Do your haircut or clothes matter?

PK asks:

Do you get more laughs with a clean cut hair cut or with a sloppy mop up top? like if i get too close of a haircut and tell a slightly racist joke, i might get booed off the stage, keep it long and it'll probably fly. is it mean or is too clean cut not funny. like why is this comic's shirt tucked in?


Yeah, I do feel like there's a slightly different vibe onstage now that my head's shaved. But I think it'd be pretty weak to blame a joke not going over on my haircut. My cut may be military-like but I think my delivery and material usually do a good job of indicating who I actually am.

Also, it depends on what kind of comic you are. Someone like Zach Galifianakis or Matt McCarthy cultivate a zany look and it works because they are zany comics. People like Brent Weinbach or Jim Norton or Patton Oswalt keep it tight and that works fine for them.

As for dress, most comics look like slobs. I think that's lame. I like it when performers look like performers. I like when Paul F. or Steve Martin wear a suit. It shows me they respect the stage.

When I see a comic dressed in jeans and a hoodie, some part of me expects them to be generic. If you're a sheep in how you dress, the odds go up that you're gonna be a sheep in the jokes you tell. And don't even get me started on the lameness of cargo shorts onstage (or anywhere for that matter). Of course, plenty of successful comics dress this way so it's not a 100% thing in any direction.

My take: Yes, this stuff matters somewhat. But if a joke depends on your haircut or your outfit in order to work, it probably wasn't that great a joke. If your look is true to your personal style and onstage voice, you'll do fine.

Got a question ya want to ask? Post it as a comment.

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4 Comment(s)

Blogger PK said...

well said. good call about being a fan of the dignified look. maybe i'll rock a pinstripe. see you soon. i'm graduating in 6 weeks. linda says hello.

8/26/08, 2:17 PM  
Blogger Abbi said...

I was talking with a comic who likes to get small writing groups together to bounce ideas off each other. I have heretofore been very protective of my writing and assumed all comedians would be insulted if invited to such a session. Now I'm wondering if it could actually help. She said you have to pick someone whose style of comedy you like and respect. Their purpose is to help you develop your ideas or take them in a new direction, not write your material for you or give you a direct punchline. Would you ever write with someone else or allow a group to influence your ideas?

8/27/08, 10:57 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

"Got a question you want to ask? Post it as a comment."

So this was more of a gesture, and not part of a plan to field questions for future posts. Like when company cafeterias ask what they can add to the menu, and you write, "Biscuits!" three months in a row, and they still serve sausage gravy on toast.

9/3/08, 12:13 PM  
Blogger Matt Ruby said...

"So this was more of a gesture, and not part of a plan to field questions for future posts."

Patience!

9/3/08, 12:16 PM