In the past week I did one show where there was a 3 year-old in the room and one where the audience was almost entirely foreigners. I don't really stop and think about my jokes as a whole until I wind up in situations like those.
With the kid in the room, I realized how not clean my act is. Tons of cursing, talking about sex and blow jobs, etc. Even when I tried to do a clean joke, I realized it ended with fuck and motherfucker in the punchline. And that's not to mention all the miscellaneous fuck and shits I throw in as asides.
A few comics I know have been doing camp shows this summer for 12 year-olds. I don't think I'm cut out for that. I guess I could just come up with different bits for that audience but I don't think it's worth it. Sure, stage time is stage time. But I really don't care what a bunch of fifth graders think about my act. If I did, I'd just go do another set at Nick's Comedy Stop. [Hi-yo!]
As for the foreigners, that's a show at a youth hostel uptown. Done it twice now. Makes me realize how many of my jokes are about American or language-specific things. Stuff that's funny to natives but not necessarily to people from around the world.
I tried to single out the universal stuff beforehand but it's tough to tell what's gonna fly. What works best there is crowd work stuff or anything in-the-moment.
Another comic told me his approach was to just tell his jokes and they either get it or they don't. Admirable in a way but I think you've got to listen to the audience and calibrate at least somewhat. Or that's what I like doing at least.
But like I said, the best reactions were to in-the-moment stuff. For example: It's a silly basement room at a youth hostel so there was a guy on a laptop, another guy texting, and a girl filing her nails. She was in the front row so I called her out on it and explained that filing your nails is the universal symbol for being bored. Audio below.
Now I just need to work on my witty comeback for when someone's clipping their nails in the front row.
Sandpaper Suit is NYC standup comic Matt Ruby's (now defunct) comedy blog. Keep in touch: Sign up for Matt's weekly Rubesletter. Email email@example.com.
Performing for foreigners and little kids
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Moving on/Subscribe to my newsletter
I only post on rare occasions here now. Subscribe to my Rubesletter (it's at mattruby.substack.com ) to get jokes, videos, essays, etc...
Even the best standups seem to just scrape by. Then you hear about a guy who got a late night writing gig. Pay's nice. Long hours but he...
Patton Oswalt preaches love instead of hate in standup. “Actually, I think when you’re younger, anger and comedy mesh together very, very w...
Never been to a Letterman taping. But I've heard the studio is chilly due to Dave's orders. Was talking about it the other day with ...
I had the same exact luck at the hostel. Maybe a little worse: before my set there was a fire next door. I assumed the show was over but sure enough some kids came for more. NONE of my jokes worked but my crowd work killed. I still blame myself.
Post a Comment