I have an upcoming one-nighter where I’m co-headlining with a comic I’ve never met or worked with. We’re both doing the same amount of time and both making the same amount of money. So who goes first? She’s a female comic four years younger than me, but I’m going to offer to go first because I don’t have an ego. What does it matter what the middle of Illinois thinks (no offense middle of Illinois) because they’ve never heard of either of us, and probably won’t hear of us again. If the other comic tells me she would prefer me to go last, then that will work to. Here’s what ultimately will decide it…Who works cleaner?
The cleaner comic should work earlier in the show because once you take an audience (down?) to a certain level, it’s really tough to bring them back up. That’s how you should approach your set as well. Save your dirtier stuff until the end. If she works clean then I’ll have no problem with her going first, but if not, I’d prefer the opening spot.
This can apply for other shows as well with more comics. You should have a pretty good idea the amount of “blue” in each comic’s act and can loosely arrange your show from that. Again, do this with your act as well.
A few weeks ago a first-timer did
a joke a piece about Jesus and (insert the worst thing you can do to Jesus) towards the end of his set. It was epically awful, but then he followed it with a bit about “Why does cotton advertise?” The funniest part was following the Jesus bit with a simple observation piece about cotton (If you’re that comic and reading this know that a few people pointed out that someone’s already done that cotton bit…also, drop the Jesus bit).
So again, ignore your ego and remember that it’s easier to follow clean than dirty. On a Bob & Tom Tour a few years ago a lot of comics all decided to let April Macie close that show out. Though they were bigger names and more successful, no one could follow how dirty she was. Everyone was happier once they made this adjustment.
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So as anticipated we aren’t getting through all of Act I today, no worries. We’ll finish it Monday and then have the quiz on Tuesday of next week. Tomorrow you will still have the Shakespeare Quiz so be ready as mentioned.
As we get through a few more scenes in Act I we learn that Juliet’s mother and the nurse think she should marry County Paris, but she’s too young. The nurse makes a dirty joke about her falling.
The guys (Romeo and co.) are busy trying to sneak into the party. Romeo is being all whiny because of his love for Rosaline (who isn’t interested because she’s joining the clergy). Soon our two lovers will meet and Rosaline will be ancient history.
So again…Friday the 21st–Quiz on Shakespeare
Tuesday the 25th–Quiz on Act I.
My hope is to be starting Act III by the end of next week. We’re on a good pace and our readers are doing well. Remember, I’ll be rotating parts after each Act so everyone gets a chance.
Comics are traditionally pessimistic people as it is, and sometimes that negativity can sprout up even on a good night. Sometimes we have one of our best sets in a long time, but what do we remember about it? The lady in the front row who sat stone-faced the entire time. Didn’t she see and hear everyone else laughing and applauding?
It’s extremely hard not to acknowledge her on the spot. She’s wrong for not laughing, right? You’re having a killer set and feel the need to change her mind. Don’t. The first reason is that it might interrupt your momentum. The crowd likes you and you might say something mean and change their mind. The second hazard is discovering what’s really wrong. She might answer, “My father died on Wednesday.” Good luck getting out of that one. Maybe she’s deaf (you’d be amazed at the number of deaf people who come to comedy shows). Maybe she’s laughing on the inside and doesn’t express it well, or perhaps she’s on the worst date of her life. Ignore her frown and finish your set.
If it’s bothering you that much, just give her a simple smile with some eye contact. The natural human instinct is to return that. She could snap out of it. You should be doing that to random people in the first rows anyway.
The bottom line is that you’re not going to please everyone all of the time so just get over it. As an artist it’s just something you have to get used to (I’m still learning). It’s tough because it goes against our attitude. I had a girl not even face me from the front row a few months ago. She ended up walking out and then lied to my face at the bar and said good job. Even there I could’ve gotten into it with her, but what’s the point of arguing with someone who represents <1% of the crowd? An hour later she was doing shots and making a jackass of herself. Is that someone really worth convincing you’re funny?
The flip side of this is to not cut yourself too much slack and say, “Well the crowds this week just don’t get me.” If the number of stone-faced people is higher, it’s probably you.
Going back to the original point…Forget the individuals who don’t care for you. Even Seinfeld has them. Imagine how ridiculous you’ll sound complaining about one person after a great set. It’s the equivalent of the hot girl pinching an inch on her stomach and telling everyone she’s fat in a selfie.
Speaking of stuff that a small minority still has a problem with, order a copy of Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage from one of these many options.
Someone asked me what the biggest difference between being a musician and being a comic was. I joked that guitar players don’t go home alone after the show…comics do. And I’ll admit a lot of us at one point in our career have hoped to land someone after a show. A single guy in his 20s who normally doesn’t get much attention, especially in bars/dance clubs, jumps at the chance to have everyone (tables of women) in a room listen to him. Here’s his chance to let everyone know he’s available.
The above situation and attitude hampers a set because the material’s first goal isn’t to be funny–it’s to get laid. The sad thing is that everyone in the room can tell. I’m not the first person to advise about this (Don’t Try to Have Sex from Stage as a sequel?), but it’s worth repeating. In fact, guys, if you’re going to try and score from stage then go ahead and lie. Women aren’t turned on by your tales of loneliness. Pretend you have a significant other because the whores you’re going to sleep with don’t care if you’re single or not. The most aggressive a woman’s been with me was after a set where I talked about my wife half the time (Union, MO if you were wondering). So I guess this week’s bonus advice is this: If you insist on trying to get laid from stage, then lie about having someone you can cheat on.
It’s okay to poke fun of yourself and your singleness, but don’t do it to gain sympathy and phone numbers; do it to be funny. If it’s not worth the joke, drop it from your set. Don’t sound too pathetic because half of the people in the crowd have a whiny friend just like you. A lot of comics have found their significant other after a show, but not because they impressed someone by how lonely they were in all of their jokes.
This week marks my 14th comedy birthday. I recall something in my very first set about getting a girl a Valentine’s Day card and her sending me one that may have been a restraining order (Get it?! I was a loser!). Nothing sentimental to write about how these past 14 years have been a blast and blah blah blah. I’ll save that for next year. How about a book plug instead? Want more comedy advice? Order it here!
***I’m aware it sounds like I’m endorsing the double-standard of casual sex and saying it’s okay for men and not women. That is not my intention, I’m just generalizing because it’s a simple blog topic. Men are whores too. I’m also aware that this post has no benefit for female comics. I haven’t encountered any female comics who have tried to get laid from the stage and I assume they know better.