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Spalding Gray, Sit Down Comedian


“Sitting squared behind that table gives me a center, makes the story the important thing and to some extent the table is a new image that can’t be pinned down. It is authoritarian but it also is not stand-up comedy.” – Spalding Gray on  not being a stand-up comic

If you read a certain amount of interviews with Spalding Gray you’re going to notice a reoccurring sentiment, a sort of consistent refusal–  it comes out of his mouth bluntly, more or less like so:  “I am not a stand-up comedian.”  Cataloging these instances in one sitting starts to paint a picture of someone, perhaps, protesting too much.  Who was he railing against?  Was Gray really being pinned with a stand-up comedian tag?   It turns out, yes, he was.  A few examples:

”He is a sit-down monologuist with the comic sensibility of a stand-up comedian,”– New York Times

“Part stand-up comedy, part psychoanalytic free association,” – NPR

“Gray’s aural diaries are funnier than Woody Allen’s old stand-up bits, and more candid than the confessions exacted by Oprah.” – Seattle Times

1 Comment

  1. Matte ScottMay 8, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Our philosophers? First-person journalists? Or is it just old-fashioned story-telling without the division between comedy and drama? Its a big shift, and with the efforts out there to get regular people up in front of an open-mic or on a podcast, there’s a thesis or a book or a meta-podcast to be done about it. Let me know if you see anyone trying to understand this movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXs0YEkWaOU


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