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Comedy as a career for all ages: “You’re either funny or you’re not funny”

by on March 24, 2014

One of our very earliest posts on this blog was about the (then new) ‘silver stand-up’ scene at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Last Saturday’s Independent featured this piece on the rise of the silver stand-up, the growing number of people in later life who are starting to do stand-up comedy as a career. It focuses on Lynn Ruth Miller who is in the middle of a 12 night run of her show, Granny’s Gone Wild, in the basement of London’s Soho Theatre, and on Marc Lucero who won the second Silver Stand-up award at Leicester Comedy Festival.

Miller, now 81, started her comedy career 9 years ago. Lucero is 61. Both do several gigs a week. Lucero mentions the dominance of the comedy scene by those between 20 and 30. Miller notes that the only people who don’t like her are “men in their mid-twenties and people over 70. Because I’m making fun of them”.

Interestingly, Miller also observes “You’re either funny or you’re not funny”  suggesting that there is no time or age limit to a career in comedy, notwithstanding the stereotype of stand-ups as young (and predominantly male). And certainly there are plenty who have been working in comedy for decades who are still professionally engaged in the business of comedy – the same article goes on to mention the countdown to the Monty Python reunion shows in July, where the players are now in their 70s.

Quite how mainstream the silver stand-up are however remains to be seen. Despite this piece, I didn’t see Miller’s show in The Independent’s comedy listings elsewhere in Saturday’s paper….

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