So I'm sure we've all seen these forensics meta-jokes that get thrown into pieces, and they really can be a lot of fun. One such example was this year's DI champion performing Mr. Charles (and I mean to use him as an example, not to criticize him because I really do think he gave a great performance), he had his joke thrown in there where he did "the history of gay theater in 60 seconds or less" and he did that and looked at the judges and asked them to time him. I laughed and appreciated the joke but at the same time something about it rubbed me the wrong way. In retrospect I realized that he had me so into his character and his environment and his story that as soon as he had this forensics meta-joke, he thrust me outside of this amazing world that he had created and reminded me that I was only watching a forensics performance which I think in the long run really lessened the effect that his performance had on me.
By the same standard the 2nd place HI at Harvard, the Nosemaker's Apprentice, used a joke where he faded out of his piece as if it were the end and right as everyone began thinking he was finished went right back into the story. I thought this was one of the funniest things I had ever seen and I actually wanted to see him go even further with the joke.
Now I'm not quite sure why one of these bothers me and I love the other although I feel like it might have something to do with the fact that the HI's meta-joke still added something to the story (it was a father telling his daughter a story and after he did his fade she jumped and said "Daaddddyyy! Is that all?!" which is exactly what the audience had been thinking) whereas the one used in Mr. Charles was just for the sake of the joke, and I'm actually very curious to know what other people's thoughts are on the subject.
The 5th place duo at Harvard, Avenue Q, did a joke where one of them was "The bad idea bear". So basically what happened was one stood behind the other while the one in front voice-lipped the one in the back's talking. Now, that's been done before obviously, but what they did differently was they then turned, so you could see the one in the back behind him. They then looked directly at the audience, stopped what they were doing, and the one in the back shifted to be on the side of the one in front instead. It's really confusing to explain and I probably did a bad job explaining it, but it was one of the best jokes I've ever seen.
You mean, as opposed to the trend in the late 80's and early 90's with entire scripts written around Forensics jokes? (I'm looking at you, "The Speech Coach's Nightmare")
I agree that some of these are passe, but sometimes breaking the 4th wall is a fun way to engage your audience while making jokes at the expense of the trade. I've seen Thespians and Broadway actors do it with great success. Even Shakespeare has scenes where the cast member steps out and addresses the audience directly. I'm also reminded of David Hyde Pierce in "Spamalot" playing to the audience in the piece "You Won't Succeed On Broadway (If You Don't Have Any Jews)"... or any cast member in Spamalot for that matter - it was running gag in the show to play to the audience. It's a risk, but the success is mostly in the timing.