Front of mind vs. back of mind

I'm probably happiest onstage when I riff off something in the moment and it's genuinely funny. You get a whole different energy when you're using the front of your mind (spontaneous) vs. the back (written material).

And people respond to that energy. Especially if you're calling out a truth in the room that hasn't been addressed. When you do that, it's like a big tension reliever for the whole room. People laugh because the bubble's been burst. A few examples:

I'm at a mic last week. The host talks about meeting up with this gay couple he knows who's names are Gordon and Sven. I get onstage and say, "If I wrote a novel with a gay couple in it named Gordon and Sven, my editor would make me change their names. Because those names are too gay to be believable. The only way they could be more gay is if their names were Alejandro and Guy Who Likes Cock in His Ass. By the way, that's the Native American name for gay dudes."

Then I talked about this crazy woman in the crowd. During the show, she sits in the back and keeps talking during the other comics sets. And instead of applauding she yells out the words, "Clap, clap, clap." So I went onstage and say something about it. Then she yells out, "I can't clap, my wrist is broken." Whoops.

But then I realize this excuse doesn't fly. "That is a good reason for not clapping. But that does not explain why, instead of laughing, you keep yelling out the words, 'Laugh, laugh, laugh." (Which she also did.)

Then I said, "Every time you do that it makes me sad: Tear, tear, tear. I would hate to go running with you. You would probably be all saying, 'Sweat, sweat, sweat' the entire time." Only a small crowd but they ate it up and she was silent for my set. I said, "I had to diffuse that bomb early. Phew."

Then, last night at Kabin, I'm doing a set and the host is talking to the crowd and finds out that there's two girls from Harlem and two girls from Denmark in the crowd. First thing I say after being intro'd: "Boy, you guys are in for a treat. Because my comedy is targeted specifically at the Harlem/Denmark demographic. If there was a Venn diagram for it, one circle would be Harlem and one would be Denmark. And the overlap in the middle would say, 'My comedy.'" (Fyi, I love Venn diagram jokes.)

I went into my material after that. But now I think I should have gone further and launched into my "Denmark material": People from Copenhagen talk like this, but people from Stockholm talk like this. And what's the deal with fjords? You can't have a word with an f followed by a j. That's fjust ridiculous.

Near the end of my set, a couple in the corner started making out. I said, "Are you guys making out during my set? That is awesome. I'm not surprised. My comedy is like Barry White's music. It turns people on. You are all totally going to get laid tonight. I have to get off stage soon because otherwise this whole room will turn into an orgy."

My material went over well too, but it's the moments like that which really elevate a set in my mind.

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