When giving a speech or delivering a talk, Mark says that sincerity sells. Cringeworthy comedy and hackneyed humour can leave you murdered at the mic. A sincere speech with a few quick quips is sure to leave your audience satisfied.
Award-winning crime writer Mark Billingham has a history on the stand-up stage. It was there where he learned that horror and humour are closer relatives than you would think. For Mark, writing a crime novel is like his days on the comedy stage. Both involve setting up punchlines and absolutely killing an audience.
Mark credits much of his writing prowess to his time as part of comedy duo The Tracy Brothers. Mark says that learning to hook an audience with humour has continued to help him hold on to readers through the hugely horrific hunks of his crime fiction.
“I learned that in writing, hitting very hard and keeping it going and keeping the pages turning, is the same as the way you have to keep the laughs coming in comedy.”
Despite writing about murders, Mark is a mirthful man who understands the value of humour in communication. Whether on stage or on the page, Mark knows that a lightness filled with laughter is a great way to make connections with your audience by making them comfortable.
“It is a way to make things that might not be palatable, palatable. To make your audience a bit more receptive to relax them, to make them feel that they are in a safe environment, and that it’s not going to be horrible.”
Mark’s work has been both ferociously funny and famously frightening. Our interview was filled with reminiscing about our old jaunts on the same stages, Mark’s side-splitting stories, and a brilliant discussion about the power of humour in the face of the horrific. I hope you join us for a criminally good time, this week on The Humourology Podcast.
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See you next Tuesday.