The absolute disrespect that I witnessed tonight at a comedy show literally drove me to start writing about it as it concluded.
I try my best to catch as many comedy shows as I possibly can, especially when it comes to supporting shows produced and/or booked by people I care about professionally and personally. Not only is it nice to catch up, network, and grab a drink; but it also gives me a chance to catch a comedian that I may not have had the chance to see perform before. Tonight was one of those nights where I knew all of the comedians on the show, except for one. This one did something I have alway frowned upon, but did it in such a way that I immediately have placed them on a microscopic list of people. A list so small that it is more laughable than their set tonight. Of course the reference is to the list of comedians that I will never book.
First off, the show is arguably one of the most undderrated monthly comedy shows in New York City which has been going strong for nearly three years now. Tonight the room was packed to the gils. When two or three people would leave, six or seven would immediately replace them. Half way through the show this comic came on and started off strong declaring with pride how they are recording their new coemdy album at this very same venue in just a couple of weeks.
Then something happened; a couple jokes fell flat. Nobody cares of course; except the comic. Immediately this comic emphatically declared “These are new, I’m just trying them out…”. Let me stop here for a moment and explain what I have written about before; if it is a show and people are paying for the show, you better give them a show.
First- Why say anything? The crowd doesn’t know the jokes are new.
A) You are an asshole.
B) You are a liar, and they aren’t new. You are just making an excuse for a joke not landing.
See what you have just done is insult the audiences intelligence by “trying out” new material on them. They don’t care if it’s new or old. They want to laugh.
Second- Okay so you forgot there are such things as open mics to work on your new stuff? Fine. Do your new stuff on the show, but fucking sell that joke like it is your own. Work that joke like you actually care about it. Live or Die with your writing.
Third- Again, WHY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ITS NEW!?!?! The crowd now feels that they are not good enough for your A-Material. They are now trying to understand why they paid a cover to see you “work on new stuff”.
I digress. Let us get back to the second part of what this comic said. After another joke didn’t hit he said “I’m just working on this stuff for the real show in a few weeks”.
Take a minute to think about how that feels for the audience to hear. For the producer and/or booker to hear. For the other comedians to hear.
Audience- They now feel cheap, cheated, disrespected, and used. “are we not here? is this not a real show?”. Perhaps this audience isn’t good enough for the good material. Well one thing is for sure, that large crowd in there, the ones who are your audience will remember you and your name and remember how you made them feel. Good luck selling your album to them.
Fellow Comics- They are wondering why they just did their absolute best material for a crowd that you don’t feel worthy enough of yours. Is this not a “Real Show”? Should they have been doing new material? Well jeez, for all we know that other comic might also book their own show and were curious to see your stuff. Not really good to go off of
Show Booker/Producer- You just obviously infuriated the most important person at the show. The booker who has invested time, money, and energy on this show for nearly three years chose YOU to perform. They put your face and name on their flyer. Tagged you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Gave you a place to perform. In this already oversaturated industry, you took a spot away from someone else who would have given a shit about this show. That producer might have pull to get some people to support your comedy album coming out. That same producer who has 5,000 Facebook friends, 5,000 twitter followers, and 1,000 instagram followers no longer gives a shit about you, because you didn’t give a shit about their show.
Me- Who else was in that audience tonight? I came out to the show and wanted to see this comedian perform. Well, I saw this person disrespect a show. The comedian cared more about their “real show” in two weeks then the one they were booked on. They cared
more about working on new stuff in a packed room then actually performing for them.
This needs to stop. Every time you are on stage in front of a paying audience, or even if they are there for free. If you are booked on a show, treat it like a show! You are given one chance to perform on THAT stage in front of THOSE people on that ONE NIGHT. There are thousands of comedians in the tri-state area. Understand that there are less than 100 shows on a Saturday night. The odds are not in your favor. Show up on time, peform the best you can, and respect the damn show.
Btw- this is the crowd moments after the comic got off stage. Looks like a real show to me.