Monday, April 18, 2011

Vive le différence

I was invited by an alert reader to compare the difference in tweeting styles between Steve Martin and Peter Serafinowicz, a task for which I am doubly grateful: not only is the comparison a rich one, but I had never thought to check out Serafinowicz's tweets.

With Steve Martin, it's like you're a guest of a friend at a friend in the afterhours bar of an exclusive jazz club and just happen to be sitting next to Steve Martin; for most of the time, he's turned away, holding court, discussing art and music and LA, but every once in a while he turns to you and deadpans a funny line, which is by no means great in and of itself, but it's Steve Martin, you're next to him, you're a bit drunk, and you love him, so the joke makes you warm and happy. You know that if you repeat it the next day, you'll get a patient smile in response, but it doesn't matter.

Peter Serafinowicz, however, approaches you in the harsh glare of broad daylight in the middle of a crowded pavement, comes up to you - no, looms over you, and says with Pinterian menace in his brass baritone, "I'm going to make you laugh seven times today." And you think, "Well, a) that's impossible, and b) you've not exactly put me in the mood," and then he makes you laugh seven times, and, even better, after the first couple, you're completely on his side.

Is that how you see it?

UPDATE: Typo in title; sigh.


Sven said...


But also: Steve Martin is the old-school comic genius, gamely trying to adapt his shtick to the Twitter form, cramming it in (and often succeeding!); whereas Serafinowicz is the young buck who instinctively understands the form, and doesn't even need to fill it?

Serafinowicz's best Twitter performances, I believe, come in his weekly Q&A sessions, which now have their own website.

You could write an enormously entertaining post on almost every one of these, eg:

Q: Why don't we eat penguins?
A: Okay!


Q: Why are oysters considered an aphrodisiac?
A: Because they look like little cunts.


sw said...

Ah, Sven, I agree, except that I didn't draw the age distinction on purpose. Martin is operating like most people on twitter; Serafinowicz is really carving out new territory - yes, the young buck is adapting better, better than most.

As for his Q&A format, I specifically left that out. Because it was such a huge pleasure for me to discover it, I did not want people to miss out on the discovery. I was worried that putting the jokes on my site would have a similar effect to putting the jokes on their own web-site (which I noticed he had done), of tempering some of the impression of spontaneity and direct communication of twitter, which gives his jokes that extra charge. But yes, they do deserve discussion. *masturbates*