Tim: [00:00:00] I'm Tim Panton ,
Vim: [00:00:02] and I'm Vimla Appadoo
Tim: [00:00:03] and this is the distributed future podcast where we interview people who are doing interesting niche, often things about what they think the future is gonna look like based on what they're doing. Now, this episode is going to sound a little dated and it's a little unfair to. To, our guests because it's now post the Corona virus.
Things have happened that changed our lives in a big way and, and it was recorded pre that time. So, I've actually had a chat with her since, and her view is that they are some of the answers she gave are wrong. But the general sense of it is roughly right. And so I think it's interesting, still interesting to hear, but you know, do cut us both some Slack that we recorded this, well, five, six weeks ago now.
And so it's a different, different story. So . the topic though, it was about like the value of audiences and, and how standup works these days and how it differs from the past and where it's going in the future. So it was about comedy. It's not like we're, we're deliberately not being funny. so it's like, it's not a, a, abundant laughs, but, but it is interesting about what's like, how much comedy is shifted over the years and how it's continuing to shift.
Vim: [00:01:27] It's really interesting and I think I actually was meant to be going to see Romesh Ranganathan next week, which I assume has been canceled. I don't know. I have not received anything about the tickets, but there is that weird thing if I actually, he probably could do a virtual online life gig
because comedy is one of the things I think could work.
Tim: [00:01:49] Yeah. I mean, part of the conversation.
To what extent is
it different from television? Like
Vim: [00:01:58] that's
Tim: [00:01:59] Yeah. And, and then TV with a live audience is different from without one and like how do you get a live audience? And all that feedback is, one of the things that the Roo was talking about was, was how in learning the craft, a lot of it is actually listening to how the audience are responding to her jokes.
And Eddie seeing the. You know, the set based on what works and what doesn't. and so without the audience, how do you get
to be a great comic?
Vim: [00:02:32] Yeah. Yeah. And it wouldn't work if everyone in the, let's say you did a video call, say zoom, and, the comedian was live, but everyone in the audience had their mikes on, so you could hear them laughing.
It just wouldnt work, but you're not disconnected. Is going to be good enough for you, Mike couldn't be getting,
Oh yeah. I can't imagine that working.
Tim: [00:02:57] Yeah. I mean, if you look at things like, Twitch, for example, that, that has this whole thing of like, is it raining down little emojicons. So you're watching the thing and then anyone can like drop us an emojicon, which will then float down the screen.
So you're going to a sense of so how people are responding in the moment to it, which is sort of like a visual kind of visual clapping basically. I mean, there's chat down the side, but that's always like, it takes a while to type something so you don't get the instant response, whereas you can whack the the laugh or like button or whatever quite quickly.
And so you get quite fast feedback on, on all the response. But it's not, I don't know. I mean much harder to interpret
than than. Room, I think.
Vim: [00:03:45] yeah, definitely.
Tim: [00:03:47] But yeah, I mean, I've been like. Been spent my time, last few weeks looking at exactly that issue of like, how do you build virtual social experiences.
you know, cause I found that I'd actually accidentally built a couple anyway, like this is this thing, what we record this on is effectively one. I mean, it's not exactly social, but it sort of is actually, So I spent some time like actually building other ones for like, you know, a virtual dinner party look like what's wrong with, or more interestingly like what's wrong with zoom for a virtual dinner
Why doesn't it work out? To what extent does it work? And, and it's funny, I don't know if you've done one of those, if you don't have
done a, a
virtual dinner with somebody who's a long way away yet. Yeah. If not, you should try it. It's kind of interesting. It's sort of nice in a way, but then there are things that are wrong, like you're eating different food, like see these now you can't say, Oh, try this.
Cause like, you know, they cook
something different for you all. And
Vim: [00:04:55] unless you try and cook the same thing.
Tim: [00:04:59] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, you should do that. Maybe
you should like, but
then, you know, it's not always possible to get everything,
Vim: [00:05:06] so especially not now.
Tim: [00:05:08] Right, right. So. Actually having the food. The thing that we found most difficult is having a food arrive at the table at the same time. So you've got, it's like kind of, well I come on, I like to start cause it's sitting here and you guys aren't ready yet.
It's getting cold, you know. That's kind of, that's, that's been, that's been an interesting kind of social experiment. I mean,
not necessarily what I would have chosen to have done, but
Vim: [00:05:38] I'm getting more used to drinking tea on video. So whenever I've been in a virtual meeting or even just the phone chat, I've conceived, what if I was just with you or, but definitely have a cup of tea in my hands, or if I was
it's meeting in the office. I've definitely have a cup of tea, so I need to just get
better at doing that whilst on video because this is just, it's so normal, right? Yeah.
