Performing for foreigners and little kids

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.

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1 Comment(s)

Blogger Mo Diggs said...

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.

8/20/08, 1:08 PM