To paraphrase Maya Angelou “They won’t remember what you say, they won’t remember what you do – but they will remember how you make them feel”.
I believe that this is some of the best guidance that a comedian could ever ask for. Combined with liberal application of Millican’s Law, they should get you successfully through most of the angst filled, self directed inquests that we all conduct on a frequent basis.
They also explain what we sometimes know to be true but struggle to understand – why some comedians with weaker, less well written sets than ours get the bigger applause, the place in the competition final and the paid spot next month.
As clever as your words are, as perfectly as your set is structured, if the audience don’t ‘get’ you then you’ve fallen short. You. Because they’ve felt something negative between you and them; awkwardness at your dark material, dissociation from your cultural references – “that Oyster Card routine usually works” – or confusion at the inconsistent character you present on stage.
So, ask yourself – how do you make the audience feel?