ABSTRACT

Effective comic performance is certainly something that is recognised by the audience, albeit mainly on a subconscious level. Equally, inexpert comic performance is registered negatively and is subliminally rejected. For the performer, comic expertise, like developing interplay, is something best discovered through experience, by exposure to live audiences. Brett Mills notes the importance that the performer's expertise plays in successfully delivering the overall message, 'for comic performance to offer pleasure it must demonstrate the abilities of the person performing it far more obviously than non-comic forms do'. The theorist Henri Bergson viewed the release afforded through laughter as having a primarily 'social function'. In his 'automaton' or 'mechanical inelasticity' theory he posited that it is whenever a man acts most like a machine that the laughter of relief is provoked. One tricky thing is that expertise in comic performance must contain the weaving and sustaining of a sense of comic truth, whether working as an individual/as part of an ensemble.