Culture of Comedy

by Shihang

I have been indulging in a number of British comedy shows lately and one thing that really struck me was the advanced culture of comedy in Britain. It is a place where stand-up comedians are greeted like rock stars into some of the world’s most iconic venues. I was just watching a youtube clip of Marcus Brigstocke do his comedy routine Planet Corduroy at the Apollo! Just consider. This is a venue played by every British rock group to have a song on the charts. Led Zeppelin, B.B. King all have staged legendary shows at the Apollo. That is the stature of comedians in the place.

Another thing is how comedy is entrenched in the culture. It is a national hobby, as Mr. Purvis tells us, to take a piss at the politicians. It is really interesting: today I was watching Mock the Week with Jon, and he was constantly surprised at how frank the comedians were. These people are really quite hostile to their men in power, and if you are a politician with a boo-boo in the public eye, there’s no point running for cover. Once they have you in their sights, they’ll hunt you down and they’ll get the job done.

You really should get into some of this. I personally recommend Argumental and Mock the Week as good starting points. People like Dara O’Brien, David Mitchell and Marcus Brigstocke are very funny and  diverse comedians. That’s another thing you don’t get in Singapore. Here, you’re funny if you belt out a tune about Singapore in parliament with generally questionable syntax. Over there you have the insult comedians, the shock comedians, the dry and seasoned comedian, the dry and caustic comedian, the Irish and Scottish comedians and best of all, the Northern comedians (“I shat thunder!”).

My personal favourite is Frankie Boyle:

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