Tim: [00:06:01] And you can't wait. You know, you can't go way down. It's like, yeah. Yeah, I know. I mean, it's funny that those, I mean, it reminds me of that, interview we did a year and a bit ago, with Sarah O'Donnell about, about remote working and yeah.
Yeah. That all of that stuff is very much
on point now, which is all.
Vim: [00:06:30] Yeah, and it's actually, it's, it's interesting the, where you changed their mind about a lot of the things he said because it, to me, that is true of a lot of businesses that are forced to be remote. Now. who said that they never would.
Be able to, or, that didn't give their employees the freedom to, or
whatever the reasoning might have
been. It's kind of, well, when you're not given that choice, when you're forced to work from home, you make it happen. So I think, and I think that's gonna happen to the entertainment industry as well
as going to, you've got no choice.
Now. You're going to have to figure out how this works remotely.
Tim: [00:07:05] Yeah. I, I'm, I feel almost, I mean, comedians, I, I feel very sorry for her cause I think it's really difficult for them. but I also feel very sorry for, for young bands. I know a couple of different bands who are like, you know, who at this point should be doing pubs.
Yeah. They should be doing the round of pubs and, and polishing their act with a live audience and they can,
they can put out an EP or something.
Vim: [00:07:34] Yeah. But to me that there's a huge opportunity that if like say there were so many virtual house parties going on at the moment, that provides the music full of them.
But my friend's been during, live youtube deejaying for parties on a, on a Saturday night, and you get a bunch of people to join the live stream
and have your party. And I think that it's like, there are things like that where I'm like, yeah, that's definitely wrong. To really become known.
Tim: [00:08:05] And interesting and, and yeah.
Yeah. I mean, it's, there's a whole load of kind of forced innovation. going on at the moment. The problem is that a lot of the people who would like to be doing that innovation are busy keeping the lights on like it's, and like I'm in a weirdly lucky position that I can tinker with this real time stuff.
Like all of my peers are just busy keeping, I don't know, Google Hangouts running or Jitsi or whatever running because like they've suddenly got 100 or maybe not. But like 50 times as many users and you know, and it's kind of vitally important that it works. So people are like, yeah, right.
Vim: [00:08:56] People are dependent on it
Tim: [00:08:57] Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I've seen seen things, people are saying, well, we won't roll out that, that, that improvement because we don't dare break it. So it's an interesting kind of shift of emphasis for, for those people. So,
you know, I'm
really, I mean, I, I wouldn't
want to be
under as much pressure as they are under at the moment, you know? Yeah.
Vim: [00:09:25] I don't know how I feel worst for, like councils that are trying to deliver vital services, not the NHS, cause that's a whole nother ball game. But like local councils do. They bring one to services. I've been connection and just trying to keep society going. All the people
that. Trying to keep work going, so you servers your Amazons your Googles by all of those.
Tim: [00:09:49] I actually, for me personally, keeping busy is like, makes it easier not to. Obsess about it. you know, any day when I haven't got something to do is a day when I start fretting. So like having it, having a sense of doing something that might be socially
it's not actually actively dangerous, is probably quite, quite good for you.
And also, right. but knowing what's actively dangerous is. What's the problem? So we'll find out. We'll find out. No doubt. There'll be a, like this data will come out in the end, but so yeah. Were there any other kind of points that you pull out of, of, of, of what Roo said or, I mean, I should just reemphasize that, that I, you know, it is a little unfair to play this now, but, she said, okay.
And, and so I figure we should, we should play, cause it's quite an interesting
conversation if you kind of look at it through the correct lens, but it's, we've been overtaken by the future.
Vim: [00:10:56] I like that.
Roo: [00:11:08] hello?
I'm Roo Stelin
I'm a comedian based in Manchester.
about it. Really.
Tim: [00:11:18] Okay. So, so what, like what kind of comedian are you? Are you, like, do you write books or you stand up or what's the, what's the,
what's your audience look like?
Roo: [00:11:28] I usually do stand up. I've been working on some musical comedy, but I've not actually put that on anywhere at the, at the time.
being. Mmm. I mostly do kind of, gigs around like Manchester luncher in North
Wales at the moment,
Tim: [00:11:48] and those
Roo: [00:11:49] fairly small pub gigs.
Tim: [00:11:51] Right, right. So, so like the audience is right in front of you and they are, do they know you already or like are they complete. Strangers.
Roo: [00:11:59] It depends.
Some places, some gigs you get your regulars and some gigs.
It's just really like different audiences every time. Like, I do a gig in Manchester called barking tails, there is a mental health themed night. Yeah. And that has pretty much the same, the same audience. Every month and, but a lot of the pub gigs, like the ones around local pubs, they get a lot the same audiences, whereas the bigger ones in like comedy clubs tend to get a different audience every time and kind of more people who just want a night out rather than like
die hard comedy fans.
