Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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BAM: Get it Out There

The atmosphere at BAM was perfect for a comedy club. The ceiling arched over your head, the music put you in a confident mood perfect for a lounge, the place was very decorated with lights, and I was able to see my high school, Brooklyn Tech, out the window.

It was strange to me how most the people sitting at the tables were young hipsters, all having excited conversations over beer. They were all dressed in expensive and stylish clothing. They reminded me of how you’d imagine a rich-white-Harvard-fraternity/sorority student. I wondered if they knew how much they fit the stereotype.

The comedians weren’t very funny. No amount of atmosphere or music on the side could make up for bad content. The host was funnier than the actual comedians. He made jokes about how fat he is, and made me chuckle a few times. The first two comedians hardly made me laugh at all. The first one focused too much on Netflix, and what surfing its videos is like. I could relate to that, since I use Netflix, but I was never very engrossed to what he was saying, or enticed with his character. In addition, this topic wouldn’t appeal to many people because Netflix isn’t used by everybody. The second comedian was even worse, playing a song about how he met a celebrity because of a lemon. The idea seemed funny at first, but he ruined it with the monologue which he read off of a paper.

The third comedian was a level above the first two. She was a black woman talking about what her life is like, being single and in the city. She chose a typical topic, but delivered her jokes well, making me chuckle several times as well.

I noticed much laughter coming from the front few rows of the audience (probably the comedians’ friends), which is interesting because I realized that laughter can be seeded. This is done similarly by street performers, or stores with tip jars, who fill their jar with money beforehand in order to make it look like people are actually eager to tip. The seeded laughter can spread, making us think that there is something worth laughing at. This results in our listening to the comedy act more intently.

I was  really hoping to hear somebody very funny, since stand-up comedy is something I love to listen to. It’s a shame I had to miss the last two comedians, since I hear that the last one was very funny and blew the audience away. I watch a lot of George Carlin, Louis C.K., and Kevin Hart. Those comedians would make me laugh hysterically, unable to stop for a minute. I’d laugh again when I remember the joke they made. Whereas the best comedians craft jokes using clever irony, and unexpected twists in their story lines, the first few comedians at BAM simply gave scenarios which some of us could relate to. That is what the difference is between comedians delivering kitsch and comedians delivering art. Professional famous comedians find a way to tickle the core of our sense of humor, making us really want to laugh hard at society. It’s a craft.


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