I have made this blog as a place for me to collect thoughts and just write in general. It’s all going to be comedy related but beyond that broad umbrella I can’t say what it’s going to include. Something exciting or at the very least interesting I hope.
I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Graham Oakes, I am 22 years old, just finished a degree in Fine Art and have decided now is a good time to get into stand up comedy. Art, theatre and comedy have always been a massive part of my life so going into stand-up doesn’t feel like too great a break from the norm, the only people who have been surprised at my ambition have been people with no knowledge of my comedy history (which I will get into another time).
I think the word ambition is a good place to start. I asked myself the age old question ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ Over the course of my degree I have seen myself doing lots of things but the one thing that sticks at the front is entertaining people. I see myself making people laugh. Over the past 4 years I have seen myself as an artist, web designer and I guess an overall creative designer, with interests growing in video and other forms of digital media. 6 months ago that really was the only path that seemed logical, a way to use my degree and utilise my expansive number of skills at the same time. And I think all of that is what I see myself doing, but as part of something greater. After completing a fine art degree I know there are a number of people contemplating becoming artists of the freelance variety; i.e. they plan to make money from their art.
One of the most important things I have learnt over the past years is that art can almost be anything at all so long as it makes you feel. If something makes you feel an emotion or conjures up a memory then it is art. Theatre is art. Music is art. Comedy is art. It is the reason why some people see a piece of contemporary art and declare ‘that is not art’ because to them it isn’t, it doesn’t do what art is supposed to do. But to someone else it is art, because they feel something from it.
As an artistic person, I suppose the question you need to ask yourself is ‘what do you want people to feel?’ I think the question can be rephrased a lot more self-centred than that; ‘what gives you the greatest satisfaction?’ My art has always had a ‘wow’ factor usually through people being amazed at a certain technical skill, whether it be a photo realistic representation of something or the digital prowess to create an interactive art piece. I get a lot of satisfaction out of art, but does it give me the greatest? Maybe it’s the instant satisfaction that comedy provides; maybe it’s the obvious reaction that comedy provides. I don’t think you can get much better than making people laugh. Yes, it’s both those things. Comedy is a nice simple form of art, the emotion it provokes is instant and obvious and it provides an engagement with the audience that most art lacks. I’m all for leaving something in an exhibition to let people look at it, think its interesting and for them to mull over what it all means for days on end, but in 5 years time I see myself on stage making the grand total of visitors to said exhibition all react simultaneously and instantaneously the way I get the greatest satisfaction from.
Well, it would seem this post has managed to cover the justification for comedy as an art form, the meaning of art and quite possibly the very meaning of life itself. When I said interesting, I was thinking more along the lines of what I planned to do tomorrow, but no matter.