Tim: [00:12:47] So I'm kind
of trying to relate this to some of the things that I do about like. Building online communities and whatever. And so like, do you have a different way of dealing with a group who, you know, might have heard you before and like, you build a relationship with them
or, or what?
Roo: [00:13:08] Oh, yeah, definitely.
if you do an a gig that you do all the time, or if, yeah, if you're doing, material in front of an audience, yes. Seeing you a lot before and you know that then you can kind of, you can kind of skip through, some parts of their life, not so much, then it doesn't make sense. But you can kind of do parts of the setup more briefly.
And, that's, that's actually really handy for, if you want to try a joke a different way. so, recently as I've had a joke that I'm not really happy with how it's been ending. So I've been trying it a different way and it's really good to, to, to try that on audiences that I've performed in front of a lot before.
Cause it, if I know they've already heard it, I'll know if the new ending is,
is actually any good.
Tim: [00:14:06] Oh, wow. Okay. So, so, so the others, a bunch of questions that come out of that, one of which is like, how do you know if, what's your measure for it working? Is it the laugh? Is it like the faces? How do you, how do you
pick up on that?
What's your feedback loop there?
Roo: [00:14:23] It's usually, it's usually laugh, the laugh. if you get an applause break, that's, especially good. but sometimes it's even a different. Front type of laughter like, kind of more of a sudden loud laugh. Is is always a good sign that
Tim: [00:14:43] that hit a nerve or something
Roo: [00:14:48] they didn't expect it to go the way that it was going to go. .
Tim: [00:14:53] Okay, and do you like, is that, that's just the way that you, you've heard that laugh or do you actually like, do you listen back to a recording
or like do you scientifically measure it or what?
Roo: [00:15:07] Well, a lot of comedians do record themselves, but I really can't bear to hear my voice recording.
You record myself, I ask the people to listen to it. Oh, I may
cause I can't stand the way my voice sounds,
Tim: [00:15:25] but, but you're, you're always, Mmm. Like in the moment you're kind of getting a sense of all that worked and, and getting it right then? Or is it like retrospective that you think, Ooh,
like kind of work better tonight?
Roo: [00:15:42] It's definitely that, kind of feeling. And if I'm, if I'm intending to do a lot of new material, I might take a notebook and literally tick or cross core what works. But more often than not, if I'm doing a proper gig, not an open mic, then it is just a, just a feeling like that works better than the other way or.
Sometimes it didn't if it didn't work.
Tim: [00:16:10] And to me, thinking about the communities that you're working with, do you like, do you feel like you're building up a, a community around or a group who around you? Or is it around the place or is it around like a subject?
I'm trying to get a sense of what the coalescing thing is.
Roo: [00:16:33] I'd say it could be any of those, like there were, there are certain nights that have people who always go to them. Mmm. Like the same. The same comedians go to show, to show support or to perform the same audience members go. And there is a community that kind of builds around individual gigs, like, Xs.
Malarkey has got a, the community, like there's always the same people. who go and same with one called blizzard comedy in the Northern quarter. whereas there are also kind of like, I suppose, people. And who kind of you end up working together more either. like bookers tend to book acts that they like or who they get results from.
Or comedians who have similar styles will kind of help each of their get gigs and work together. They're in that way and that
this different types of communities really in, in standup
Tim: [00:17:36] so, so you've got a, that's another piece of feedback I hadn't really thought about, which is like what you got from the Booker and the venue and, and
your peers who on before and
after you, I guess.
Roo: [00:17:49] Yeah. and
Tim: [00:17:51] how does that relationship work? Cause I like it. Since your competitors?
Roo: [00:17:58] Well, okay. It's definitely, I found more comradery than competition because I suppose it's the same for any art form. Especially with comedy. It's so subjective, like whether or not people find you funny and everyone has similarities and differences, so you never really directly in competition with it.
There are very few, there are a few people who are directly in competition because they do things that are very similar, but unless you do something that's very, very specifically similar, there's not really many people you'd be in direct competition with. And with. There is a lot of kind of people helping each other really kind of like, you know, put in a good word in for someone that they've seen who they think is good or, people
giving each of their lifts to gigs and gang
car shares and things.
Is it actual, there's a lot of comradery,
Tim: [00:18:55] right? So, so it's, you know, that's feedback that you from other comedians, that's feedback. Especially the value to like see that as being
as important as the audience or how does that play out?
Roo: [00:19:09] I think, if, if the audience was saying one was giving me one thing and other comedians were giving me another, then I'd probably listen to the audience.
but at the same time, it is always, is, is good to get constructive feedback from, from peers. especially ones that have the same like sense of humor. The only kind of, criticism that I don't really like is when people kind of criticize something that they don't necessarily find funny when the audience clearly do.
