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How To Be a Good Comedy Club Audience

Updated on July 3, 2015
The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood is still going strong after 100 years.
The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood is still going strong after 100 years. | Source

The smaller stage or no stage at all can be found in bars nationwide

Audience members have been known to just walk up to comedians and talk to them like it's just the two of them. That's why a stage is a stand-up comedian's friend.
Audience members have been known to just walk up to comedians and talk to them like it's just the two of them. That's why a stage is a stand-up comedian's friend. | Source

It's going to be a fun night. Don't ruin it for the performers and the audience.

Being the host and producer of a comedy show in a big market of Phoenix, my audience (I love saying that) is used to seeing me up there.

I've mingled, drank heavily after shows with quite a few of them even on my non entertaining nights. I've schmoozed with at least a third of them for the past several months.

I work hard at bringing new faces to the stage for them and keeping my material fresh in case there are people out there that have seen me over and over again.

A teammate once asked Joe DiMaggio why he played so hard every minute of every game he ever played. The answer is so simple yet should never be forgotten. "Because someone may not have ever seen me play" was "The Yankee Clipper's" automatic response. With that being said, there are many of the club's regulars at every show, so I must be doing something right.

But there are new audience members out there, as always, quite often and I want their experience to be a memorable one if not maybe a fun semi-adventure that keeps them comin' back.

The Show Must Go On

It seems between acts is a time for people to discuss the last comic, order more drinks or food and make a bit more noise than for the billed acts.

Now I can do a stand-up act in a hurricane and not even bat an eyelash or do one for the crickets out there chirping when I'm having an off night. I just keep forging on hoping one joke will stick like velcro to their funnybone.

I like to think there are faces out there waiting to guffaw at any second. But it doesn't always happen. One, it seems, might be entertaining monks at times. Not often, mind you, but it happens.

So I asked an experienced local comic on my bill and close enough friend why my usual comedy club people tend to make more noise and pay attention a bit less when I do my "in between acts mini stand up routine." He said, "Dan, they're just so used to seeing you up there or sitting next to 'em at the bar at least a couple of times a month regardless if it's a show or not."

That's star of SEINFELD and hilarious L.A. comedienne Jann Karam (the colorful one) mingling with the crowd after her show.
That's star of SEINFELD and hilarious L.A. comedienne Jann Karam (the colorful one) mingling with the crowd after her show. | Source

You Are Now Entering "The Comfy Zone"

I thought about it and I DO recall new faces yukkin' it up at my jokes and my usual crowd giving their attention just a bit less to my act. But as soon as I announce, "And now ladies and gentlemen, our next comedian..." they bolt right to attention with anticipation at who did Miller book this time.

I guess I give them a little breather or a chance to catch their breath, I like to think in a sense, as I prepare to introduce another pal of mine that just happens to be one of the funniest people in the city.

So even though I may give them MY undivided attention, I may at least be akin to the "comfy zone" of a spouse that may not send a chill up their spine as often as before but still makes them secure knowing that he or she will always be there, doing what's best for them and one they can rely on to put a consistent smile on their face.

I make sure I grab them occasionally by calling a few out by name, walking into the crowd and messing with some regulars. Everyone likes a little fame and notoriety.

Sometimes that familiar face will even surprise them with a new twist to keep the marriage hummin' like a well tuned engine! But give it up with a little more love or attention for that special guy or gal and don't EVER forget who loves YOU, baby! The people on the stage.

Have a great time, keep the chatter down, be considerate of the comedians by not heckling them, which goes along with being considerate to the rest of the crowd there, too. Act like an adult. Remember, where there's alcohol served "stuff happens" so be careful of whom you approach and what you say. The best part of attending a comedy show is that most everyone is laughing and in a great mood!

In between the food, drinks, schmoozing you have to grab the audience's attention. It would be nice if you had 100% of it

The late Morris Katzoff is on a dance floor substituting for "the stage." If you're in a bar you have to play to seats that are turned away from you. Trick is to keep 'em focused with eye contact and you can because you're right there at eye level.
The late Morris Katzoff is on a dance floor substituting for "the stage." If you're in a bar you have to play to seats that are turned away from you. Trick is to keep 'em focused with eye contact and you can because you're right there at eye level. | Source

If comedy shows were scripted right down to the audience reaction

[note: This was a script of a stage act with an audience IN THE ACT. The "audience" loved it but will the real audience love it? Typical crowd reaction to being singled out by the pros on stage.]

