Why is funny not fundable?

Pam Hardiman, 19 September 2012

ok so where do you draw the line? Is funny theatre just comedy? When a stand up decides to do a “show” ( Kitson, Thomas) what are we now watching? and what about circus, mime and musical comedy?
The question was asked “has anyone every tried to get funding for comedy?” and the consensus was that you'd never get it...but nobody had ever tried of course. And feedback from funders is such that we'd never know whether our failed bid was because we were too comedic, or not. So everyone is in little in the dark.

And then the c word was used. Commercial. When is art commercial and is there a crossover. Interesting used of the words “serious art” implying that comedic art was somehow less valid, or certainly different.
Of course there is an existing framework of comedic clubs, pubs and open mic spots which help support young comedians as they develop. And this doesn't seem to exist in the “more serious” world of the subsidised arts. So perhaps funding for comedy is superfluous anyhow? perhaps there should be more focus on creating a similar system in the performing arts ( scratch nights are great but few and far between - and nowhere near on the same scale as comedy events).

Of course there is a difference between theatre and comedy in more ways than just funding. One difference is the “stuff” theatre needs just to happen. Set, costumes etc all add to the theatre production budget. Comedy is certainly cheaper to produce. Another justification perhaps for funding theatre and not comedy. Yet there's no system in the music industry for funding either, so it's not just about comedy.

But audiences really want comedy in this climate. It's a relief. Audiences perhaps go

because they want to be cheered up, and less often because they want to be seen somewhere, or need educating.
But aren't comedians also artists? What about Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy - agreement that they certainly were artists.

Perhaps it's about innovation. New comedians such as The Boy with Tape on his face are bringing in new ideas.

But does comedy actually NEED funding? Not at the top level of course. And if the network of clubs for new acts is working (and has worked well for 40+ years) then why try to fix it? After all, funding is all about filling an earning gap.Comedians have been working out how to do this on their own for years.


funny, comedy