But any other the kind of criticism is pretty valid and welcomed.
Tim: [00:19:52] That's cool. That's cool. Just thinking about like, you know, how how you work. A lot of this is very kind of, well, it's almost unchanged in terms of the format of the physically turning up there and the audience turning up there and like the venues are pubs.
So like all of that pretty much unchanged in, well, almost a hundred years probably. But I imagine that there's other kind of detail that's massively different and keeps changing. Okay. Can you like
mention any of those? I don't know enough about it to know what is changing, but I imagine it is,
Roo: [00:20:31] there's definitely been a massive surge in comedy podcasts.
Like it's kind of become a bit of a, a bit of a kind of joke within the community now. how many comedians that are just starting out decided to start their own podcasts? Like within the first
year of doing
I've already got a podcast and,
Tim: [00:20:58] and you don't think that works. So do you do, do you think it works?
Roo: [00:21:03] I think it works to an extent. It really, really depends on the . I think the experience of the person. In the podcast and whether they, with comedy podcasts, especially where they like,
whether they know whether they or whether they want it to be a vehicle to talk to the people. The ones that are most successful are the ones that know that. Like there are some where. We'll have guests on. They have other comedians on, but still want to do the majority of the talking. And it doesn't really work that well.
But ones where someone is interesting and they know they're interesting and they do a podcast talking about interesting things from their own point of view that works and ones where people know they want to have guests on and they actually interview the guest, those ones. But yeah,
some podcast host, I don't know exactly what they want from their podcast when they start it, and those are the ones that don't
Tim: [00:22:15] I don't think any of us know the first time we do a podcast, what we want from it.
Like that's part of the game. I think finding out what it is. But, but I actually listened to, when I'm, when I was first here in Berlin, I'm a listened to, a podcast that was given. It was done by, or forgotten his name, but allow a guy who come to Berlin specifically to practice his standup. So he said his idea was that it was a place you could safely.
Fail. Right? Can you say, I think he was a Londoner and he came to Berlin and did like the, this very small English speaking comedy circuit here, but you reckon that he could almost always get a gig or, or Mike, because there weren't many people doing it for all that. It was small audience and whatever. But he then ran a podcast about that experience, and I listened to that for like, I don't know, five or six episodes as a way of sort of sycning myself into Berlin.
When it was interesting, but it's sort of like, after a few episodes, he pretty much said everything there was to say. And he very consciously wasn't funny in the podcast, which is kind of interesting. Like, you know, comedians offstage not being funny because that's real life, you know? was it, which is also a kind of thing, I guess, and in podcast land that you have to decide whether you want to be funny or not.
so I. I know it's kind of,
that's another piece of technology that's changed. You know, what you do and any others that you can think of?
Roo: [00:23:53] I think that, social media as kind of helped some people, like especially people who do, who have kind of one liners or snappy or jokes, they can put them out on social media.
some people meme themselves. They make literally make memes of their jokes and those end up getting spread around. that can be really helpful if you do that, that sort of comedy. I'm kind of more the, anecdotal type, long grumbling story comedians, so it doesn't necessarily lend itself to social media as much, but.
Like I do still, I do still like trying to be funny on social media and I do think it
is, it is good for testing out bits of jokes to see little lines here and there to see
if they are going to work before I put them on stage.
Tim: [00:24:51] Right. So, so you do that as voice or text or images or
Roo: [00:24:57] Text usually I'll usually just try, I'll never.
I never do whole bits, but I'll usually post a particular line or a little, punch line on, to either Twitter or Facebook or sometimes both to see if, let's see if I get any likes for it. And
usually can be a good way of seeing if it works on the stage. And then I'll usually try anyway, but it can, it can help.
Tim: [00:25:30] Is that like it's the Twitter sense of humor,
the same as the stage sense of humor and then the same as Facebook like, or are they, can you tell the difference between the audiences?
Roo: [00:25:42] There is some difference. it's Twitter. That's the problem with Twitter is it. Like or dislike. So like , it's the like are not a like.
So it doesn't necessarily mean that someone thinks something's funny if
they like it. So you might get a lot of likes for something and then do it onstage and find that it's not really funny. It's just relatable.
Tim: [00:26:08] Oh, okay. So yeah, you don't get a laugh. You get a kind of a, an acknowledgement that, yeah, life's like that.
Yeah. Yeah. But
Facebook is, you've got more reactions possible there. Did like, mm. Do you, does that work or is that enough? Or?
Roo: [00:26:29] It is. but we are weirdly, people are less kind of geared towards comedy on Facebook, I suppose, cause Facebook's more or an about your personal life. people tend to.
