This afternoon I went to see internet sensation “Miranda Sings”. I am not really the target demographic for this and unlike most of the people in the packed theatre I had not really seen much of Miranda’s work before, though my wife had showed me a couple of videos. It was quite a bamboozling experience to be witnessing a cult act that I personally didn’t know much about, but the audience of mainly teenage girls clearly loved the whole thing. Essentially Miranda is a YouTube parody act, a deluded person who thinks she is fantastic at singing and who faces up to her haters. Though it might be easy to see it as getting a cheap laugh from someone singing badly, there is a lot more to it than that and in spite of not really understanding the in-jokes, in a sense that made the experience more interesting and enjoyable for me. And it shows the power of the internet and YouTube on a younger audience. Most people won’t have heard of this act and yet she’s selling out all over the world.
Steve Bennett from Chortle, another 40-something man, discombobulated to be in a room of screaming teenagers, didn’t like the show in Edinburgh, but I think he missed the point of it. It works on quite a few levels and the audience are both in on the joke and part of the joke. It operates, I guess, in a similar area to Me1 Vs Me2 Snooker - part of the joke is on you for even engaging with the thing, though alas my snooker audio is unlikely to engage with this young audience and become an international sensation.
The audience dressed up, screamed with mock excitement, talked to the door staff in Miranda’s voice. They were showing that they were both smarter than the kind of idiots who get obsessed with actual pop stars, whilst at the same time being able to scratch that itch. It reminded me and my too-clever-for-our-own-good friends going to see Ted Rogers (or Don Estelle) and wanting to take the piss and distance ourselves, whilst at the same time actually enjoying it all. Miranda (if that is her real name) has tapped into that feeling, almost certainly accidentally and become a phenomenon. It’s actually pretty smart, subtle and clever comedy, way beyond what Bennett saw in it. There are some good jokes and ideas, but it’s also quite empowering. Even if the character is insane she stands up to bullies and turns their comments to her own advantage (both in character and out of it) and she addresses issues like porn, again from a ludicrous stand-point which highlights her own issues, but which I think is again very healthy for a young audience to hear mocked. And she pushes back the boundaries, bringing up two girls on stage and congratulating one for wearing similarly non-porn, body-covering clothing to her, whilst berating another for showing her arms and refusing to hug her. One hopes that the young girl is enough in on the joke not to be hurt by it, but it’s bold and subversive for someone how is at least in part a “kids’ entertainer” to do this. And that’s why the younger audience members like her. They are not being patronised and she’s talking about things that they’re not meant to know about, but they do know about it.
It’s a celebration of naffness, it’s got that Rocky Horror/The Room style vibe to it, it’s about being superior to the idiot on stage whilst at the same time recognising yourself in her and loving her. And she sold out this medium sized theatre incredibly quickly, without any kind of TV exposure. Maybe I really should just concentrate on the snooker. It is my dream to one day be able to tour that and play in front of packed crowds at the Reading Hexagon. But at the moment I find it hard enough to get people to see my actual comedy shows, so let’s not over-reach ourselves just yet.
I don’t know how long the character will last (though could envisage the same audience wanting to see her again in 20 years time as a nostalgic throw back), but none of us know how long our careers will last. And few get to be such a big smash as this.
Also she is so like Lou Sanders that I wonder if it might all be a character played by her.
To pretend to be grown up we then walked up the road and had a look around the Saatchi Gallery. My favourite bits were the giant ants made out of twigs and what looked like moulds of human skulls and a ball made out of bricks. There were some nude ladies in some of the pictures too. The other adults at the art gallery pretended to not find that rude and funny. But I did. You could see their boobs. I am 47 years old. There is no hope.
I’d done my 6.75 mile run this morning. It’s was Me2’s turn after Me1’s disappointing showing last week and he set off at quite a lick, setting an early pace of 8 min miles and seemingly challenging for the all time record. I was using Runkeeper to keep us up to date with the current pace, which helps spur the runners on. At 20 minutes it was 8min11 miles which was pretty good, but at just after 30 minutes I realised the notifications had stopped. The app had mysteriously turned itself off at 24 minutes. Or had “someone” turned it off. Although I started it again it definitely affected the impetus for Me2, who came home in around about 57 minutes, beating his personal best (I think, I had thought he’d done it in 57 something, but looking back it looks like he did not improve on his 59 and a half minute run that initially broke the hour barrier). He certainly looks like being the man in form though, despite Me1’s possibly underhanded attempts to undermine him.