John Walker's Electronic House

Two People Who Are Good At Their Jobs

by on Jun.24, 2010, under The Rest

Here’s a couple of examples of people being brilliant at what they do.

First of all, there’s comic Dan Telfer doing stand up in Chicago last month. Audience interaction can be some stand ups greatest strength, and others complete downfall. Richard Herring, for instance, does not cope well with it. While he had notable success with a heckler a while back, it still reveals how reliant he is on getting through his script when performing, and his stand up almost never includes deliberate interaction with the crowd, unless it’s entirely one way. Whereas someone like Phil Kay would be lost without distractions, almost never sticking to a planned routine, allowing events to direct him. Many comedians existing in the space within will attempt to deliberately involve the audience, which if it’s to be funny relies on knowing your material and rapport. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better example of this than Dan Telfer. In the clip below he invites people from the audience to name their favourite dinosaurs, and then, no matter the name given, angrily mocks them for their choice with precise detail. It’s not only an impressive/autistic knowledge of dinosaurs, but also extremely funny too. This is a man who is just very good at his job:

Secondly, while you’ve inevitably heard about the extraordinary 70-68 fifth set score at Wimbledon this year, you might not have read Xan Brooks’ live blogging of the match on the Guardian website. It is phenomenally funny. I recommend starting from 4pm onward, and then read through to the end of the day. His job is to keep readers up to date on scores and events, and to do it in a fun, interesting way. And this is exactly what he’s done, better than you could hope. It’s so extraordinarily funny. Here are some highlights, but there are so very, very many more excellent moments:

4.05pm: On and on they go. Soon they will sprout beards and their hair will grow down their backs, and their tennis whites will yellow and then rot off their bodies. And still they will stand out there on Court 18, belting aces and listening as the umpire calls the score. Finally, I suppose, one of them will die.

6pm: The score stands at 34-34. In order to stay upright and keep their strength, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have now started eating members of the audience. They trudge back to the baseline, gnawing on thigh-bones and sucking intestines. They have decided that they will stay on Court 18 until every spectator is eaten. Only then, they say, will they consider ending their contest.

6.25pm: I’m wondering if maybe an angel will come and set them free. Is this too much to ask? Just one slender angel, with white wings and a wise smile, to tell them that’s it’s all right, they have suffered enough and that they are now being recalled. The angel could hug them and kiss their brows and invite them to lay their rackets gently on the grass. And then they could all ascend to heaven together. John Isner, Nicolas Mahut and the kind angel that saved them.

7.45pm: What happens if we steal their rackets? If we steal their rackets, the zombies can no longer hit their aces and thump their backhands and keep us all prisoner on Court 18. I’m shocked that this is only occurring to me now. Will nobody run onto the court and steal their rackets? Are they all too scared of the zombies’ clutching claws and gore-stained teeth? Steal their rackets and we can all go home. Who’s with me? Steal their rackets and then run for the tube.

8.40pm: It’s 56 games all and darkness is falling. This, needless to say, is not a good development, because everybody knows that zombies like the dark. So far in this match they’ve been comparatively puny and manageable, only eating a few of the spectators in between bashing their serves.

But come night-fall the world is their oyster. They will play on, play on, right through until dawn. Perhaps they will even leave the court during the change-overs to munch on other people. Has Roger Federer left the grounds? Perhaps they will munch on him, hounding him down as he runs for his car, disembowelling him in the parking lot and leaving Wimbledon without its reigning champion. Maybe they will even eat the trophy too.

Growing darker, darker all the while.

9.25pm: Still, if you’re going to watch a pair of zombies go at each other for eleventy-billion hours, far into the night, it might as well be these zombies. They were incredible, astonishing, indefatigable. They fell over frequently but they never stayed down. My hat goes off to these zombies. Possibly my head goes off to them too.

Please do read the rest, because there’s so much greatness in there.


4 Comments for this entry

  • Robert Morgan

    I’m unhappy with his claims the Brontosaurus is a fake dinosaur, or that scientists sued the US Postal Service:

    And that isn’t the kind of improvisation that’s good, that’s not bouncing off the audience, that’s just a more or less entirely-scripted routine presented in a random order.

    On the other hand, the tennis blog is amazing.

  • Wednesday

    Really Morgan? He asked for random dinosaur names and came back from every one.

    I sware, the internet is a portal to bizzaro world.

  • Alex

    The Velociraptor may have its name flashed everywhere, but Utahraptor appears in the coolest webcomic around.

  • Robert Morgan

    Yes, really.
    I’m sure if you ask a room at a comedy club to name dinosaurs, the list is likely to be more consistently predictable than even just asking them where they’re from.