People tend to kind of, Oh, I don't know how to say erm not be, kind of in, in comedy mode as much on there. I'm on Facebook, I guess, eh, although, I dunno, there are definitely, there are definitely some
people who do really well at being funny on Facebook. You know, people who do, sketches and things they do for quite well on Facebook, things like
Tim: [00:27:10] So do you actively curate your, your followers on Twitter and Facebook with a mind to kind of boosting your comedy career?
Roo: [00:27:21] Not particularly. I always, I always quite find kind of try and be, and be funny as much as I can on Twitter and on my comedy Facebook, but I don't really try to curate at the following.
It's all, to be honest, a lot of my, a lot of my comedies kinda kind of comes from, kind of comes from me, kind of just talking about myself really. So I find that
I just kind of blurt things on onto the internet and if it gets a good reaction to my all, there's something there and then I'll think about putting in comedy.
Tim: [00:28:05] Well, I mean, that is what Facebook is all about. It's all about blurting stuff about yourself, to hopefully your friends or at least people, you know, but like in effect to everyone, I guess. So actually that's interesting. Do you like, have you tried running
like a closed user group or, or a or a group chat in the, in that, way, that's a sort of way of building up a community.
Roo: [00:28:32] They're . There are quite a few forums on Facebook where people look for gigs or there was some kind of advice ones. There's writing ones.
Chat support from within friend groups, but it's definitely kind of groups, the actor as forumsvarious things. That's definitely,
Tim: [00:28:57] cause we talked oh. it must be a year or so ago to, to somebody in, I know in the States who is building, he's doing cannabis information for women, on the ground, on the grounds that it treats like the behavior.
If you're a middle aged woman, the way that you use cannabis is quite different from the way that you used to use it when you were 16 behind the bike sheds at school. And like that. Isn't really, that information isn't out there very much, particularly now, not that it's legalized in a lot of States. And so she built this set of closed user groups for women to talk amongst themselves about their cannabis use, which I thought was not that they necessarily knew each other, but like it was still a closed managed group.
So I thought it was really interesting as a sort of way of, you know, managing an online community. But still trying to retain some sort of, well, in that
case it's about trust, but I guess for you it would be about trying to find people with an appropriate sense of humor that like basically likes your jokes.
Roo: [00:30:09] A lot of the comedy groups are really more to do with, like I said before, kind of helping each other out. Really. People advertise gigs on there and things like that. There's not really one to kind of engage with audiences. but that is interesting. Like that's possibly something that could, that could be happening
in the future, you know, and groups.
The particular kind of comedy that you do where people can go and find what they, what they want to hear essentially.
Tim: [00:30:42] And is anyone talking about like virtualizing the standup experience of like, not all being in a room, but like, you know, being all distributed over the internet, but it's still following an event or following a a gig effectively at the same time. Hmm. Have you seen anybody talk to you about that? Cause I'm thinking it'd be really hard to get right.
Roo: [00:31:08] I think it would be definitely really hard to get right because is, something where you kind of, you put performance almost relies on a visceral response.
Like, a lot of that, a lot of the compares or say at the start of the show, the more love you give the act, the more love they'll give you. And it's, it's definitely true. Like the more, the more positive feedback you get,
the more the easier it is to kind of loosen up and be funny. I think it'd be really strange to kind of do jokes without being able to gauge and audience reaction.
Tim: [00:31:44] So do tune like if the audience isn't
kind of quite what you thought it was when, when you went on stage, do you tweak the act mid-flight or, or do you just like go with it?
Roo: [00:32:01] I definitely say, that you tweak it like, I think I definitely do and I don't know about anybody else, but I think most people probably have.
Kind of a get out of a bit that's going badly. Early clause, like that's kind of got a short version and a long version of all my separate bets. And if they're not, if they're not liking it, then I'll move. I'll
move on as quickly as I can and try and go back to what I, they, whatever they did like because sometimes once he is, once you're fully lost them it can be, it can be really hard getting him back on side.
Tim: [00:32:40] Right, right, right. So, so catching
that moment before it happens and,
and like moving onto another track or whatever is is. Yeah. Interesting. Cause I, that would be almost impossible to do in a, in a virtual environment. Cause like. Not get that feedback.
Roo: [00:32:57] Yeah.
Tim: [00:32:58] So we're, we're not expecting like the, you know, the, the Twitch, the comedy of Twitch or whatever.
I mean, I stand up on Twitch to happen.
Roo: [00:33:09] Probably. Probably not. I mean, unless, unless though, if you could, if you could hear the people. Then it might work, but I don't thing, I don't think that people are gonna be rushing to do that. The kids is kind of, it's almost the, weird one sided social interaction when you're on stage.
