January 06, 2010

what does a bottle of water mean?

Amazing comment/post on Metafilter from Dave Green (aka turducken), the writer / director of the documentary History of the Joke, about Gallagher.

The stuff I find most fascinating is Gallagher’s interaction with his audience – e..g, his genuine desire to set kids on the straight and narrow, his put-downs of hecklers, and his seemingly Job-like ability to endure physical and psychic humiliations that would cow or creep out most open-mike punters – which IMO has nothing to do with comedy, and has everything to do with being a 63-year old guy with several ex-wives, grown children, and a heart attack under his belt who can’t stop working, and is terrified of what happens when he does.

And if you haven’t read it, his interview with The Onion’s AV Club is remarkable. Here he is responding to a question about how he’s interrupted his opening acts to give them advice on how to perform.

They don’t pay attention to what they’re wearing or how they’re standing. And so we don’t really have a high level of performance in America, or even a demand that people onstage have studied, or pay attention to the performing arts. You can actually take a drink now during your show! You know, George Burns performed smoking a cigar, and never needed a drink of water on a stool. But now this has become a tradition in America. They more or less have a stool ready for you and ask, “What water ya want?” To me, as a visual artist, everything that’s in the picture should have meaning—what does a stool and a bottle of water mean?

Emphasis his.