Jok­ing aside, myanne Frank shtick IS funny

Comic says his rou­tine is in­tended to re­veal his ‘stu­pid­ity’

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY RICKY GER­VAIS

I HAVE had that rou­tine for nearly 10 years now. It is about the mis­un­der­stand­ing and ig­no­rance of what is clearly a tragic and hor­rific sit­u­a­tion. My comic per­sona is that of a man who speaks with great ar­ro­gance and au­thor­ity but who along the way re­veals his im­mense stu­pid­ity.

In this par­tic­u­lar rou­tine, I en­vis­age an al­most slap­stick ver­sion of the Nazis en­ter­ing the home of Anne Frank on a daily ba­sis and al­ways fail­ing to bother to “look up­stairs”.

I even have one of them sug­gest, “Look­ing up­stairs to­day, Sarge?” The of­fi­cer replies, “No, let’s move on.”

The first Nazi then says: “What’s that tap­ping sound?”—as im­ime us­ing an old fash­ioned typewriter. Again the joke here is the supremely stupid as­sump- tion that Anne Frank obliv­i­ously and nois­ily typed her diary.

The Sarge (who I am por­tray­ing as a lazy and in­com­pe­tent Nazi) an­swers, “Mice! Move on”.

The final layer of ig­no­rance in the rou­tine is that, in­stead of tak­ing the ob­vi­ous and cor­rect stance that Nazis were dis­gust­ing, im­moral and evil, I merely con­clude that they were “rub- bish” be­cause of their in­abil­ity to find Anne Frank ear­lier — like it was all part of a big, mu­tu­ally agreed game of hide­and-seek.

I can see if you took this rou­tine at face value as my real opin­ion on this pro­found and heroic tragedy, it could be deemed highly of­fen­sive. How­ever, this is ob­vi­ously an ab­surd comic po­si­tion with the au­di­ence well in on the joke, fully aware that I am say­ing the ex­act op­po­site of what ev­ery right­minded per­son thinks.

I of­ten get ac­cused of find­ing com­edy in places where no com­edy is to be found. I feel you can make a joke about any­thing. It just de­pends on what the joke is. Com­edy comes from a good or a bad place and the prob­lem is in its in­ter­pre­ta­tion, with some peo­ple con­fus­ing the sub­ject of a joke with the joke’s real tar­get. The tar­get of this joke is the co­me­dian’s ig­no­rance.


Ricky Ger­vais: ‘I feel you can joke about any­thing’

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