THE NICOLA MIDNIGHT ST. CLAIRE
I was asked to do a poetry reading. I didn’t want to read poems because it was in an art gallery, and I often have felt that people who like art become “bored” by a poetry reading. I had recently become convinced that the best possible form of art is stand-up comedy, and that the most frequent conversational referent for comedic things was Youtube. While I did not rule out the possibility that the performance would succeed as a comedic act, I did know on some level that the piece was designed to highlight the inevitable gap between the experience of looking and the experience of processing language. Looking is always funnier. I explained to the audience that this was my first comedy performance, ever of my life, and they responded warmly. I then attempted to the best of my ability to describe in detail five or six YouTube videos, many of which the audience had seen due to their omnipresence on the internet. These verbal attempts universally failed to recreate a visual experience designed to invoke laughter. In striving to mirror these moving images, my language as a “comedian” failed as well, and I was left with nothing but a talking body on a stage, a cipher for the much more appealing experience of a screen.