Panda Suit, Pythagoras and Plenty of Puns
New York comic's routine and puns lack structural integrity
This article is from 2013.
Although he doesn't say so outright, Nikhil Tilwalli is obviously a fan of Saussurean linguistics, in which there is always a gap between a word and what it represents leading to problems in communication. After drawing in the audience with a title that conjures up images of Dada-esque aspirations, the besuited New Yorker proceeds to lay out some wordplay exploiting this fact.
Like a magician revealing his secrets he sets the scene, then comes the wordplay itself and, with a flourish, the punchline, followed by commentary on the mechanism at work. All this is presented within a framework of why it's important to be sincere sometimes rather than trying to be funny, which Tilwalli presents with an autobiographical spin.
The problem is that many of his puns lack structural integrity. Just as Saussure exposed the gap between words and their meanings, between the set up and the punchline some of Tilwalli's jokes contain a factual fault or transatlantic translation fissure, while others are too straightforward, their trajectories obvious. However, he does give the best description of drunkenness we've ever heard.
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