… make people laugh.
I’ve seen a good number of Edinburgh Previews this year.
They were in various stages of ‘Ed Ready-ness’, which is to be expected.
However, one thing missing from several shows was – laughter!
These were shows from pro comedians with solid and successful club sets.
They had a theme to hold the show together. The shows were complete inasmuch as they were appropriately long with a beginning, middle and end. In all but one case there wasn’t much resort to notes or prompts. They made interesting points using interesting words – like an informal lecture.
There just wasn’t much in them to make anyone laugh. On one occasion this resulted in a basic but accurate heckle – “you’re not funny!”. Other times, the audience just left grumbling quietly.
The same at a club gig a while back :
The headliner closed the night with material that they were passionate about – but it just wasn’t funny. The set plummeted downhill. They then further destroyed the atmosphere by blaming the audience for being mainly middle aged and middle class! I later heard the comedian say “I know I’m funny, because I gig with <famous name here> and they like what I do”.
Afterwards, I wished I’d said “You’re looking in the wrong direction for your approval”. But I didn’t – I was overawed by their TV and Radio writing credits, the critically acclaimed arts and comedy shows they’ve scripted and performed in.
Use comedy for other ends if you’re driven to do that. Write a show or set to educate as well as amuse. But always put the audience first.
Make them laugh and they’ll listen to you.
But you have to make them laugh.