Self-hating comic in the U.K. Independent

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on June 20th, 2007

The U.K. Independent, for reasons that are unfathomable, features a pathetic 1,762-word rant by British comedian Alexei Sayle. All you need to know is contained in the sub-head, which, we’re fairly certain, was provided by the Independent’s editors:

Sour. Self-pitying. Cowardly. These are the defining characteristics of the stand-up comedian, argues Alexei Sayle.

The Independent has found a self-hating comedian to do their bidding. He proceeds to generalize about comics, and, in the end, turns out to be as sour, self-pitying and cowardly as anyone.

The occasion for such vitriol is the death of 76-year-old Brit comic Bernard Manning. Sayle’s essay is an anti-eulogy of sorts.

Paragraph three:

I never met the man, nor wanted to, but have met and studied many like him, largely because his generation of old-time comedians present a frightening object lesson in the perils of what being a stand-up can do to you if you don’t take care to ameliorate its more malevolent effects.

Emphasis ours. Sayle was no doubt tapped by the Independent for his unerring ability to take the perceived qualities of one individual and extrapolate it over an entire population. (Which, it would seem, is precisely the rap laid on poor Bernard Manning in his latter years.)

We’ve seen serial killers get a better send-off.

What makes this doubly frustrating is that the bottom third or so of the column contains decent, insightful analysis of standup. Why Sayle found it necessary to assail a dead comic is beyond us. Perhaps it was a requirement for publication in the Independent. No serious treatment of the artform unless it’s prefaced by hackneyed, vicious stereotypes that play to our readers’ worst instincts!

Read the rest here. If you come away with anything positive from this screed and feel compelled to write to us and defend it, save yourself the keystrokes and lie down until the urge goes away.

Return to this evening– We’re going to drop a load of blog after the airing of Episode Two of LCS, sometime around 10:30 PM EDT. “The international search continues as the talent scouts go from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, in the search for the world’s funniest new comic,” says NBC.