TWR010 - The Music of Laughter (with Gonzalo Alarcón)

Chiringuito Paradise
Simon Bronikowski
Marije Nie
Gonzalo Alarcón

(recorded on April 1, 2020)

started as a Circus performer on the streets of Chile. He then discovered the Art of the Clown, which continues to be his focus. His latest performance Chiringuito Paradise tells the story of the grand opening of a bar which ends in complete catastrophe.

This is the first part of a series of conversations spiraling around comedy. As these episodes will be quite long, you can use the chapters to jump to what interests you.

Part 2: The Physics of Comedy
Part 3: Something Has To Communicate

With Gonzalo we try (and fail, and try again, and fail better) to understand the nature of comedy, of what is funny, or how is funny. We return to the questions on technique, being good and the necessity of taking risks. We look at Rhythm (the key to it all?), jumping between jazz and theatre, with some fruitful insights into the nature of what “comic” could mean. Of course we look at Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. In the end we listen to and think about the comedy of sounds and objects.

In the second half we listen to the following clips:
1. “The Sanity Clause” from “A Night at the Opera” by the Marx Brothers (1935)
2. The “Smile Scene” from “Ninotchka” by Ernst Lubitsch (1939)

Marije mentions Cross Pollination a few times: A group of performers who meet regularly to explore a dialogue “in-between practices” which we founded together in 2017.

Simon mentions the BBC Sound Effects Archive. “These 16,000 BBC Sound Effects are made available by the BBC in WAV format to download for use under the terms of the RemArc Licence. The Sound Effects are BBC copyright, but they may be used for personal, educational or research purposes, as detailed in the license.”

(We’re sorry for the poor sound quality again – hoping that the content outweighs this deficit. It will get better!)

00:00 Small Introduction
02:26 There is a guest: Gonzalo Alarcón
11:33 How Gonzalo began
15:33 Importance of Taking Risks
18:57 Technique Against Technique
21:35 The Story – an Excuse for Exchange
24:53 Contaminazione Artistica
27:08 Comedy & Rhythm: How is Funny?
32:05 Accepting Failure
34:31 Technique and Trust
37:50 Example 1: Marx Brothers
49:43 Being Inside and Outside
57:38 Urgency
01:02:13 Listening to the Music of Laughter
01:05:14 Example 2: Ninotchka
01:13:26 Provoking Laughter
01:18:50 Embracing Tragedy
01:22:13 Mechanics, Precision, Timing
01:28:59 What moves you to perform
01:32:51 Humanity
01:37:31 Slapstick
01:39:25 Comedy of Sounds
01:43:26 Composition & Energy
01:50:11 To be continued…

We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) You can also comment below. We will try to reflect on this input in the podcast.

You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.