My favorite topic to talk about on stage is whatever stream of conscious is happening. But sometimes, something hits you while you're on stage. Every day we have a thousand thoughts, and some of those thoughts we feel would be worth exploring on stage. And every once in awhile, we have one of those thoughts, WHILE we're on stage. And exploring those ideas in that moment, whatever the topic is, are my favorite to talk about.
I was at an outdoor show recently at a food festival. The type of show you roll your eyes at as a comic. Two in the afternoon, on the hottest day of the year. The whole point of the festival was for people to try foods they never had before, and I was supposed to perform in this comedy tent, for people to take a break from food. I asked everyone if they enjoyed all the unique foods, they all said 'YEAH!!!' What's been your favorite so far? And this very sweet old man in the front row, in complete honestly yelled, "Corn!"
And that killed me, that this guy had never had corn before. Every tent had funnel cakes, and pate, and sushimi, and this guy was blown away by the corn. And there is, for the next ten minutes I just get to riff about a guy who is blown away by corn, amazed by water, and was scared of the future technology of forks...those moments feel like you're just joking around with your buddies, as opposed to being on stage telling a joke that 'you're working on', or a joke that doesn't work because you can't recreate the moment when its circumstances occurred. And those spontaneous topics are my favorite.
A well crafted joke gets told over and over in front of lots of audiences. But a spontaneous one can only be shared by the people in that room at that time. I think that's a big part of why audiences respond so strongly to in-the-moment riffs.