Entertainers never tire of compliments. Sure, many are are generic or perfunctory, typically “Good show.” But in the main, compliments, rote or otherwise, are sincere expressions of appreciation.
But from time to time I receive a compliment that really brings home the good I do not only as a comedian but as a man. The compliment goes like this: “I really needed to laugh tonight.”
There’s a moral dimension to comedy. People have problems and many people have serious problems. And many of those people are in the audience. I find it useful to remind myself that doing a good show means I’m doing good.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of doing the best show possible: reading the audience, adapting the show, not to mention flights, logistics and technical challenges. These and many more details go into making people laugh. Delivering the bang for your clients’ buck is, after all, what pays the bills.
But as a comedian I find it a useful reminder that people don’t just want to laugh – they *need* to laugh.
There’s hardly a gig I haven’t done: nude cruises, kids’ birthday parties, comedy clubs, The Tonight Show, colleges, parades, corporate events – you name it, I’ve done it. Of all of them, corporate shows are unique in at least one respect: the audience is keenly attuned to the boss’s reaction.
It’s not like performing for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, of course, but corporate audiences do tend to be inordinately cautious about not laughing until they’re sure the CEO is.
Which makes performing for corporate audiences a nightmare, right?
Wrong. Why not? The reason is simple: the CEO isn’t worried about what her boss thinks – she is the boss. While employees, desirous of keeping their jobs, are taking cues from her, she’s simply enjoying the show. [tweetthis]One of the nice things about being the boss is you can’t be fired for laughing at the inappropriate.[/tweetthis] This is one of the reasons corporate shows tend to be far easier than, say, college shows, where the boss (i.e. professors and faculty) are processing the show through their politically-correct (i.e. leftist) ideological lens rather than simply having a good time.
[tweetthis]Getting corporate shows can be hard but *doing* them is easy. #EventProfs[/tweetthis]
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