Inside Jokes: It’s too hot to be funny.
Something happens around this time every summer, when everybody’s brains jam up like Hubba Bubba in bicycle spokes and you hear the same sentences again and again.
“How hot is it!”
“Apparently it’s gonna be 38 on Thursday.”
“Man it’s a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun.”
How is it that between March and November, every year, we all forget that summer exists? Then it shows up and confuses us so much that the temperature is all we’re capable of discussing. Now, some people think it’s basic to talk about the weather, but not this guy – I’m all for it.
First of all, the weather is interesting as fuck. I don’t know how seasons work, or why cold wind colliding with warm wind makes a twister (note to self: watch the movie Twister again). We should be talking about the weather all the time; that’s how amazing it is! And secondly, I’d much rather have a strange chat about the weather than make any kind of meaningful small talk with these people. Imagine if instead of commenting on the inevitable heat of summer, that guy at the bus stop leant over to you and said:
“I can’t connect emotionally with my nephew.”
“I’m afraid I’ll never be loved by anyone, because ultimately, I can’t love myself.”
“Let’s give Trump a chance.”
That nightmare aside, it is too hot for comedy at the moment. You can feel it in the comedy clubs. I gigged on Monday night at a room that is always great, but Monday night was one of those Hubba-Bubba-in-bicycle-spokes nights. The host was pouring sweat, looking more and more like one of those chubby angel water features that nans have in their backyards. The heat got to every one of his jokes before it hit the crowd, frying it to dust before they had a chance to enjoy it.
They weren’t a bad audience, but they were glowing with that thin sheen of sweat you get after a light jog. They had their arms pulled in close to their bodies to avoid touching sticky elbows with the stranger beside them. They were smiling, but laughter was not an option. It takes up too much energy, and forces more hot air into the low-ceilinged bunker of the club.
Look, most comedians are too vain to tell you they struggled. Not me – I’m real and brave and true. I did very mediocre that night. I tried, but it’s just hard to be funny when you can feel a small river running from the back of your neck to your arse crack.
The biggest laugh I got was when I blurted out, “Fuck this, let’s go to the pool.” It’s not a witty line. It’s literally just talking about the weather. But for that one moment we were all at the pool. Splashing around in the cool, clear water. Chilling our sizzling flesh. Someone was handing out pool noodles. The boys were tackling each other into the deep end. Marco Polo in the shallows. We were laughing, we were cool, we were loving summer. It’s the prime of our lives, the water was fine, and we were never going to die. For one small moment.
Then we were back in the sweat pit and I still had six minutes to go. It’s too hot to be funny.
What’s funny this week?
Wednesday February 8
Dirty Thunder at Hemingway’s in Manly. A fun, underground comedy club that always packs out.
Thursday February 9
A Mic In Hand at The Friend In Hand. Sydney’s best pro comics and up-and-comers doing their best gear.
Thursday February 9 – Saturday February 11
The Comedy Store. The best comics in Australia and the world do this room. (Plus I think I might be on.)
Cameron James is a stand-up comedian.
You can follow him on Twitter at @iamcameronjames, or in the streets.