I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of comics and seeing talent frequently on the New York City scene. As a producer, it’s something that is a constant in the day-to-day grind and I am grateful to see others display their talent and grow as comics.
I previously wrote a blog that discussed comics being their own competition. While I still believe a great deal of our success is on us, we do have to think realistically and know that we do have some competition. However, our competition is not superficial such as how we look, gender, our background, etc. It’s purely in how we perform.
At each Comedians on the Loose show, I’m multitasking with my co-producer, Sonja Savanovic. When I’m not on stage, I’m behind the camera, filming the comics’ sets, which puts me in an interesting spot because I get to analyze their performance through a camera lens as it’s happening.
The camera does not lie and especially in that position, you get to really see who conquered the night and who was (for lack of better terms) a weak link.
Weak links represent comics that didn’t push it as much as they could and a professionally run show really is a great industry example of showing who will rise and who will get lost in this industry.
What makes the difference? It’s all about commitment.
What is commitment?
Commitment for comedians is really owning what you do up on that stage and selling yourself and your idea to the audience. There’s a certain honesty that is exhibited.
Whatever you’re saying could be totally false or nonsensical, but if you believe in what you are saying or doing, the audience will believe in it too and laugh with you. That’s true commitment and really is the scale of who is doing better than others.
Commitment makes you stand out.
Too many times I have seen comics perform half-heartedly. Some even take the frustrations of their poorly executed performance out on the audience and blame them for having a bad set because they were not laughing (seriously, that happened).
When you don’t commit, people will notice. There have been many times where I witness a comic do an underdeveloped joke only for it to receive a tepid response because they didn’t believe in it as much as they should. Then they work on developing that joke and commit to it on stage and it’s like night and day. Sometimes I even wonder if it was the same joke.
An audience knows when they are being fed something that isn’t fully developed or didn’t get a full effort put into it. Sometimes comics will give up completely before they get on that stage and you’re ultimately wasting your time if you do that. Why would you even bother?
Even if your jokes aren’t at a pro level, you will gain more out of an experience performing them with full commitment versus a comic performing well written jokes without giving it their all. It’s about showing the emotion, not telling. Audiences will react more when they can feel your emotion behind the joke because it allows them to connect to the material on a deeper level.
Moral of this article? No audience likes someone who holds back. They go to that club to be entertained and will likely be talking about the person who gave it their all and forget those who just went through the motions. The ones who get talked about are the real winners.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!