One of my favorite sources of amusement is starting a new series tonight: Just A Minute. It’s a radio show that’s been going for over 35 years, challenging the players to try to speak on a given subject for 60 seconds without hesitation, repetition, or deviation. Like many simple things, it’s incredibly hard to do, especially when four competitive comedians who are eager to score points and get attention are pitted against each other. It’s hard for me just to try to describe why I think it’s so funny.
Part of the fun is the way they tackle the subject, sometimes taking it on long flights of fancy or putting absurd meanings in the words. Part is the way they interrupt each other and get absurdly petty over scoring points in a silly game. Part is the ways they cheat: making a long list to keep speaking, drawling to a crawl, waiting to pounce until the last two seconds. Part is the way they give the chairman a hard time about his judgments or lack therof. The whole game is an exercise in wit and quick thinking.