Stand up comedy’s second boom feels less driven by punchlines, and more by comedians’ introspection and vulnerability. Nearly every week, another special comes out that mines the personal narrative and struggles of another comics. While some comedians have managed to make this kind of vulnerability funny, others… have made it easy to forget you’re watching a standup show. And that tone change has led to style and format shifts as well.The traditional format — the laughs/per minute structure, on-stage-every-night, and the need to appeal to the masses — is all but dead. Taking their place? Comedians as TED talkers, as performance artists, as prophets and pundits.And while what’s shared on stage is more varied than ever, some think the form is being constrained. You can say anything, but you can’t just say anything. So, what are comedians trying to do other than make us laugh? How is this trend of vulnerability and experimentation changing standup’s tone, format and purpose? And what complications arise?
We often think of disruption as this mythical struggle of David and Goliath — the scrappy start-ups rising out of nowhere to take down the established players, who are as powerful as they are out-of-touch.In business, as in life, people tend to root for the Davids… and I’m not always sure why.As much as we like to hate The Man — whether it’s BP, KPMG, or the Big G himself — there are consequences to stickin’ it to him… Here’s the thing: Goliath’s fall would look a lot different if your empire falls with him. Whether they’ve been in power for 2 years or 200 — how can Goliaths keep the spirit of David alive, and disrupt themselves before someone else does it for them?Today we’re turning our attention to the big guys, and taking notes from the leaders who broke rank to ignite the coup from within the castle walls.