Stand-up comics are a curious breed. Without benefit of accreditation or instruction, they take to the empty stage, microphone in hand, in the habitually fruitless effort to make others laugh. What motivates this irrational behavior?
Comedians are relentlessly driven to the limelight by supernatural levels of conceit and delusion. Needless to say, this is a painful state of being. When audience members misbehave, or act like “jerks,” they temporarily alleviate the comics’ discomfort, by puncturing their over-inflated egos. The following are 10 ways that you, the audience member, may help the comedian:
1. Arrive late: Most comedy shows have designated starting times, which are far from mandatory. Feel free to drop in whenever you like, and by all means, make a boisterous commotion over your arrival. Comedians welcome prolonged audience disruptions as opportunities to adjust their fly, bra strap or wedgie.
2. Complain about your seat: Once you’ve arrived “late,” be sure to ask for the table you would have chosen, had you arrived “on time.” Why settle for less? If seating is reserved, be sure to demand an upgrade. Unsuitable seats include those that are too hot, too cold, too far, too close, too loud, too quiet, or behind people with fat heads.
3. Get angry: If everything isn’t to your satisfaction, be sure to tell the manager or server, repeatedly and in a most assertive manner, just how special you are and how lucky they are to have you as a customer. If you can arrange it, try to arrive angry, with your adrenalin already pumped.
4. Do not respond: Just because you’re at a comedy club, there’s no need to tolerate intimate questions such as, “How y’all doing tonight?” particularly if you’re seated in the first row. Should they instigate such an exchange, put them firmly in their place. Much like wolves, comedians are pack animals and will only defer to a strong leader.
5. Ignore the comic: As in a romantic relationship, comedians love it when their audiences play “hard to get.” Crossing your arms in a defensive manner, as if you’re waiting for a root canal, lets the performer know that you’re not a comedy pushover. Better yet, try sitting with your back to the stage – it adds that air of mystery.
6. Use your telephone: Ignore petty requests to turn off your cellphone. Feel free to text frantically every five minutes, like a kidney patient awaiting a donor, as evidence of your superiority and high-tech panache. While you’re at it, bring all of your small appliances to the show, such as your fax machine, blow dryer or electric griddle.
7. Be otherwise inattentive: Treat the stage like a giant television and act as if you’re in the privacy of your home, by attending to personal hygiene routines, Sudoku puzzles, lottery scratch cards or intimate explorations of your date’s anatomy. While the comic may not notice, rest assured that your fellow audience members will find it intriguing.
8. Get really drunk: If the comedian is amusing after a couple of beers, just think how much funnier they – and you – will be after a dozen. Be aggressive with the server or bar person who tries to slow you down. Who are they, to hinder your alcohol-sodden exuberance?
9. Try to out-wit the comic: Comedians appreciate audience members who’ll amplify the hilarity. Hollering witty rejoinders, helpful corrections or even random syllables throughout the show creates a unique and interactive experience for everyone.
10. After the show: Comics love feedback, so be sure to approach them with detailed critiques and suggestions for new routines. If time does not permit, insist on their personal email or phone number. To reassure them, feel free to pose for numerous of pictures with your arm draped around the comedian’s neck – even if you hated their performance.