I've gone to a few storytelling shows this week, and, I gotta say, it's been fantastic. It's like a break from stand up without actually taking a break, if you get my meaning.
Last night I went to Giulia Rozzi and Margot Leitman's show Stripped Stories at UCB, which was really really great. They both told personal stories that were sad and funny, and honest. One of the joys of watching stand ups tell real stories is that, inevitably, they will get a few great jokes in, often when you're least expecting it.
The line of the night came from Giulia. I don't want to offer too much detail or context--because I haven't cleared it with her--but suffice to say that in her story she was feeling quite down, and a boy said to her, "you're cute." She continued:
"So, he said 'you're cute,' but what I heard was, 'you're cute, and I'm going to fuck the sadness out of you.'"
It's the kind of line that would get a laugh at a stand up show, without question. But when the audience is expecting honesty and vulnerability--which can and should exist in stand up, but aren't necessarily prerequisites like with storytelling--and they get it, their laughter comes from identification with the storyteller's emotion, not from appreciation of how clever that particular "turn" was. Don't get me wrong, I love a good punchline as much as the next person, but seeing these storytelling shows this week has been a nice change of pace.
The show ended with a set from Thin Skin Jonny. Give a listen if you get a chance.