“Knock knock?”

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This week on my show I had writer and performer Julie Burrows in to tutor me on untrustworthy slugs. We listened to a questionable Craig David song and lost ourselves in the ellipsis of Hera Lindsay Bird‘s ‘The Dad Joke is Over’.

The Dad Joke is Over

sometimes…..when a great civilisation is too prosperous for too long
when a great civilisation marked by rapid periods of economic growth
and decline
expands beyond its own conceptual limits
& ventures into the uncharted space beyond what is……funny

sometimes, when there exists too much of a good thing
and
the market is oversaturated with cringing
and
years of puns have blighted the emotional landscape
a great empire can fall
& laughter grow up from the ruins

sometimes there are dad jokes, and they can’t take the heat
wandering from set-up to set-up, in their glistening barbecue aprons
their punchlines wither and dissolve, in the shimmering wetlands of
contemporary stand-up
like snowflakes upon the grill, leaving only……….questions
like how many women does it take to change a joke format???
or
knock knock



& nobody answers
but the black wind of fate

The time of the dad joke is over, and things are getting……..al fresco
their punchlines converted into anecdotes, and refurbished with a Tuscan feature wall
It’s the time of the mother joke & you wake to find a deer carcus in the garden
nothing on the wind……………………………………………by Elizabeth Arden

Sometimes you wake up…..in the cold light of a new era
with the unerring certainty that your life’s work is just for……sham
like…….what do you get when you cross a joke and a poem?
or if a punchline falls in the forest and, and no one is around to hear it
………………………………..is it time to stop telling jokes in the forest?

I like to commit the sympathetic error of meaning all my jokes
but still………….I do not think that poetry should be saved
it should be like an attic in sunlight, with the bats scrubbed out
like…..you can buy this book & then set fire to it…….for free

The time of the mother joke is upon us and you look exactly like Scarlett Johansson
you never looked like Scarlett Johansson before but here….in the time of the mom joke you do

you walk deeper and deeper into the setup, with your……vague celebrity impressionism
you can sense a punchline, and it’s getting closer……………………………..

When I was young, my mother couldn’t afford brand-name jokes
All we had to laugh at was…………the unceasing bitterness of life
Even now, I am compelled to laugh in the face of heartbreak
but when a witticism is made…………………………………………..

The mother joke is here, and the punchline is
………………………………………………………………….there is no punchline
it’s gone beyond the format of a joke, and is in your blood
everything is wrong, but you can’t stop laughing
ancient punishments repeating themselves
like nunchucks on a nursery frieze

The mother joke is here, and there is no punchline
this is a poem, not a joke, and the only way out is death
You stare and stare at your vast superfluity of life
it stretches out beyond itself, like too many razors on a kite tail

 

*

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LAST WEEK my guest was the poet Keisha Thompson, whose solo show ‘Man on the Moon’ is coming to Contact Theatre from 16-20th October.

Keisha performed poems from her new book Lunar, which is being launched on 25th October at 2022 (the club!). We talked about mathematical fibs, her artistic relationship with her editor, afrofuturism and the poem ‘dinosaurs in the hood’ by Danez Smith.

 

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