? A dozen, probably. They are laughing, moving, shouting, stammering… Perhaps it’s an important call, perhaps a professional obligation, a family incident, etc. But what about the rest of them? There are obviously some persons who have chosen it, who called one of their friends “Allo?! Hey, I’m at the BIC for Ricky Gervais’ live show. It’s only starting in half an hour, I’m bloody early. Where are you?”. Between ‘that’ and standing in the middle of the crowded hall they chose ‘that’. It could be quite understandable of course: “breathing some fresh air” and “socializing” have always been certified as healthy and conventionally respectable activities. Very well.
“They are just actions.”, will you tell me. “You cannot judge anybody that quickly”, and you will probably be right once again. But I actually do not judge those people, I do nothing but observe, wonder, trust my intuitions or impressions, I try to imagine in order to understand.
OK, let’s suppose these people are really like I vaguely described them above. Let’s move them to a concourse some minutes earlier. Apart from the quick thought in a corner of the watch or the phone call conversation topic, what has changed? Nothing? Yeah, yeah, yeah people in the BIC entrance hall were obviously thinking something like “I really liked his last show, I hope this one will be nice too.”, “I’m looking forward to seeing if our seats are nice.”, “The ceiling is very high! Impressive!… That could be a good starting point for a conversation.”, “I hope Mary will enjoy the show, I have the impression that I have dragged her off here…”, “It contains mature content, interesting, intellectual blabla”, etc. But again, let’s remove everything that is purely pragmatic! What’s left? These thoughts are relating to actions or palpable, concrete facts, be they past events or events to be: booking a ticket, watching the very last show, the ceiling is high (full stop), Mary was tied to the back of the car with a rope on their way to the BIC, there is ‘Contains mature content’ on the show poster, etc.
So my question is the following: At which degree are our emotions, imagination and thoughts influenced by the environment and the co-actors of our actions?
As the years go by, by trying to compare my vision of the world with others’, I have realised that I am constantly listening to my five senses, being on the lookout for any emotion, in short the characteristics of hypersensibility. The latter coupled up with a bit of imagination and you get a tendency to escape the real world, to daydream, diving into more or less long images and reflections fed by any sensation.
Stairs, coldness, a door, a big room filled with people. They are all here for the same thing, and yet we all have different lives. What have they done today? A man takes a look at his mobile phone, slips his jacket on while switching off his computer’s screen, closes his bag, and takes another useless look at his mobile phone saying goodbye to his colleagues chatting at the desk next to his. That man is here.
Only one man, that gathers us together. In some minutes, everybody will be looking at him. A single person entertaining thousands of others only using his body as a tool. He is probably just a few meters far from us, more or less alone. What is he thinking about? Is he anxious? Is he thinking about this crowd down there waiting for him. A fascinating job. 4,000 persons waiting for something. They sit down. He talks during one hour. People are happy, that’s over. A quick look at the ticket. If I were him, Would I be curious to know what the tickets sold for my show in every theatre are like? Probably.
Etc. Etc. I don’t even know why I’m writing all that. An urge, a need to describe an ‘idea’ more than examples. But I won’t go any further into the analysis. Nothing coherent? Yes, that is coherent but… according to me. I think I like this blog at the end of the day. If you’ve got any question, no problem…
Quick word about the show in itslef. I really liked it. Would have I liked it that much if it would have been in my native tongue? No idea. I’m usually not very keen on stand-up shows but I like Rickey Gervais’ shows. This guy has an impressively easy way to play, an interesting punctuation and rhythm. Transitions are subtle and almost invisible if you don’t pay much attention. And to make it even more fluent, he balances the ‘non-acting’ and acting parts very well, which gives the image of a character who is not too peculiar, nor too serious and who can lightly tackle more or less critical issues in our society. Let’s talk about the content then! What I like about that humorist is that sarcastic and aggressive side, not caring about conventions, taboos or critics. He does them all: disabled, gays, fats, religion, etc. “A standard stand up show”. No! Because again, if it were a standard show, that wouldn’t make me laugh and the moralist and couldn’t-care-less attitude would upset me.
Finally, as I said it above, the tongue plays maybe a role in my perception of that show. You are a chemist and someone says a joke related to some chemistry’s field, you will laugh. Why? Because as well as the potential comic force of the joke, you laugh because you understand the joke’s level, there is that extra contentment in you that congratulates you on having understood the joke. It is the same when you’re starting to master a foreign language I reckon. Well, that’s the case for me. That added to the fact that my sensibility never gives me a rest and that in those moments I see myself from an external point of view, noting that, after some years, here I am, sitting among those english people watching an English-speaking show, laughing my head off. Like a father, with a tear in his eye, looking at the smiling face of his son who eventually knows cycling without the training wheels… Yes, yes it is a good comparison.
Oh yes, the bitter guy inside me wanted to state that he’s fed up with this habit that people have of spending their lives eating and gulping down liters of Coke in cinemas and theatres! Not only do you bloody annoy everybody around, but you miss important details and you could have saved your appetite to savouryour next meal even more… Personnally, I can’t do that when watching a movie (except New Moon obviously…). I always have the impression to have missed something out…
This being said, have a great day people!!!