This is one of my newer buddies from the crowd that brought us Neo, the Earnest Chef and of course Senegal Astroturf (one of the coolest bands ever). Bonez is also a musician in a band but their music is a bit too scary for me. It's her comedy that I dig.
She came to Scooterville last night to perform at the weekly Yuk Yuk's amateur night. The show had its moments but it was unfortunately a very small crowd and little energy was produced, prompting too little laughter for the comedians comfort.
I wonder if comedians generally understand the causality around laughter, if they simply perceive that certain triggers will - or should - prompt laughter from "the crowd" or else fail - rather than properly perceiving that the crowd is made of individuals?
It seems to me that an average comedy viewer will laugh out loud on occasion, according, not just to their unique sense of humour, but to their personal internal rhythms as well.
The bigger the crowd, the more often someone will be laughing. The smaller the crowd the more often no one will be laughing. It's just math. If one is not conscious of that, they will just interpret that the smaller crowd is not as amused, when in general, that might not at all be so.
Unfortunately the stretches without laughter last night, made the comedians uncomfortable and so the pattern of quietness became an item of spontaneous material within their banter. It felt like they were trying to guilt us into laughing more. The problem then, is that sensitive viewers will pick up on their underlying discomfort and are themselves infected by it. Now we feel under pressure to laugh for them and that pressure kills the mood even more. I think it became a vicious circle.
If I may be indulgent, I am beginning to interpret that there may be a lot of emotional hardships of different ilk among the comedian crowd. I gather there may be a high rate of alcohol and drug use among them, and suspect that issues of self-esteem may be generally common in the community; perhaps a need for acceptance or even attention, and that this may lie near the root of last night's awkwardness.
Even Bonez, who is a lovely person and who has survived a lot that life has thrown at her, and who won the night at the previous (competitive) show I saw her at, did not seem in top form last night.
So perhaps its for the best I have no video of last night's performance and an excuse to present this brief file footage from a past show which I much enjoyed:
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