Tammy Rae Carland: I see comedy as one of the most vulnerable kinds of performance. The idea of getting up there by yourself, without props in most cases; you don’t have a band, you don’t have a troupe of actors with you, you don’t have a support system, and your dependency on the audience for reaction, approval, and success is so profound. The idea of actually doing that is unimaginable.
Bad At Sports: It makes me think about Bill Hicks, a comedian who does encapsulate the transgressive and progressive sensibility you’re talking about. There’s that two-minute clip on YouTube from the end of his career where he just melts down at a heckler and becomes so hateful. The pressure of being that guy who has to do this thing in this way, and represent all these values to the audience, just gets to him and he falls apart.
TRC: Have you seen the Joan Rivers documentary?
BAS: No, I have not yet. I’ve been looking forward to it.
TRC: It’s pretty genius. There’s a scene in which she’s heckled. She gets incredibly emotional and starts to fight back in a vulnerable way, and then gets hostile toward him, and then turns it into a genius joke, and then the whole audience is back there with her. The thing is that she was actually making a joke about a disability, and this man in the audience said something about having a child with a disability. She completely lost the audience, but then managed to bring them right back to her. It was a very interesting narrative moment.