Scoring points...

Mark Maier makes undermining fellow comics into a game

Bored with the same old long car journey conversations to and from gigs?

Well here’s a terrific game to relieve the tedium.

The aim is quite simple. To elevate your own standing within the world of comedy while simultaneously undermining your fellow comedians'. The key component – and several comics are masters at this – is to verbalise your achievements as subtly as possible. Some will try to play the game to an entire audience but beware, blatant bragging will score you no points.

This common error sees the comedian mentioning a place they’ve performed at without the location bearing any relevance to their joke whatsoever. For example; ‘So this nun walks into a bar. It was a bar in Montreal where I’d just been performing as part of the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, invitation only..’

There are several keywords that, when used correctly, can maximize your point count. But remember, subtly is the key. Your seemingly casual throwaway comment should leave your fellow comedian feeling undermined and a little depressed but not sure as to specifically why.

Here are just three of the many key words that a more experienced player of the game will use within the context of casual conversation;

‘Corporate’, ‘Closing’ and ‘The Store’ (not using the full title; ‘The Comedy Store’ alludes to the close relationship of performer and said venue)

Examples of how to use these words;

‘Fancy a drink after the gig tonight?’

‘Best not. I’ve got to work on a corporate’

The definition of ‘a corporate’ is not important here. What the player has achieved is to momentarily elevate their status by crowbarring in the word ‘corporate’ where a simple, ‘No thanks’ would have sufficed.

‘Where you working this weekend?’

‘I’ve got Headliners and then I’m closing The Banana.’ The perceived kudos of ‘closing’ coupled with referring to The Banana Cabaret in Balham as simply ‘The Banana’ earns the comedian maximum points (see ‘The Store’)

The more obtuse the response, the higher the point count.

On entering a dressing room a player might respond to the innocuous question, ‘How you doing?’ with ‘Jetlagged’ thereby inviting the question, ‘How come?’ to which they can now go into much detail about their overseas gig.

It should be apparent that scoring can be arbitrary. The joy of the game is to recognize the attempted point scoring, only to later discover the number of other comics who have also noted the premiership players of this game.

Novices beware! An experienced player can seemingly score points from any situation. You’re working away over a weekend and you innocently suggest meeting up for lunch. ‘Sorry, I can’t mate,’ comes the response, followed up with the killer point-scoring-clincher, ‘I’ve got some writing to do.’

‘What writing do they have to do? Why don’t I have some writing to do? Do they in fact have any writing to do or do they just not want to meet me for lunch?’

And that’s it. You’re all set. Happy undermining. Please drop me a line and let me know how you get on. Apologies if I don’t get back to you immediately. It’s just I’ve got this filming thing to do…

Published: 4 Sep 2012

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