Stand Up Comedy is an odd little tune, it kind of stands out on No Line On The Horizon, a bit of whimsy in the middle of a serious album. I’ll Go Crazy does have that vibe as well, but Stand Up Comedy goes much further with it. Like, if you had a rating from zero (deadly serious) to one hundred (wild and wacky), most of the songs on No Line would be in the twenty range, I’ll Go Crazy would be maybe a sixty, but Stand Up Comedy would be at least a ninety. I’m not sure if there’s a song in the U2 pantheon that fits its album less well than Stand Up Comedy does. Although I’m also not sure which album this might fit, I would say Pop but that might be a little insulting, so maybe more like Zooropa.
Interesting guitar, interesting bass, interesting drums. I guess this is an interesting song. There are a bunch of parts working here, and they work pretty well. Doesn’t mean they’re producing something great, but it does mean they work together. It reminds me of Sheldon Cooper talking to Howard: “I have never said that you are not good at what you do. It’s just that what you do is not worth doing.” Hmm, maybe a little harsh.
A lot of this song is clearly from Bono’s perspective. Many of the lines just seem to be something he would say for himself. The whole of No Line On The Horizon was supposedly written by Bono taking characters and writing through their eyes, and this case it is his eyes. The obvious line to refer to here is the “Stand up to rock stars… be careful of small men with big ideas,” presumably references to himself.
Absolutely great line, “Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady.” Sometimes I listen to the song just to hear this line, it is so good and so well-delivered. The whole song seems to stop just to listen to this line, and it works really well. I do often like lines that are delivered in that staccato sort of style, stopping and starting throughout the line, and this song has many of them, that one in particular.
The problem I have with a song like this that there really is not too much to say about it. It is one of those throwaway songs, like a kind of snack food, nothing of substance there to chew on. There’s no video for it, it’s never been played live (one of very few album songs to not be played live), there is really nothing much to say about it. I find myself stuck for words, trying to think of something to say. I have actually had better luck coming up with things to say for many of the b sides which have no info related to them. That just seems back to front to me, you’d think a song on an album would be more well-known, have more interesting things to say about it. But no, not in this case.
My rating for Stand Up Comedy: 5 / 10