I’m at home right now getting ready for tonight’s performance at a local bar. It’s a Wednesday night here in the entertainment capital of the world, El Paso, Texas! Allow me to share what I will be dealing with tonight. The stage is approximately 3 to 4 feet tall. It is designed specifically for rock bands and the like. The bar will be almost empty, for the exception of maybe 2 or 3 comics and a few patrons who have wandered in. After all, it’s Wednesday night. I can pretty much count on seeing maybe 6 or 10 people there, not counting the staff!
For a stand up comic, the size of the audience does not matter. A good joke will work no matter what the circumstance. So what if the laughs will take a few moments to reach my ears while I’m standing on that stage several feet away from the people that are actually there? Oooh, but when a joke bombs…IT BOMBS!
I’m determined to get something out of the experience! I’m preparing a few bits having to do with the size of the audience, the silence of the room and hopefully pick out a few of the patrons for some good natured laughs! Something incredible happens when a comic talks to the audience. There’s an air of danger! Can the comic be funny on the spot? Can the comic handle a less than desirable response while talking to the crowd? Can the comic remain likable and not come off like a complete douche??? Well, we’ll see, won’t we? I feel well armed with my strategy tonight! I’ve learned a few things recently about doing crowd work and I’m hoping to put those things into practice tonight. In the stand up comedy world, even those moments that seem like complete improv are actually not! Rather, a good comic knows what to look for and what to say even before they open their mouths. The more I do it, the more it will just seem natural. Today, however, that has yet to be determined!