Was going ok when I decided to go into a longer, personal bit I have. Got to the end and told the big payoff line, a callback to a joke I did earlier in the night. I leaned into the punch and waited for the laughs.
Then I realized something. I never told the other joke earlier in the night. I was doing a callback to a joke this crowd had never heard. Whoops. Tried to come right out and explain the gaffe. "That joke works a lot better when I tell the earlier joke that..." Just dug a bigger hole. I escaped alright but felt like a schmuck inside.
I usually try not to drink too much before sets and shit like that is why. I also vowed to be more vigilant about callbacks after that. My sets change so much that I don't do a ton of 'em. But now I always try to make sure I get the "establishing" joke in early.
(One benefit to that: I've noticed there's a sweet spot for callbacks. If the original joke and the callback are too close together, they don't get as big a laugh. The audience needs to forget about the line for a bit so it's more of an a-ha moment when you bring the line back.)
Permalink | 7/20/2010