By Magdalena Knapp, Staff Writer
It takes one and a half years of work to have enough material for a 45-minute show – this is what Andrew Frank’s métier, or occupation, has looked like for the past nine years: he is a comedian. Frank performs about 40 shows per month, but he is not a comedian as we typically expect them to be. Andrew Frank provides insightful entertainment for smart people. His brand is intuitive comedy for people who have the required knowledge to be able to understand his jokes. They need to know something about religion, history, politics, and the world in general. In his eyes, humor is an intellectual form of connection. Frank places a high value on humor as we can see in his performances. He defines humor as “A Philosophy, a way to look at life. It is a way to express ideas; we can turn emotional things and hard truths of life into softer ones.” He uses humor as a vehicle to broach subjects we may not often feel comfortable talking about; Andrew Frank wants to transmit new and interesting things through his performances. Dark aspects of life, such as wars, crisis, and Trump can be weathered easier with a little bit of humor.
|Andrew Frank during a performance in 2017.|
One continuous thread through his performances is religion. When he talks about religion, he knows what he is saying: His father is a pastor. Religion always played a big role in his life, and since he decided to become a comedian, it became a hot topic. This often caused tension between Andrew and his father. Andrew says, “If religion is the most important thing, why don’t we talk about it more openly?” so this is exactly what he does. He discusses religion and all the contradictions openly, in a funny, but also satirical way during his performances. His jokes make some people feel uncomfortable, but this discomfort leads to a good feeling after, a sort of catharsis.
As of now, Andrew Frank’s favorite topic to discuss during his performances is “Institutions”. As he says, he loves making jokes about social systems, propaganda, hypocrisy, the cosmic perspective, and the military industrial complex.
Andrew creates images in his audience’s head through his jokes. One joke is about Anne Frank as she stands next to Hitler in hell. Another joke, which seemed hilarious in the moment of him telling the joke, but very deep and intellectual when thought about afterwards was how immoral drones are. ISIS is more accurate because they cut people’s heads off, and do not kill random people. Andrew also criticizes Trump openly: He tells a story about a tsunami in Louisiana and that politicians in Lebanon wanted to make sure the people who lived in Louisiana didn’t come to Lebanon because they might bring the water with them. With this, he addressed the issue with the immigrants, that people are afraid of them because they might bring the war with them. I thought this allegory was hilarious. Another thing that was refreshing in my eyes was his point of view of the church. Even though his father is a pastor, Andrew Frank is not Christian. His parents do not want to talk to him about the jokes he makes about religion. I love how cynical he is towards the people who go to church and sing songs to God to praise him, and at the end he explains that God might not even like the songs we sing for him.
Even though Andrew likes to shock his audience with his jokes, he sometimes adjusts the jokes to his audience. Nonetheless, he likes to see how far he can push it. When he gets a new idea for a joke, he has to see how it works. He sometimes thinks about a joke in public and starts laughing. Then he writes the joke down and sees if it works in his shows, if the audience does not laugh it’s not the end of the world and he simply doesn’t use the joke. At the beginning of his career, he was afraid of that, but now he has learned that it is part of the business. In Frank’s eyes, his favorite part about comedy is learning to understand yourself, the life around you, and to being able to communicate that to strangers. “That is part of why I am so drawn to it. It challenges me, it forces me to grow, and go to places and learn things I never would have outside of the pursuit of comedy.” Says Frank.
Although Andrew Frank is following his own style in stand-up comedy, his biggest example is Stewart Huff. As Frank says, he is a comedian he really looks up to. “He is a brilliant artist, and the kindest person I know. He understands the power of humor, and he is always trying to use it to its fullest potential.” Frank explains that they have developed a friendship that has had a profound impact on his comedic development. There are many other people who influenced Andrew to become the comedian and person he is today. The list includes George Carlin, Steve Martin, David Foster Wallace, Bill Hicks, Jesus Christ, and many more.
Andrew Frank is a comedian who tries to change people’s mind trough his comedy, he wants to make the world a better place. I enjoyed his performance and I hope that we will hear a lot more from him one day! If you want to check out his favorite joke right now, by Stewart Lee, feel free to klick on the link below!
|Andrew Frank during another show in 2015.|