Bombing & Blaming: What To Do While You Bomb

I just got home after watching two comedy shows.

4.5 hours of mostly terrible comedy. And I don't use the word terrible lightly.

Most of the time, I'm a "there's a comedy type for everybody" kind of guy! [I'm annoyingly optimistic.]

But tonight I watched comic after comic perform a joke, die inside and out, and then immediately blame the audience for not laughing. 

 
Photo by Edu Lauton

Photo by Edu Lauton

 

“That killed at the earlier show!”

“You guys don’t know good comedy!”

“Everyone can unclench their assholes now, okay?”

“Tough crowd.” [yes, people are still saying that…]

Being told they're stupid for not being able to identify a joke is the number one reason people come to comedy shows! 😐

If the audience doesn’t laugh, the strong comic doesn’t blame them. He uses them to get stronger.

Every comic bombs [except me]. And that's okay!

But a strong comic understands that there will be good and bad rooms. Good and bad audiences. Good and bad jokes. But they run their set and refine based on audience response. If the audience doesn't laugh, the strong comic doesn't blame them. 

He uses them to get stronger.

So, wise Anthony. How do I remedy the situation? What should I do when I bomb?

First, I’m grateful you acknowledged my wisdom. Hardly anyone does. ["They don’t know good wisdom!”]

Second, embrace the situation. Call it out. Acknowledge that you're bombing. The audience already knows it! And the sooner you let them know that you know you’re bombing, the sooner you can get back on their side.

How do I let them know I’m bombing?

Just say it! 

A while ago I heard one comic use the line “You’re not seeing a comedian bomb, folks. You’re seeing a spoken word performer kill.” 

The crowd laughed.

And just like that they were back on his side.

Telling them over and over that they suck ostracizes them. It makes them feel like it's their fault.

And it's not. 

It's ours.

 

 
Photo by Cristian Grecu
 
Anthony LeDonneComment