I hate it when people ask me what my favorite anything is. Especially playwrights. The moment people find out I'm a playwright they ask me who my favorite is. I just don't know. I could make a list for you of the people who hit my head first, but more likely then not the type of people who ask me who my favorite is don't know what they are getting themselves into and have probably never heard of Naomi Wallace anyway and wont remember who she is the moment we stop talking. Or if I say I love Tennessee Williams, they'll all have flash backs to horrible assignments in high school focusing on the Glass Menagerie. For me that play just gets MORE beautiful every time I read it, but makes the general public's eyes just sort of go all hazy with boredom. Or maybe they'll remember a hunky Marlon Brando yelling "STELLA" to his abused wife and they'll laugh and repeat the line so proud of themselves to have an ounce of literary knowledge. Or maybe I'll say Eugene O'Neill and they'll nod and say "Oh yes, A Long Day's Journey Into Night" with the sort of solemn reverence a masterwork deserves, but none of the understanding as to why it is a brilliant play. Or maybe I'll mention August Wilson because Fences was really the play that made me want to work in theatre for the rest of my life, or Arthur Miller because "Death of a Salesman" is a portrait of pain unlike anything else Miller wrote. I could say any of these, but the worst part is that I'm so awful with names that I go blank and I can't think of a one. It's like when a stranger asks you what time it is and suddenly you have no idea how to read a watch. The whole of my education just seems to slip away from me and the only thing that comes out is Shakespeare and to tell you the truth I'm not always a fan, man of the Millennium or not.
But I've never had a theatre professional ask me who my favorite playwright was. I might be asked for a list of playwrights I 1) enjoy teaching 2) have always wanted to produce 3) would love to meet if time and death and all that were not an obstacle. But never my favorite. I always assume (possibly incorrectly, but there you are) that when someone asks me for a favorite anything they don't know that they are really talking about. Like books. What is my favorite book or author. I go ahead and assume the person who asked only reads one type of book or one author in particular or rarely at all. Same with movies/TV. No. I don't have a favorite movie. "There are so many." I say, and invariable when I turn the question around I get something like "The Notebook or something like it" or "So and So kicks someones ass" or "The latest thing to come out". If it's someone who thinks they are a movie buff (but are not) Clockwork Orange is often a handy title, but almost anything Kubrick makes the grade.
Maybe I'm a horrible person, but I just don't play the "favorites" game. Maybe I'm not good at it and I'm jealous of people who can point at something and say "I give preference to this above all others!" Maybe I can't make up my mind. Or maybe I'm not as smart as I like to think I am. I like to give the excuse that I am awful with names of people/places/ things, but more likely then not that's a cover for some other latent deficiency.
Either way, when I find something that I feel I do have preference for and watch over and over and over again I hope someone walks up to me and asks that question because I am finally ready with an answer. "Who is your favorite comedian?"
Right now it's a tie, but they might as well be just one person. David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Yes, I'm pretty sure I love everything they do. From their sketch comedy to their Mac ads. And yes, I even sort of liked their movie Magicians. No, it wasn't as good as their show Peep Show, but it was still them and fun. David Mitchell also does appearances on a lot of different shows that are semi intellectual or at least have intellectual comedians. Oh you tube, I love you. Most of what they do seems like it couldn't be done in America (stupid USA) but it's so funny. Please, do the research and you tube them. You can watch every Peep Show episode they've done so far. I promise, you wont regret it.
Here is a clip of David Mitchell on politics :
Here is That Mitchell and Webb look (ignore the silly pipped in laugh track):
Here is Peep Show: