The Art of Slow Comedy

A lot of big things have happened for me in 2014 so far. At my day job, I’ve helped create, organize, and run a public program and my first large-scale party. I’ve started diving into the SF improv comedy scene. I’ve been seeing more of the Bay Area social scene than my past 4 years in college. I’ve been listening to new podcasts so that’s cool.

Also, I recently started interning for Slow Art Day’s tumblr and website blogs. I’ve had a crush on the slow art movement for a few years now and am honored to be part of the organizations team.

Slow Art Day ( slowartday ) is a day that happens once a year where groups of people gather around the world to just look at art. One hour of one day is devoted to looking at 4-5 pieces of pre-chosen art. No racing through the galleries. No instagraming before looking. Just looking, grabbing lunch, and talking about what everyone saw.

The idea seems so simple. Spend quality time with art with a group of people who are (hopefully) unassuming, open, and diverse. But it’s so much harder to achieve an intimate moment outside of a designated day.

The chance to interact with art is achieved through in-person events and daily check-ins with art blogs. The same requirement for staying in touch goes for any nerdom: Fine arts, sports, oh and comedy.

This wouldn’t be a Strutting Leo’s post without the comedy nerd tie in.

We’re constantly seeing six second “best” vines and the occasional two minute viral YouTube video (if it pops up on our fb feed enough times). Unless you’re a devoted fan, most stand-up comedians remain “unknown” until a tumblr gif set gets a few thousand notes or they land a tv show that doesn’t get cancelled after the first season. It’s the nerds that keep the any community going.

Speaking of nerds, let me tell you about the podcast 12 Hour Day with J.D. and Connor ( twelvehourday ). It’s a twelve hour long podcast hosted by J.D. Amato ( justdreamingaway ) and Connor Ratliff ( connorratliff ).

Let me tell you a little bit more. The premise (much like slow art day) is simple. Each person has a mic and they spend the day together in New York. Sometimes the conversation is intense, sometimes a friend comes over as an unofficial guest, sometimes there’s dead air for 30 minutes because the mic ran out of batteries. I’ve only finished episode 1 but as someone who identifies as a long time listener (anyone who made it past hour 4), I was surprised at how intimate the experience was.

There have been countless pleas about the merits of slow food, long form writing, and even slow art. However, I rarely hear about the merits of a long podcast. We’re constantly being told to par comedy content down into digestible, irresistible bites of viral pringles (because once you pop you can’t stop… get it?… get it?). Most comedy podcasts use one or more of the following:

– A panel of comedians arguing/riffing about a current event
– A sketch featuring a wacky bit or character
– An interview highlighting the guest (which normally somehow highlights the host)
– A sincere moment or two that connects with the listener

The 12 Hour Day takes everything that makes an enjoyable comedy podcast and stretches it out into an experience that is somehow more disjointed and therefore sincere (for more see: thechrisgethardshow ). I’m not going to say that this is an artistic masterpiece… HOWEVER, like an artistic masterpiece, the podcast achieves a nuanced way to convey friendship, comedy, and entertainment while engaging with the audience through a separate medium.

I adore this podcast and am looking forward to slowly taking the time to listen to episode 2 over the next week. Become a longtime listener by starting here.

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