Day 29: Mark Normand

Day 29. I’m sharing stand up that I like each day this month, and today’s is a 2014 set from Mark Normand. Here’s some reasons I’m laughing at it:

• SIMILES. Mark peppers his set with similes: being hit on by a hot gay is like finding a million pesos, having a gay son is like finding a french fry in your onion rings, prude girls are like mom and pop shops, promiscuous girls are like Walmart. I like these jokes because there’s tension built into the setup - I at first don’t see how these two disparate ideas link - and then, when he cleverly connects the dots, there’s a release and an accompanying laugh. (See also: The Analogy - Patrice O’Neal, Day 19; Comparison - Aparna Nancherla, Day 7)

• SILENCE. Many of Mark’s sentences have a twist at the end, landing where I don’t expect. It’s a well-constructed punchline, and to further grow the laugh, he’ll place a pause before the reveal. (“I spent the whole day today on [pause] Facebook.” “Spicy Latinas [pause] for a friend.” “Whoa hey, [pause] I’m just trying to sleep with you.”) In the gap time, my brain subconsciously fills in where I expect the sentence to go, thereby heightening the surprise and the laughter when he takes it in a different direction. (See also: Pauses - Stewart Lee, Day 6)

• STANDARDS. There’s a rich potential for funny in double standards since there’s automatically two contrasting pairs. Mark’s got a keen eye for this and, in the last half of the set, turns hypocrisy into comedy: he creates funny theoretical worlds by showing how things would be if I did apply the logic I use in one situation to another. Like the comedy I like the most, he uses his jokes in service of a novel argument. As a result, I’m made to laugh at, but also think on, my inconsistencies.

Hope you enjoyed it, and for more Mark Normand, check out his half hour and hour specials on Comedy Central, Youtube his many great late night spots, or follow on IG: @marknormand