Don Moses Comedy & Magic Blog - A light hearted look at life, comedy and magic.

Monday, August 20th, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Joie de vivre

There is a very funny comedian called Tim Clark who plays the Comedy Store in London and Manchester, he is the bald one on TV (oh good Don, that narrows it down).  Tim has locked into, what it is like to be a forty-something bloke, living in Britain in 2007.  He does this “bit” about the kind of cynicism that only comes with age.  He starts by saying, when children are invited to a party, they get all excited – that doesn’t happen when you are an adult.  As in, first adult says:
“Shall we go to the party?”
Second adult says,
“No, it will be shit and we’ll never get a taxi”
“Have you seen the new guy at work?”
“Yea he’s a twat”.
Tim’s delivery is great and the mainly British audience always laugh.

So is cynicism uniquely British?  Well, I can tell you that I have performed comedy and magic at International Conventions and I can always spot a Brit, even from a distance.  Anyone, who has a smile and an inquisitive look on their face, will be from a different country.  The Brit will (almost always) look wary.  It maybe, because, we have been brought up with a very British (pessimistic) outlook on life and this makes us very reluctant to let ourselves go immediately.  Or, maybe it is our fear of not appearing cool – damn Elvis and his example of being cool all the time (well apart from the overweight toilet dying, obviously).

I hate to tell Tim, but it is not just our world weary adults who are pessimistic, it is also our young.  Having taught in schools and colleges I have noticed that the age of cynicism is very low.  This lack of “joie de vivre”**, in Britain, is always highlighted when you watch a TV programme of a school in Africa, where the smiling happy, very poor, children, are embracing education, and then you compare them with our “am I bothered” pupils.

Why am I telling you this? – Well, I have noticed (as have other magicians) that the very best part of my job is the removing of cynicism and pessimism for the duration of my act.  Yes, the continental Europeans, the Italians, the French, the Spanish and even the Germans will relax and enjoy the act immediately.  I think this may be due to the Continentals being more family orientated; they are quick to drop their guard and revert to a child-like innocence.  The Brits will also enjoy the show but only after an initial first minute when they “suss out” that you aren’t going to take the piss (or if you do, it will be good natured and won’t be personal).
And that is why I got into comedy and magic, and anyone who says, it is just for the money, is quite obviously wrong.

*comedians call a topic, about a particular subject, a “bit”, it is usually more than one joke, and sometimes depending on the comedian could last a long time, for example: Peter Kay’s “things that happen at a wedding” is a “bit”.

** It is ironic, that we have to use the French saying, and that we don’t have our own snappy phrase for enjoying life, isn’t it?

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Don performs as a wedding magician, corporate entertainer, and after dinner speaker at events throughout the country. London Magician, Manchester Magician, Liverpool Magician, Birmingham Magician, Newcastle Upon Tyne Magician, Magician Surrey, Edinburgh Magician, Oxford Magician, Bristol Magician, Magician Milton Keynes, Leicester Magician, Leeds Magician, Magician Kent.