In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 11: When the Audience Is Laughing – Part 3, I suggested several things for you to do when the audience laughs. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 12: When the Audience Is Laughing – Part 4, I’ll offer several more techniques to use when holding for a laugh.
How to Be a Comedian – Tip 12: When the Audience Is Laughing – Part 4
As discussed earlier, the comedian must stop talking and take a pause to allow the audience to laugh. Here are several more things to do during that pause:
Allow the Laughter to Affect You
If you permit the impact of the laughter to affect you emotionally, it can determine how you interpret the next joke or it might prompt you to improvise something more honest as a response to the laughter. When you allow this feedback to lead you creatively, the show will reinvent itself as a unique performance for that audience. For the audience, there’s a sense of danger in this kind of performing. There’s a different spirit to a performance when you don’t know what you’re going to say next because the audience knows the show is based on their response.
For instance, if you say a joke like:
“I was involved in a love affair for two years – unassisted.”
And someone laughs really loud, you can say something like:
“You had one of those affairs, too.”
Or continue to joke about your personal problem, like:
“I guess this makes me a self-made man.”
When the audience laughs at your problem, you can let that affect you, become a bit insulted, and fire back:
“Thank you for laughing at my pain.”
By allowing the audience’s response to determine how you proceed, every show will be tailored to each audience because you’re a part of the feedback loop.
Think about What You’re Going to Talk about Next
As long as you don’t give any indication that you’re going to speak, thinking about what you’re going to say next is an extremely effective thing to do while the audience is laughing. When I say “thinking,” I mean seeing the pictures of what you’re going to talk about. If you’ve rehearsed your material as experiences, it’ll be easy to remember them. These pictures, sounds, and feelings automatically affect you emotionally and physically, and along with how the audience’s laughter impacts you, this will determine what and how you’ll proceed. This puts you show in the present, which means your creativity is driving the show, instead of your script and rehearsal.
In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 13: Microphone Technique – Part 1, I’ll discuss the Do’s and Don’ts of dealing with the microphone and mic stand.
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