chapter  9
14 Pages

John K. Limon Spritzing, Skirting: Standup Talk Strategies

Bruce (or between Hope and Mort Sahl or Shelley Berman or Jackie Mason) is wide enough for us to assurne that a new art form came into existence in the 1950s, then what of the chasm between Bruce and DeGeneres? Hope told jokes and Bruce did not; but Bruce tried one way or another to destroy his audience's sense of its integrity (threatening them if necessary), and DeGeneres seems, most of the time, to be amiably and aimlessly chatting with the crowd. Nevertheless, by considering them at their most extremeBruce when he verges on assault and battery, DeGeneres at her most blathering and dithering-I want to suggest that standup is a certain kind of talk, a manifestation of talking in its most disconcerting aspect, its abjectness. The premise of standup, from Bruce to DeGeneres, is that it is that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.3