Why 99.5% Approval Isn’t Enough

One of the 99.5% of satisfied fans at my show in Houghton, Michigan.

If you weren’t aware, comedians have self-esteem issues. To be so desperate that you feel the need to get onstage, by yourself, is the epitome of look-at-me disease. I find the best comics add to this self-esteem issue an extreme confidence, as well. I know on paper (or blog screen) it doesn’t make any sense, but this formula is a good one for standup comedy.

I have a great example of this at work. I’m doing a sold-out show last weekend. I’m killing with the audience. Everything is going right except I see one woman in the front row who shows no reaction to anything I say. Now if she was over 70 I could maybe get past it, but I’m guessing her age was around 30. There was around 200 people in this room and 199 of them seem to be having a great time, but i couldn’t get past this 1 chick.

Now I should have ignored it and kept in mind that if you can get 99.5% of the audience on your side, you are winning the game quite handily. I just couldn’t do it. No one else noticed that she wasn’t responding, this was just a problem in my own head. I asked her if there was some subject that I could discuss that she would enjoy, since she was the one person in the crowd missing one funny-ass show. She responded with a “no, you’re fine…go ahead.”. Which I did. Left it there, until my next big laugh and looked over at her. Still no reacton. I had to comment. “Really, no reaction on even that joke?” All I got back was a “sorry.”

I then explored it further offering back that your passive-aggressive behavior is making me crazy and of course at the same time, turning me on. My guess is that you once dated a comic who treated you so badly for the rest of your life you made it your mission to make comedians insane by sitting emotionless in the front row of comedy shows. Oh you are a crafty one, my lady.

There is something hard wired in most comedians brain that they can’t handle even one person rejecting them onstage. As popular as the Beatles were, not everyone loved them, but Scott can’t deal with one woman who doesn’t respond. It does seem pretty pathetic. Ok, we have established I have a problem, but why do some people who don’t seem to like comedy still come out to a show? If you don’t like comedy please just stay home and watch reruns of the World According to Jim. Thank you.

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7 thoughts on “Why 99.5% Approval Isn’t Enough

      1. either way it’s funny, if you called me a dick or Ken. btw, how ironic that my friend mikey mentions a show in fairfield, iowa right after your comment. irony, maybe.

  1. I did a show in Fairfield, IA (I think) where there was NO CROWD REACTION AT ALL. I mentioned it twice onstage, still no reaction. I plowed through my set, doing my merch pitch out of habit, certain that I wouldn’t sell anything, and after the show sold a ton of merch, and was told that they all really, really loved my set.

    Like you, I still find the one person not laughing and dwell on them.

    1. This is why I always tell comics no matter how bad your show went, sell your merch. A few people don’t get all my more intellectual stimulating jokes, but stupid people love T-shirts!

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