Ok, we’ve over-discussed the differences between British and American situation comedy. Just my opinion, but the British just flat out do it better. No doubt, from an American perspective, it’s infinitely better with the likes of Modern Family, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Community, etc. But, in doing some quick math regarding the comparison of British and American comedy, there are other areas the U.S. has fallen woefully behind that has gone somewhat unnoticed in recent years. Stand-up or a lack there of immediately comes to mind.
Without appearing to launch into a ‘good old days’ rant, the virtual elimination of stand-up comedy has contributed the dearth of real comedy in the U.S. I can remember a magical time when the likes of Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, etc. could be seen live or on the small screen on a regular basis in various forms, not just as newcomers either. Comedians of this era would spend several hundred nights a year traveling doing live stand-up. Stand-up shows are a big part of the UK comedy scene, not only in the live performance venue, but regularly on television too.
Our friends over at the British Comedy Guide recently sat down for an in-depth interview with Don Ward, legendary owner of The Comedy Store in the UK. This long-time venue has helped launch the careers of some of Britain’s most famous comedy stars and continue to play a big part in the country’s comedy output today. Anyone miss good stand-up comedy in the U.S. today?
We’ll save for another time the lack of panel shows such as QI, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You in the U.S. which, in many cases in the UK, showcase the amazing wit and talent of UK comedians in improv settings such as Stephen Fry, Alan Davies, Rob Brydon, Michael McIntyre, Jack Dee, etc.