Demetri Martin compares developing in comedy to teaching

In The Sound of Young America podcast Dog Days 1-7-06, there's an interesting interview with Demetri Martin. When he talks about why he doesn't like performing in comedy clubs, he compares progressing in comedy to progressing as a teacher. The gist: Performing at clubs is too much like babysitting a bunch of little kids. (This bit starts around 40:00 in.)

I always think of the levels of comedy as you go along in the developmental stages, it's a lot like being a teacher. When you're teaching young people, kindergarten through 2nd grade, it seems like more of your job is about discipline than it is about the content of teaching subjects. You have that big part of it where you don't want people to shit in their pants or fight or pull someone's hair.

Where, if you're a college professor, discipline should be a very small part of what you do. It's more about the subject. It's about the content that you're teaching. And people have even gone as far as to choose your class.

The [comics] I see at a very high level have gained that as professors because the audience has chosen their "class." They don't have to deal too much with disciplinary action for their audience.

So comedy clubs to me, the idea of people going to see comedy generically is kinda a funny thing because you don't do that with music. Most people don't go: "Q: What are you going to do tonight? A: We're going to go see music. Q: Who are you seeing? A: I don't know, we're just going to a music club and whatever bands are playing, we're gonna see."

Speaking of music/comedy comparisons: A while back I heard another comedian (can't remember who) make a funny point: If you're a band, the audience always wants to hear the songs they know, not new ones. For comics, it's the opposite: Everyone wants to hear your new jokes, not the ones they already know. (Though I've heard bootlegs of Mitch Hedberg and Patton Oswalt shows were people yell out joke "requests" that are met. Nice in a way but that's also gotta be a weird feeling.)

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