Moses Storm and the Case for Modern Pseudo-Independence
However, class does not seem to be as prominent a topic as race or gender. That’s because by the time comic books become popular enough to make particularly popular books, they tend to be too affluent to want to talk about money. (Though one exception might be Gary Gulman’s next special, based on his current tour.)
Storm, a 31-year-old and stand-up actor, delves into the subject from multiple angles, telling jokes that define cultural double standards. (When it comes to dyslexia, he explains, the rich Adderall and the poor are seen as stupid.) Other bits unpack the words in the George Carlin tradition. He points to the term “food insecure household” because it creates a serious problem that “sounds lovely.”
The most engaging part of the special event was when Storm discussed his mother’s attempt to win $10,000 from “America’s Funniest Homecoming Videos,” the TV series (hosted by the late Bob Saget). ) introduces footage of kitchen mishaps or someone getting a baseball in the front yard. His mother was determined to create a crash with her 5 children that would win the top prize. The plan was for Moses to drop an egg on his sister’s face. And using tape from his childhood, he shows what happened. (You’ll have to watch the special to see if they win.)
What begins as a series of bizarre blunders turns into something darker (more “gypsy” than “Mute”) when his mother is confused with her young children because steal a bit of comic book. The scene was somewhat unpleasant but also poignant. The background of her rampage is made clear by Storm claiming that the lack of money makes you scared and desperate. This is the theme Storm does best, the twisted cycle of poverty, the intricate ways in which being poor makes you poor.
But his mother’s portrait feels unfinished, as if there’s more to be said but he hasn’t figured out how to do it. Character nuance can be funny and amusing, but it’s often sacrificed for flimsy satire. “We’re living in this horrible part of Florida called Florida,” he said, before smiling fakely and adding, “Nobody’s ever made that joke before.” If it’s so hacky, why keep it?
The difference between solo shows and indie films is not only the amount of jokes, but also the plot and theme expectations. Stand-ups may disappear from being a set of disconnected setups and breakouts, but targeting more shouldn’t be seen as some kind of gimmick or influence. That is evolution. In a healthy comedy scene, there are many types of humor, some with more fighting than others. Comedians like Mike Birbiglia have proven that you not only don’t have to choose between good story and dialogue, but you can also support the other, even though it’s not easy to dismiss it. A joke can be made more difficult if there is something behind it that lies beyond a clever misdirection.
Unlike Storm, I’m happy to admit that I have an agenda. I want the comics to make the best versions of the shows they put on and that includes the correct use of words. It also means coming up with ideas without apologizing and sometimes challenging the audience. There is no one way to be funny, but complexity, passion, and ambition are always welcome. There’s more to this, but for that, you’ll have to wait for my TED Talk.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/arts/television/moses-storm-stand-up.html Moses Storm and the Case for Modern Pseudo-Independence