Andy Daly's Comedy Litmus Test

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Last year I saw Andy Daly perform at MaxFunCon, a convention of nice people that happens to include a lot of indie/alternative comedy. I'm an Andy Daly fan, and when he took the stage I grabbed my phone and started recording -- I missed his first line or two, but I got most of his act. What I caught is (to me and to the audience at the convention) a brilliantly executed piece of standup. Daly appears in the character of "Jerry O'Hearn" and does about five minutes of his bit:

To me, this was (and is) the greatest thing that ever happened. I hadn't thought much about why I loved it so much, but after 13,000 people watched it on YouTube and left comments I got an idea of what other people thought about this bit. Many were completely baffled, finding it thoroughly un-funny, and even questioning why people in the audience were laughing at all. Others had to explain Daly's bit (I'll let you go to YouTube in case you need that explanation). I was perplexed, but intrigued. The experience of reading those comments led me to believe that this five-minute video is a comedy litmus test: people who enjoy this will tend towards absurdist or meta-humor (in other words, they're comedy nerds); people who dislike it or are baffled by it are more interested in mainstream comedy (like joke-punchline, joke-punchline). The fact that I find this so brilliant is a form of nerdiness that has to do with the actual structure of jokes themselves ("Hey buddy, somebody called, they want their thing back!").

Do You Love This or Hate It?

I'm curious what you guys think of this thing. You don't have to sit through the whole thing to get the gist of it, though I'd encourage sticking around to roughly the 2:45 mark so you can see the pattern. My main question is whether the Mental Floss audience tends more towards comedy nerdiness in addition to our (let's face it) general nerdiness.

Full disclosure: although I posted this video, I don't make money from it and have turned down YouTube's offers to put ads on it.

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July 29, 2012 - 6:13am
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