Monday, March 15, 2010

Teknikal Diffikulties

Tekinikal Diffikulties or Tek Diff is a one-man comedy podcast show by Cayenne Chris Conroy. He has just recently completed his fifth anniversary show and has what he considers a "small cult following" of subscribers.Thanks to John Bell of The Batfry podcast who gave me this site.

Website
The Tek Diff website is truly bare bones. It has what you need (that being the shows) but it doesn't offer anything else. There's no way that I can see to get a hold of Mr. Conroy on his site. The only picture I see is a self portrait you have to click on the "Artwork" category to get (and its at the bottom) and there's nothing to bring the entire theme of the series together. It's not confusing, but its share thin on the details. Rating 2/5

Audio Drama Type- Modern/Experimental
Tek Diff is recorded in Mr. Conroy's home in Minneapolis, Minnesota and utilizes all the techniques of modern audio drama. It is somewhat experimental as it encapsulates a lot of existentialism and zen experiential audio drama. Some of his more coherent plot lines include deep introspective scenes that Mr. Conroy has confirmed are more about his own personal zeitgeist. This is not just a show that is only zany comedy. There are depths within it, including sometimes, painful realizations.

Acting Type- Solo Amateur
I'm going to put the acting of Mr. Conroy down as "amateur" but only in the best possible of ways, and only because I don't see any evidence that he's done this for cash. His delivery is anything but amateur. His timing is picture perfect, and he provides a wide range of characters that a "one man" show requires. My only complaint would be that many of his characters still sound fundamentally like his regular voice, and with so many incidental characters, it's sometimes difficult to tell the differences. John Bell is far better at creating distinct voices as a one man show, but my suspicion is that Mr. Conroy's gig is not so much in creating unique voices, but rather in focusing on what they "say". Rating 4/5

Production Type- Detailed
Tek Diff includes a wide variety of sound effects, musical themes, stings, and a solid recording base to give a very professional product. Sometimes it is a little too edited, in that during particularly long monologues or rants, it becomes clear that Mr. Conroy either has his breaths edited out, or he needs to be in the Guinness World Book for breath control. While it is a good idea to edit out distracting breathing, it is not a good idea to edit out all breaths together, unless it is for effect (and effect is by its nature an unusual thing, or it is not... effective) or it is a signature of the entire speaker as in Zero Punctuation. It is a nitpickery point however, as Tek Diff moves so incredibly fast, most of the time you are unaware of any missed oxygen breaks. One thing I appreciate most about Tek Diff is how it uses the medium of audio so very well in its production and especially in the writing. Rating 5/5

Writing
Mr. Conroy's pen must be filled with magical ink. At least it would be, if he actually created these episodes with pen, or keyboard or put any of it down in a written form. What flabbergasts me, if I understood his recent episode and that of an interview of John Bell is that both men do NOT write scripts for their comedy. They simply arrive at the microphone armed with their wits, a vague concept of what they want to do, and have at it............
.
.
Now let that sink in for a moment.
The madcap stories. The poignant and adept perceptions of humanity. The fast-talking, often double-talking back and forth from the characters is created, ad hoc in front of the microphone.
If there is a better example of genius, I've yet to hear it.
Perhaps there is writing that occurs in his often occurring "Account" series in which he has a strong throughput plot and a well-defined characters. While John Bell focuses strictly on the comedy of his "Batfry" theme, Conroy is like walking into a white room with a box of multicolored crayons. He will create incredibly touching and moving images in one corner, and then draw caricatures with over-sized sex organs and asses in another. His pacing is frenetic, because his mind moves more quickly than that of his audience. There's an old story that there are only three decent comedy writers living on the world at the same time. I'm not sure how Mr. Conroy would do in the strictures of a full time writing position for a comedy show, but somebody needs to give this one of the three his shot. Rating 5+/5

Additional Notes
While Mr. Bell draws from Jack Benny, Abbott and Costello, certainly Jonathan Winters and the vocal talents of Mel Blanc, I would guess that Mr. Conroy's influences would strike more in the direction of Monty Python, Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and George Carlin. I would highlight Carlin especially because Mr. Cayenne Chris Conroy is a Foole in the same grand tradition. He's a philosopher, who through his self-deprecating comedy at times pokes holes in the pomposity of our own dreams. The main theme of his much of his self-discovery has been that "It's okay to be you". This runs headlong into our American idealism of "Be the Best", and it is something we all struggle with. Conroy substitutes as our Everyman and presents a possible alternative dream to success.
To be creative for the purpose of being happy.

Over All Rating
Without a question Tek Diff is one of the top tier comedy audio dramas out there let alone one of the top one-man acts. His quality puts to shame more popular podcasts, and makes one wonder just exactly what is it that he's missing that hasn't made him an incredibly well-known property across the Internet.
I'm going to go out on the limb and say this.
He's smart. While his humor can certainly be NOT WORK SAFE or not appropriate for children at times because of flagrant F-bombs and sexual content, it is honest, and it is in-depth work he accomplishes, and it just might at times go over the head of the average listening audience member.
I for one, hope he never dumbs down his work. That would certainly run against everything he has grown to believe.   Rating 4.5/5

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