Eddie Brill, Letterman's booker, sometimes does workshops where he gives notes to comics. I've heard that he's told a couple of good comics who are energetic that they'd have to tone it down before they'd ever get a shot at being on the show. To one, he said something like this: "High energy comes across as desperate onscreen."
Never really thought about it before but I guess it makes sense. A live room needs that shot of adrenaline sometimes. But on TV, that can seem manic. On the flip side, someone like Steven Wright comes off great on a screen, but his kind of low energy schtick might bomb in a typical club environment. (A reason why a lot of mellow guys prefer theaters to clubs.)
One more reason why live standup and television standup are two different beasts.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 1/06/2009