It's like, it's what everybody
kind of dreams of really.
We are holding court over over everyone and they have to.
Listen to you and they're not supposed to speak. It is almost kind of a dream come true for awkward people,
Tim: [00:33:49] and they paid for it.
Roo: [00:33:51] Yeah. And they pay for it a lot of the time sometimes not, but yeah,
Tim: [00:33:56] so we're not kind of, we don't see it changing a great deal because it's like basically it's a human to human interaction and anything that gets in the way is gonna make it more, make it fail, basically. That's, that's fascinating. So like the sci-fi of comedy is, is a somewhat, limited genre. Right? Have we read any, I don't think I've read any
sci-fi that's like, that's about comedy. And some of it's funny, but I'm trying to think of one that's like set in a, in a deliberately comedic melieu.
But. Have you ever read anything like that?
Roo: [00:34:38] I've, I've not a am
I've seen performance. I've seen performance done in scifi, but never comedy specific clay. And I think there's, there's probably
a pretty good reason for that. It's such a feedback orientate oriented. Yeah. Way
of way of expressing.
Tim: [00:35:06] So, so this is going to be the last job that's automated. Like the standup comedian is the only job that's completely safe from automation is what what you're saying?
Roo: [00:35:15] Yeah. Oh, I don't know, because
I don't know if you've ever read any, stories written by AI . They're always hilarious. I think that those are funnier than anything I could ever, ever write in my entire life.
Tim: [00:35:33] Yeah. I'm always a little bit cynical about those in the, I think that a lot of that is in the editing. Like, there's thing pumped out.
Like this AI pumped out a thousand stories and some poor sucker had to read them and pick out the five that were funny and then put them on Instagram or whatever. I mean, maybe I'm. I'm being cynical there. And some of them are glorious. I mean, some of the light, you know, some of the recipe ones, absolutely brilliant.
I can't think of one at the moment, but it's like, you know, take two pineapples and, you know,
whatever. yeah, yeah. No. So, so we, so we do think AI's could be funny. Do you think they could learn to be, to edit themselves and be funny, like on their .
Roo: [00:36:20] I'm not sure, but I think in the same way that you said about how someone's gone through and chosen the ones that are funniest, it's exactly the same with comedians.
Like we're not all, not, not, not everyone's like, I know. It's awful to say. Not everyone's good and there's a booker out there picking people
to go on their gig.
That they think will be the funniest. So there's, there's some, there's someone picking the funniest, the funniest, examples of the particular
thing game in both cases
And you think about it. Yeah. But I don't know. I
mean, there are, there's not really rules to comedy, but there are like tricks, and I think that AI could definitely learn those. There's no way that they couldn't learn those.
Tim: [00:37:19] And there's
nothing to stop them from listening to the laughter either and like getting feedback.
From that, there's a sensor research project coming on here. It's like, you know, can I train an AI to be funny? Hmm. All right. You give it a reward of laughter and, and it so slowly, it's iterates on the joke now, and you've probably somebody who's gonna sit there and, and have to listen to it for ages.
yeah. No, that's sad. Oh, well. That's
a project. so coming back to, to a little bit more to reality, do you see the topics changing or for you or your topics like that, your topics and so whatever.
Roo: [00:38:04] I think, I do see, I do see a lot of, a lot of jokes. I mean, the always been, as long as it's been technology, there's been jokes about technology. This kind of as there's more and more technology, the more there is jokes about it and the more this kind of, there were a lot of jokes about, about the future, what we thought things would be now and what they're not like and it hasn't been there.
I think there's a, there's
a, there's a lot of humor to be. You found in technology itself? Cause even as it's getting so good, it's getting so strange and ridiculous in a lot of
ways that it can be quite funny.
Tim: [00:38:58] And what do do do, like do you work technology into your, I suppose if it's part of all our daily lives, so inevitably you're going to build it into your act, aren't you
Roo: [00:39:11] at the moment?
Yeah. They're really been in the past and in the past I've talked about
things like how, how shopping algorithms
or whatever it is,
they always seem to recommend you things that you've already, that you've already bought, like that's the last thing that you'd possibly need. And they, they recommend you that,
Tim: [00:39:33] right? Yeah. You've just bought a tent you need another tent obviously. Yeah.
Crazy. Yeah. So then you, you don't, you don't consciously think this is an audience who I need to kind of talk tech to, or maybe maybe you do occasionally. I don't know what, how does that play out?
Roo: [00:39:57] Well, I'm going to be honest, I suppose I'm quite self centered as a comedian.
I mostly talk about, about myself and. Issues that I've had in a, in a, in a, in a humorous way. I mean, I guess that's me blowing my own trumpet, but, I don't know. I don't really ever think that I need to talk about a particular, a particular thing. I kind of,
I have like safe jokes, I suppose that will kind of play to anyone.
