Wednesday, October 05, 2011

It's not what you say, it's the way that you tell 'em

On Monday night I went to a stand-up comedy gig at The Hope & Anchor in Islington (Plug Alert - I'm due to perform there in two weeks). The line up contained no household names (outside of their own households, that is) but the gags were good, the crowd was lively if small, and nobody said anything too offensive. One act, though, made a profound impression on me - a stand-up comedian who told no jokes, yet got the biggest laughs of the night.

At the start of the second half, the compere, Rich (we're that close), called forth one Dr Brown. Suddenly, a hirsute apparition in bermuda shorts and chest wig bounded up on to the stage. "Yeah!" he cried, "is everyone having a good time?" We all hollered our assent, as one does, and when he repeated the question the response was the same, only perhaps a little louder. Again he inquired as to whether we were enjoying our evening, and again we replied, as one, with a loud chorus of whoops and hollers. And so it went on. And on. And on. And on.

"You want some more?" he eventually asked. Hell yeah. The cheering continued, and Dr Brown started singling out individual members of the congregation (and I use that term deliberately) to share in the approbation. "What about this guy?" he would say, and we would cheer even more. He then implored us to take our clothes off.

The guys he had picked out felt compelled to play along, but audience participation appeared to reach its limit when Dr Brown removed his shorts, serving chiefly to remind us that Autumn had arrived.

Then Dr he began chasing the two semi-naked guys around the room, trying to remove their undergarments. By this time, we were rolling in the aisles.

Eventually, he thanked us all, put his shorts on, and left. Apparently, he is a Children's TV presenter.

The next act came on, told some jokes. But the energy had gone from the room. We just couldn't get going again. What does this tell us about comedy? Nothing.

What does it tell us about communication? It's a two-way thing. Put your message out there in an engaging way, and let your audience join in.


At 9:43 AM GMT+1 , Anonymous Rish eighteensixtyfive said...

Ah, JD. Family man, part-time stand-up, but *always* committed to the day job... :-p


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