Too bad he wasn't recording his set. He might be able to listen back, find the laughs, learn from 'em, and maybe even use those exact lines again.
A week later I saw this girl get up and riff off one of the earlier comics. She went into detail about her woes with men and how she was a late bloomer and it was all fucking hilarious. Totally off the cuff. Then she settled into her material. Wasn't nearly as funny. I sat there thinking what a shame she wasn't taping the set. She had gold, and it was probably just going to slip away.
In fact, I hardly ever see people taping their sets which is surprising to me. After the fact, it's tough to remember where the laughs came 100% of the time. Plus sometimes it's the exact phrasing or delivery that gets the laugh. If you don't tape it, you may never figure out how/why what you said was funny. You make your job that much harder. And you waste your stage time in a way. As a wise man once said, "Stage time in this city is too valuable to waste."
Here's an example of how taping a set made one of my jokes better. It's an older bit I've been bringing back recently:
"Promotion done!" wasn't part of the original bit. Just came out one night and it seemed to serve as a nice exclamation point. I think people wanted a hook to hang a laugh on.
If I hadn't been taping that set, I'm not sure I ever woulda remembered even saying that line (or that it got laughs). But now I always include it. Do I feel like a dork always setting up my recorder or a camera? Yeah. But it's better than just letting good stuff slip away.
Permalink | 1/23/2009