Have my material that I actually really, the I actually care about. Yeah. I try to do if I can, but if it doesn't work out, I fall back on my safe stuff.
Tim: [00:40:40] Yeah. Yeah. And that's, is that evolving what you think is safe and what you think is, is what you want to do? Is that like changing as time goes on or
Roo: [00:40:55] definitely when I first.
I'd said, I was very scared to do anything that my, that might offend anyone, even if it was from personal experience. Like I'm very, I very strongly believe that people, people should be able to joke about things that have happened to them, even if it sensitive it is, because it's something they've experienced.
I don't necessarily think that everyone should be able to joke about anything, but I think that people who've experienced the thing should be able to talk about that in, in,
in comedy. But when I first thought it, I was very scared to do so because I guess I was, eh, worried about how people would take it if I talked about certain subjects,
even though they were subjects I had experience with, if that makes sense.
Tim: [00:41:49] The kinds of things you can talk about the changing because your changing. Or, because the audience is changing.
Roo: [00:42:00] I think it's, I think it's a bit of both. Like I think we've got to a stage age now where, people, people like comedy that's got a lot of people are a lot, or not everyone, but a lot of people like comedy. That's . Based in something serious, like you see it more and more these, specials that are becoming really successful.
They're talking about, you know, moments of trauma in people's lives, mental health issues, relationship problems, like things that a more personal and whereas you look back. Even kind of 20 years ago, and what was popular was a lot more, I don't want to say, I don't want to say, I don't want
to say shallow, but a lot more kind of lighthearted.
That's the better word, lighthearted. I think that there, the mood has definitely changed and people like, more substance in the, in their comedy now more serious topics. A lot of the time.
Tim: [00:43:04] But that hasn't really, from my
perception, maybe I'm too far away from it here in Berlin for start, but, from my perception, that hasn't
migrated into the mass media.
Right. That willingness to, to go there, I don't feel like I hear that on on TV or radio,
Roo: [00:43:25] I suppose. it's, it's still,
it's kind of,
Mmm. In, in a way, kind of the, the prevalence of some of the . There's the kind of political satire type shows are an example of it. Like they used to be just a couple, and now they're kind of, they're almost like podcasts. They're multiplying and there's so many political satire shows now. That's one example of that.
but also I think in, I think. I mean, a lot of the new acts that are kind of breaking out have more, more, more serious topics to their. Like obviously, a lot of the,
the, the major comedy that's on TV and, in the mainstream media, and it's, there's still the same people that have been around for a long time, but there are new people come in to it and the new people who are coming in have more of a serious slant
if that makes sense.
Tim: [00:44:35] Right, right. So, I mean, I guess it's inevitable that if you've been successful doing something for 20 years, you're going to keep doing it until you're unsuccessful. Like why wouldn't you? yeah. So, so I guess that makes sense that it's only the new people who are going to take that risk, but I guess it comes down
to the bookers and to the commissioning agents about like how their appetite is for before.
A more serious kind of line of comedy. a more, I guess in a sense, what you're talking about. It's like almost more
Roo: [00:45:08] yeah.
Tim: [00:45:09] Ah, interesting. And, and I mean, I, I guess it's like, cause you're mostly doing live, that's a stupid
question. But you. Sense of how that's moving for the mass media?
Roo: [00:45:22] No, I'm not sure. I'm not sure really. I think,
Tim: [00:45:28] no, it was a dumb question. Cool. No, I mean, no. What?
Roo: [00:45:32] Maybe I'm just the dumb person.
Tim: [00:45:34] No, no, no. I'm, and I think, I think it just depends on. On whether you kind of sat in a bar with, with a BBC producer, you've kind of got the sense out of them or not. But
anyway. so did you, like what do you see, you see your act being in five years time.
Do you still see it being kind of the same rough format or do you think it's going to change dramatically?
Roo: [00:46:05] 've got a lot of things that I want to try. I really want to try kind of almost deconstructed jokes in a way. Like I wanna try jokes that everyone knows, but with different endings, and I'd like to
get the audience involved more in that. M I'd quite like to try more musical comedy, because, I did, I did study music at one point and I feel like I'm kind of missing something I could be doing there
in a same way too.
Tim: [00:46:48] That's right. So is a musical comedy, like it stops being just you, it's you and an instrument that they're at least, I guess, do you think that changes. The relationship with the audience, or
Roo: [00:47:04] it does, because maybe
be, there's not as, as many laughs if you're doing musical comedy. but on the other hand, on the other hand it is, something that people listen to multiple times, probably more than they would watch the same comedy set.