(wild applause, exciting music as Don Pardo's voice interjects)

[Don] LIVE FROM "IT'S A DRY HEAT" PHOENIX ARIZONA... LADIES AND GENTLEMEN GET READY FOR FACEBOOK'S EXCITING GAME SHOW...

(audience yells out) "CUTTHROAT!!!"

[Don] AND HERE'S THE STAR OF THE SHOW, THE HOST WITH THE MOST... IN HIS PANTS

(wild audience laughter)

THE VANILLA GODZILLA OF COMEDY... DAN DOUBLE YUUUUUU MILLER!

(wild audience applause, music gets louder)

[Dan runs out with a tuxedo shirt, tie, coat, black dress shoes and socks but no pants on only boxers with hearts on them]

[Dan] AW SPANK YOU, SPANK YOU EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU ASSES!!!

(wild applause mixed with uncontrolled laughter. women's panties fly up onto the stage)

[Dan] ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT!... AW C'MON NOW!... OK...

(applause doesn't let up)

OK. OK... SHUT UP EVERYONE!

(sudden total silence)

[Dan] SPANK YOU, DON PARDO AND WELCOME LADIES AND GERMS TO THE FACEBOOK GAME SHOW WHERE ME, DAN W. MILLER WILL BLOCK PEOPLE AT THE DROP OF A HAT!

(wild audience applause)

[Dan] HERE'S TODAY'S FIRST CONTESTANT. HE'S EUROPEAN...

(boos from audience)

AND THINKS HE CAN GET AWAY WITH INSULTING ME ON MY OWN FACEBOOK WALL!

(Audience boos loudly. One man yells out, "kill him!" While another yells out, "kill his family!")

[Dan] NOW, NOW. WE CAN'T DO THAT FOLKS. ALTHOUGH THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT IS WORKING ON IT…

(wild laughter turns into applauce)

[Dan] WE'LL BE GETTING TO THIS POOR BUGGER'S FATE IN JUST A MOMENT AFTER A FEW WORDS FROM OUR SPONSORS! STICK AROUND EVERYBODY!!

(wild applause. Don Pardo's voice interjects)

[Don] IF YOU'D LIKE TO BE IN OUR STUDIO AUDIENCE JUST WRITE TO THE ADDRESS LISTED ON YOUR SCREEN AND IF YOU'D LIKE TO BE A CONTESTANT ON THE SHOW JUST SAY SOMETHING INSULTING TO DAN RIGHT HERE! WEEEEEEE'LL BE BACK FOLKS AFTER THESE WORDS...

(wild applause continues with people whooping it up and yelling. Dan is seen running into the audience and kisses a very large woman on the cheek as she faints.)

__________________________________________________________________________

Dan W. Miller aka The Vanilla Godzilla has been on both sides of the stage and even backstage. He's been sitting down in the audience and standing up on the stage and even has been lying down on the "Green Room" couch where entertainers wait and wonder, "What kind of crowd do we have tonight?"

Dan, Howard & Tari.

Get into that crowd and get some "photo ops!" Here the owner and host of Stand Up Scottsdale Howard Hughes (center) who never misses a photo opportunity with the author and comedienne Tari Briggs.
Get into that crowd and get some "photo ops!" Here the owner and host of Stand Up Scottsdale Howard Hughes (center) who never misses a photo opportunity with the author and comedienne Tari Briggs. | Source

But if you didn't make 'em laugh or grab their attention, the big crowd could make your stagetime unpleasant. Like what happened to Jake and Elwood in The Blues

What's the best comedy club you've ever been to or performed in and why was it so special?

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    • Dan W Miller profile image
      Author

      Dan W Miller 2 years ago from Southern California now living in Phoenix

      I also figured I should probably write one finally but circumstances and finances have taken over my life. So, not the easiest thing to do ON A KINDLE!

      Thank you, SuperPoet

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good hub Dan, writing about what you know best. That's the secret to a successful hub. Well done. voted up.

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