For a moment it seemed like ranting could have been a comedic avenue for me. Friends found it funny and I got a high from going down a quality rant about the most irrelevant things.
Alternatively, ranting for an audience is a difficult task. Audiences can perceive the performer as shallow or unnecessarily harsh.
For ranting—and misdirected rage in general—to be funny, the audience needs to believe that the performer has otherwise good intentions. They need to be able to convey two opposing feelings at once:
- The rant is intense, detailed and thus sincere.
- The subject of the rant is not in fact a hill they will die on.
My greatest fear was always that the second point would not be conveyed. Out of fear of being labelled “the angry guy”, I’d attempted toned down rants that felt noncommittal and hollow.
To this day I am not sure how to bridge this gap. Privately it’s easy because people familiar with me understand that there are several dimensions. To an audience, the dimensions are flattened by the spotlight then amplified by the microphone, and the skill to overcome that is still a mystery.