So it's got that
Tim: [00:47:27] Right, right. Actually, that reminds me, did you, do you have any props? Do you like, is it you on stage or is it you with like a chair or whatever it is, or are you dressed as you are? Are you dressed as a character? How does that, how do you present yourself?
Roo: [00:47:48] And that's quite interesting.
but I, I would say that almost every comedian has some form of costume. Even if, even if they're playing themselves which, most, most of us are, or, you know, really an exaggerated version or an exaggerated. VSLs, pretty much every, every comedian has a particular way that they dress for stage, and a particular part of themselves that they amplify for stage.
So it is
pretty much always a character, even if it's yourself.
which is an argument I've had
with character comedians.
Who you say that? Who say that the, it's not that there's difference. I think that all comedians are character comedians do it to an extent because they're amplifying a particular part of themselves that is funny.
Tim: [00:48:47] I guess it depends to what extent they can shed that when they leave the stage to.
Roo: [00:48:55] Yeah. It's actually, it's actually quite interesting
how many, how many comedians
are quite serious people in there in their day to day lives. People think you have to be a laugh, but if anything, people who are a laugh all the time don't necessarily lend themselves to comedy that well in a stage setting there's
some people that are some people that are, or, or some people.
People who were just some people who are just kind of bonkers and they translate well to
stage cause they can just be themselves. But for the
most part, people, people who were quite serious in their day to day lives and it can be, can be quite funny.
Tim: [00:49:44] Well, I mean it's an exhausting thing to keep up. You can't, like, you can't keep that level of intensity up all day.
It would be like, you'd be knackered by the end of the day I would have thought
so. like the looking forward thing is, is, is interesting cause basically what you, what I'm hearing from you is you don't think
you really do think that that standup is, is pretty safe as a, as an environment in the sense that. It's not going to change hugely. do you think your audience is going to change?
Okay. Younger, older, changed demographics? How does that look?
Roo: [00:50:28] Well, at the moment, my audience, my audience is pretty young. I do well with students. I don't. I do all right with most people, but students in particularly tend to really like me, and sometimes, sometimes older people don't. Not always, I wouldn't want to generalize, but some, some of the time or older people don't.
I definitely. We, I don't, honestly, it would really depend on how my material changes over the years. Like if, if my material does change, then I could see my demographic changing. And I definitely see, at the moment, I don't know. I don't know if this is just me and the gigs that I do, but it seems like.
It's not really that many young
people going to watch live comedy. Okay. A lot of the gigs, a lot of the gigs that I do, it's mostly kind of middle aged people who go for a night out or, sometimes you'll get students who go for night out. I feel like maybe young people are consuming their comedy online more
Tim: [00:51:50] interesting.
There's a disposable disposable income issue there as well. Like, you know, whether it's affordable to to go out as often as like we did in the past, but, cool. so what I think we'll, I think we'll leave it there. W what we always ask people to do is throw, some links, to things that you think people should like, listen to, should might want to read about, or.
More about you or whatever, and we'll pop them into the, into the show notes, so-called. And, yeah. And, and I'll do a transcript on it. And at some point, probably in a month or so, it'll, it'll sneak out onto the podcast now, and I'll warn you, but, but thanks. I mean, it's, it's been, it's interesting. It's like, it's, it's, it's kind of one of the few ones, which I.
You only think
relatively, immune to change a lot of stuff with, with dealing with this is very light. It's on a knife edge at the moment and it's all all going to change. And it's kind of refreshing to find somebody who's, who's in a, in a world where, you know, it's reasonably stable. It's kind of all, cause I, we wouldn't expect that from comedy really.
Roo: [00:53:09] I think that, I think that technology and things a, a really good or an offset to comedy really, because they allow people to get their personalities out easily, get their jokes seen, share the things that they're doing. connect with promoters, fairs, or a feel. Through the internet. I think, I think technology is a massive boon to comedy, but, on whether or not, comedy could ever change.
I mean, honestly, you never know. Do you? Because I mean, at one point we used
to be able to throw tomatoes and things that clowns on stage. And eh, it's not really socially acceptable to go down to the frog and bucket and Chuck tomatoes at people. So for all I know, it could entirely change in another, in the hundred years.
I mean, it will, it almost certainly will, but, but it is,
Tim: [00:54:08] but the technology, it doesn't sound that's a social change rather than the technological change that you're talking about there. So, so not like, I mean, a lot of people we talk to technology is either facilitating or undermining their jobs and yes, kind of what I'm hearing from you is that it's facilitating to some extent, but it's actually not core to what you do.
which is, which is great. Like, you know, it's really interesting to find somebody for whom that's true. Cause I can tell you
as decreasingly the case for
Cool. So, yeah, no, listen, thanks so much for taking the time and stuff. I do appreciate