Friday, April 08, 2011

The Wisdom of A Pancake Juggler

"Scot Nery's Crash Course" photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

One of the amazing artists I've met in the past few years is Scot Nery.  He thinks like a performer -- there's no other way to put it.  His is a keen, entertainer's intellect.  I love talking shop with the guy (it doesn't happen enough for my taste) because he never fails to reframe my ill-formed opinions with the wisdom of a juggler who has performed around the world before thousands of people.

For instance, I posted this photo on Facebook, with the accompanying commentary:



My commentary:
It's a little apples and oranges, but yeah. Basically.

‎"Apples and oranges" because Dunham is a vent and the Muppets are ... well, the Muppets. A more appropriate comparison would be Edgar Bergen, particularly since Bubba J is a Mortimer Snerd knock-off.
Scot commented with the following:
They're dead.

Put up a picture of Satan's Angel (who's living) and how many burlesque performers can suck it?

It would be nice if people tried to do everything better than their predecessors, but even the trying isn't likely at all.
Edgar Bergen didn't invent the vent doll or the country-bumpkin character.  Scot's right!  Telling Dunham to "suck it" kind of misses the point:  He has only ever made a living as a ventriloquist.  What's more, he has put ventriloquism back into public view in a major way -- he's as big a celebrity as Bergen ever was.  (Read all about Dunham here.) 

Is Dunham's "art" as sophisticated as Bergen's or even Henson's?  Who cares.  The world would be a poorer place without ventriloquism, and Dunham is making it happen now. (Besides, eighty years from now people will most likely look back at Dunham the same way we look back at Bergen.)

Scot = Genius.

A few days later I posted this brilliant observation:
One of the disadvantges of theatre vs. film: In theatre, promotion and marketing is concurrent with pre-production.

You have to sell the thing before it has crystalized into something saleable.
Scot Nery:
movies might as well be the same. They don't advertise what you get. My mantra is "Lie to make it sound good, but so they won't be disappointed when they see it."

All the stuff I've promoted for myself has been impossible to describe and ...make it sound worth seeing. I sometimes have to make up some description that's totally different from the show and then make the show so good that people don't worry about what got them in the joint.
I have nothing to add, other than:  Genius.

Definitely check out Scot Nery online at his website, jugglegood.com.  But nothing compares with catching his act live!  He has a performance calendar on the site, and I highly recommend tracking his pancake-juggling-ass down.  You won't be disappointed!

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