The New Hack – Is Comedy The New Rock’N'Roll?
Metal Hammer Podcast co-host Stephen Hill has something to say about comedy being ‘the new rock’n'roll’…
Hi, it seems pretty crazy to me that people are constantly searching for ‘the new rock’n'roll’. In my, relatively short, life the tag ‘the new rock’n'roll’ has been applied to everything from football to cooking. In the mid 90’s even coming from Manchester, having dreadful taste in clothes and haircuts, saying ‘fook’ every other work and shamelessly aping The Beatles every career move was considered ‘The new rock’n'roll’. Can you imagine?! Bell-ends.
The most insane aspect of this seemingly endless search, is that the rock ‘n’ roll we have is, actually, in rude health and pretty peerless thanks very much (Listen to Black Spiders, nod head in agreement) – quite why you’d be so dead set on finding an alternative is mental. Why would you cast aside something that rules so much with a shitty replacement? You wouldn’t say “Slugs are the new dogs!”, kick Fido out of your house and start throwing sticks at a little slimy, black blob would you? WOULD YOU?!!!
The thing that has been branded ‘The new rock ‘n’ roll’ the most in the last fifteen years though is comedy. This is where my ears prick up and I start to listen. You see, I’m a comic. A comic in reality, but beneath my gag telling, clowning demeanour there is a rock star screaming to burst out. You can see where the comparisons work, over the last few years comics have dragged themselves up from cramped, sweaty, smoky backrooms to the O2’s and Wembley’s of the world to entertain thousands of screaming, clapping, hysterical fans. Izzard, McIntyre, Kay, Evans, Howard, Carr – all household names with hard-core fans stretching across the country. Maybe they have finally found it, the new rock ‘n’ roll.
I’m here to tell you, they haven’t. Look at the list of names above, you know who they are I’m sure. Now, answer me this, is there anything even remotely rock ‘n’ roll about any of them? Take away the fact that Eddie Izzard wears mascara, and, NO! Nothing! Nada! Of course you’ll be told by people in “other magazines” that because Noel Fielding is mates with The…fucking…Zutons…or whoever or the matey from The Inbetweeners was seen at the last Kasabian concert that the two go hand in hand. They don’t! I’m not slating comedy, I love it. The problem is, as much as I love it, as much as I follow Stewart Lee’s career with almost stalker like intensity, as much as I always make sure I get a ticket to see a new show by Doug Stanhope or Paul Foot or Glenn Wool or many of the other stunning stand-ups that are currently working the vibrant comedy circuit in this country, as much as I could watch Richard Pryor Live in concert and laugh until my pancreas burst Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life! Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, can compare with the chill down my spine or the pump of adrenaline through my whole body when I hear The Ecstasy of Gold at the start of a Metallica concert, or the opening riff of 43% Burnt by The Dillinger Escape Plan, or the memory of seeing Dimebag Darrell walk out onstage at Brixton Academy and raise a drink to the crowd before launching in Walk.
I bet you’ve never been to see a comedian and been down on your knees, drunk and screaming “YES! I fucking love this joke!!! I didn’t think he was gonna tell it!!!” like you would if Slayer launched into your fave cut from Hell Awaits? I bet you’ve never been at a comedy night and a comic you liked has encouraged you to run round in a circle with your top off, thrashing into the rest of the audience with no regard for either their or your own wellbeing? But if Randy Blythe asked you too I bet you would.
So, sorry Mr Comic, with your funny voices and your amusing observations, you are nothing compared with the sheer emotive visceral thrill of “the old rock ‘n’ roll”. And nothing ever will be. Which is a shame. For me.