Having read here about the Comedy Conclave, I hurried back from a wedding in the Twin Cities April 29 to catch former Twin Cities comedian Erik Koconis orchestrate a fascinating discussion on the role of fear in comedy.

“Fear is the fuel of being funny,” Erik said amid a handful of fellow comics at a Wauwatosa bar. “I think that everybody in the audience is against me until they start laughing.”

The conversation was the latest in a monthly series of insiders analyzing the comedy they practice. As you’d expect, there are humorous asides, but some of the banter gets poignant. For instance, one participant, Allen Edge, talked of how the fear of doing comedy scared him out of drinking.

The point here is not to remind you of the next Comedy Conclave (6 p.m., Sunday, May 20, at Rounding Third, 6317 W. Blue Mound Road), but to direct you to the new Comedy Conclave website, where you can listen to archived recordingsof the serious talk about being funny.

Erik, who returned to Milwaukee after a stint in Minnesota, is using the conclaves to reflect on and dissect a performing art form he has been working on for more than a decade.

“(T)he initial reasons for proposing the project are personal and stem from my enjoyment of studying the architecture of individual jokes and identifying the various pieces and devices used in joke crafting,” he wrote in a blog. But he has telling professional and academic motivations for the conclave, too, which you can read more about in his blog. 

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