elakka, Perfo, Tampere, 2008
Description of the Piece
The performance starts with a request for help from the audience by Kaisa Luukkonen . She asks the audience to help her to understand humour and she does, in the end, find six volunteers from the audience. They are asked to stand in a semicircle in front of the audience and read in turn lines from jokes written in a sheet.
While the volunteers are reading the jokes Kaisa Luukkonen puts on a horse riding helmet and lays down a rake. She runs and jumps on the rake so that the handle hits her again and again until the audience is laughing out loud. Then she fetches a banana eats it hurriedly and throws away the peel walks on it, slips and falls. Getting up from the floor she goes and puts on pants with suspenders and a moustache. She then parades in front of the audience mock imitating male gestures until she turns around, bends over ripping the pants and exposing a theatrical vulva made out of pink satin and black fur. As a last act she takes this the extra props of and takes a last bow in front of the audience and smashed two eggs on her head.
I am full of questions about laughter and humour but the answers just evade me. It isn’t so that you can’t describe humour. You can at least say that humour is liberating and absurd. Humour works as social glue among people and it can take down borders. Funnily enough when I read Finnish studies of humour its destructive and hurtful side was emphasised. Humour is an ability to emphasise the difference, to demean and hurt an individual of the group. This side of humour is also found in the internet hate-sites that are full of jokes about Jews, African Americans, Russians and men. All groups seem to have a dedicated hate site and they all have their joke sites. Here it is when humour starts to be scary.
Examples of jokes recited in the performance:
Two convicts are talkin:
‘ I screamed at the squere: Putin is crazy! ‘
‘ How many years did you get for that? ‘
‘ 15 years.’
‘ But you are not supposed to get so many years for that!?’
‘ I got five years for huliganism and ten for exposing a state secret.’
What is there in common with men and pantyhose? – Either they hang on you, run loose or don’t fit from the crotch.
What is a Russian elevator?
A Tsetsen presses a button and seven floors come down.
What kind of women is perfect for a nigger?
Any white women he can have.