An Internet Phenomenon

11 Oct

You know, in the internet age, many new artists have been taking advantage of the medium to get themselves exposed in ways that traditional modes would not have afforded them. It’s allowed diamonds in the rough to place themselves firmly out of the rough and into the center of everyone’s attention, where they belong. Comedians are no exception, and I have lately become obsessed with a particular pioneer of internet comedy, someone who has exhibited such unique talent that it almost makes me feel like I should quit now and resign myself to a life of mediocrity because nothing I can do can HOPE to reach his nose-bleed-inducing heights of brilliance.

I refer, of course, to Daniel Songer.

Now, what should hit you about his whole presentation is how piercingly avant-garde it is without any of the smug, winking self-awareness of most internet humor. Right off the bat, you’ll notice the comedy performance takes place in what seems to be his back yard, with absolutely no audience to be seen or heard. He’s completely alone.  If you check his youtube page, you’ll see all of his videos are like that.

Now, the philistine might see that and say it’s because he is so afraid of the potential silence or boos from an actual audience that he’s too scared to try performing in a real comedy venue, or already KNOWS he would tank so bad that he won’t bother trying, and only posts his material on the internet so he can have control over his comments and audience reaction, but the true comedy connoisseur knows better. He has no audience because he doesn’t need one. His presence communicates sheer comedic prowess so clearly we don’t NEED other people’s laughter to tell us something is funny, and frankly, no audience DESERVES him. Much like the Earth NEEDS to be as far from the Sun as it is so as not to burn up, Songer needs to perform in a vacuum so as not to completely destroy us.

This is self-evident from the moment the presentation begins, when he announces himself (again, because his self is all he needs) as “comedian entertainer Daniel Songer.” Again, the uneducated consumer would say “That’s redundant, a comedian is a kind of entertainer, he doesn’t need to say that,” and again you are MISSING THE POINT, YOU SIMPLETON!

See, while, technically, comedians are “entertainers,” entertainment is probably farthest from most comedians’ minds, as they end up droning on and on with mind-numbing platitudes like “punchlines,” “coherent structure,” and “changes in tone of voice,”  but Daniel Songer makes sure you are awake the ENTIRE TIME by BLASTING YOU WITH EVERY SINGLE SYLLABLE AT THE SAME VOLUME, because EVERY SYLLABLE IS JUST THAT. DAMN. FUNNY. And he never let’s you forget it! It’s a mind-blowing, intense, comedy assault that leaves you pleasantly fatigued, and possibly pleasantly bleeding from your eyes and ears.

Songer slaughters every sacred cow he can, eschewing the traditional “joke’ structure, instead throwing the very humorous core of every idea that goes through his head, much like Robin Williams did in his prime. For example, right at the beginning, out of nowhere, he introduces his new dance, “The Jack-me-up,” complete with a self-composed song to go with it. The concision and economy of language and movement to express such a clearly formed humorous premise shows how what seems like painstakingly thought out comedy can just come out nowhere in a single second, and the rest of the act continues at this same, blistering pace.

While being so aggressive and unforgiving, Songer manages to also be amazingly articulate. His vocabulary of words equals his vocabulary of expressive movements and songs, as demonstrated when, after an almost Homeric build-up to a bit about dating and dancing with a girl at a bar, he hits the brilliantly worded punchline with gusto: “MAN, YOU’VE GOT A NIIIICE BUTT!”

Then, after continuing the bit that turns into a full-blown demonstration of his musical talents, instead of having to feel like he has a proper “conclusion” or “closing;” he signs off with a simple restatement of his name, and he’s done. A hurricane doesn’t have a nice neat little closer after it’s done ravaging a coastal Jamaican city, it just leaves as quietly as it came, leaving the victims to reflect on what incredible force of nature they just witnessed, and that’s how Daniel Songer operates, too. He is the rawest, most intense hurricane of comedy on the entire internet.

My fellow comedians, forget Louis C.K, forget Marc Maron,forget Patton Oswalt, you have found your new target to aim for and eventually fall short of hitting with your limp, impotent comedy bottle rockets, that look like cinders next to the H-bomb that is Daniel Songer.

And if you don’t believe me, listen to his audience.


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