David Denby goes on the hunt for snark in this insightful article, It’s not big and it’s not clever. This struck a cord with me because it is the most obvious and common content offense many comedy writers and bloggers seem to be committing. They are all about snark, no story. No real depth or meaning. As Denby writes,
“Snark is hazing on the page. It prides itself on wit, but it’s closer to a leg stuck out in a school corridor that sends some kid flying.”
I see people struggling with their dreams of becoming a writer, only to spend hours constructing “clever insult” after “clever insult” that reads more like an angry frustrated bully/biddy on a rant than anything of interest to anyone but their therapist.
Snark seems to get you nowhere. The best standup comics know that if they use even the most clever snark against a heckler, they are playing with fire. Rarely does this work because the heckler just wants to insult, does not matter if you out snark them. Formally trained standup comics often use a technique of acknowledging, COMPLIMENTING the heckler, and then move on quickly to tell an engaging STORY to deflect.
My friend Kiki Walter brands her blog, flibbertigibbet as being “better life through snarcasm,” but it’s actually great storytelling. OK, maybe her Sarah Palin Can Kiss My Grits was a bit snarky, but she did get make some valid points with it and well, we all have our limits…