Performance art and stand-up sibling double act Amir and Anahita Amadeus were once invited to take part in an exhibition at PINK CUBE gallery, an experimental performance space in their hometown, Oslo. At the time they were working as part of a different artistic group with two friends, “but for our show that night, two of us never showed up to the gallery”. Amir tells me. “As a joke, we stayed home and watched a movie, instead we broadcasted live from Skype to the gallery that we were watching a movie, so we were just seen on Skype watching the film for two hours, while my sister and Miriam were at the gallery singing songs!” Who says Norwegians have a warped sense of humour…
What is comedy?
Comedy is a happy ending, isn’t it? It’s hard to pin down exactly what comedy is. Right now comedy is whatever Netflix is selling as “comedy”. They say comedians are the new rock stars! The best answer is, maybe, that comedy is tension released. It’s like when you’re in a dangerous and nervous situation, like a hostage situation, and then somebody farts, and everybody laughs, including the hostage taker, and everybody forgets his or her worries. That is comedy, maybe!
Is it important?
Is it important? We don’t think comedy considers itself important, you know. But comedy is the most important tool against seriousness. Seriousness leads to stress and can kill you, but then comedy comes along and makes you unwind.
Is it better to be a comedian or an artist?
This goes back to the seriousness of it all, we started doing comedy because we couldn’t take the artist thing too seriously. Then again, you meet a comedian and they’re these other weirdos who want to show the world how funny they are. But it’s always a win-win for us because it’s nice to be a comedian who in a milieu of artists can have a laugh behind their artsy backs! It’s also nice to be an artist in a milieu of comedians, cause then we have artistic integrity and originality. But the best would really be to be a baker or teacher, or a gardener or birdwatcher, or a Greek prophet.
How does comedy come into your artistic practice?
We just wanted to have fun. Amir went to art school first, and while he was there he heard anything could be art. That’s when we started to film small sketches together and show them at art shows, and then it turned into live performance sketches and plays. Then Anahita started art school and she started her own kind of comedy and performance project. By that time Amir had started doing stand-up and making TV appearances. A lot of the comedy we do seems forced, but it’s all we can do at the moment, just be silly! We lost our father and we needed to make life and death a laughing matter.
What makes you laugh?
TV and movie stuff that tries to be comedy and doesn’t miss: The Simpsons, Futurama, South Park and Jam by Chris Morris, Naked gun, Mel Brooks and Peter Sellers, the adult swim TV channel. Also, bananas, colours, our mother, our partners, our friends, Amir’s stand-up jokes! Anahita’s funny-looking face! The fact that we are going to cry someday.