When the audience don’t want jokes
A while ago I was hosting a show. The club fit 150 patrons. Six showed up for the late night Saturday show. I had just performed 20 minutes the night before in a bar to great response. So I know the material is fine. But on the night before the six, jokes weren’t cutting it.
I’ve performed before small crowds many times before. Most liked my conversational style and I had fun. But this group. Ugh.
So after the first 2-3 jokes fell flatter than Wild E. Coyote off a cliff, I looked at the crowd and said, “so you people don’t like jokes, huh?” The crowd was mostly black with two Latina girls as dates. They got my tongue in cheek joke. So I grabbed a raffle ticket and said “let’s go over the rules of the night...” and they started to laugh loud.
Then I went, “Since there’s only six of you, if you break any of the rules, I’m gonna be pissed.” More laughter. I told them where the bathrooms were and since it was 2018 they “could choose their own adventure...” More laughs.
Then I explained to them how jokes and audience response worked and did a mocking “hahahaha” and they started rolling.
Then I asked the sound guy, “How’s my time?” And they fell over.
I basically did this act for 9 minutes. Just riffing. Judging being funny. It was a good reminder that while I write a lot and try new things a lot, that just being the funny guy I was before standup is okay too.
When we think of the greats (Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Bill Burr, Paula Poundstone etc.) they were funny. They were real. They went for broke.
In anything you do in life, don’t be afraid to be you. You got this far, why back off now?
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Paul Douglas Moomjean Blog's About What's on His Mind
Blogging allows for me to rant when there is no stage in the moment to talk about what's important and/or funny to me.