Art by Funny People is something a bit different in the comedy festival: a gallery display of art works by comedians (or at least those affiliated with the world of comedy) with a nightly half hour performance by some of the comedic artists involved.
It's a novelty concept, and one which appeals to me. The art displays a wide variety of styles and talents, some very successful, others appearing slapped together for the purpose of inclusion in this event.
It is an exciting opportunity to see Jon Coddington's Puppet Fiction marionettes up close. Brad Zimmerman has included a rather good nude from a brief stint at design school. Mary Laine's puppets are my personal favourite: creepy and charming, their distorted faces and elongated limbs are more whimsical than funny, but that only adds to their character. Ali Little's masks have a distinct palette and style, and a pleasing interactive display. They ask to be used.
Aside from the masks – and on Tuesday night no one seemed brave enough to actually put a mask on and have a tactile experience – the exhibit does not really find a connection between the visual arts and live performance.
I hope for a chance to see how working as artists informed the work of the comedians, be it in process, style or content, but the performances seem more like a prospect for getting exposure for the other comedy shows of those involved, and an opportunity to give some untried material – or inexperienced comics – some stage time.
These are not bad things, but not as interesting as what I'd imagined. However, the line-up changes every night, and both the exhibition, and the performances are free, so head down and draw your own conclusions (pun).