Audience Member ‘Gets the Joke Later’ Just Like the Comedian Said He Wouldleighton
Any comedian will tell you that writing good jokes is not easy. It consists of coming up with a solid premise, a great punchline, an optional tag or two, and a delivery that is undeniable. After that, you must test these jokes in front of a live audience and forge them in the fires of open mics.
So what happens when a joke falls flat? Some people will tell you that it’s not ready or that it’s just not funny. Fuck these people. They don’t understand the work you put into this joke. They don’t understand that you know funny.
The real issue here is that the audience simply doesn’t understand your joke. Your joke is like a fine barrel aged wine requiring an experienced comedic palette to properly appreciate. This is why it is important to let the audience know that they may not understand it now but they will get it later after further analysis. The effectiveness of this strategy comes from making the audience understand that them not laughing is their fault. Therefore, they won’t think it has to do with you not being funny.
If you don’t know exactly what to say, don’t worry, here are some examples to get you started.
In a condescending tone say “Don’t worry, you’ll get that one later.”
Alternatively, you may say “That joke was just for me.” This will let the audience know that you don’t need their reassurance that you’re funny as you write jokes for yourself and not to make a crowd laugh.
Lastly, you may also find it helpful to single out an audience member and repeatedly tell him he doesn’t understand the joke. Eventually, he will nervously laugh and this will send a cue to the other audience members that the joke was indeed funny.
Last week, a master comedian used these exact strategies when a joke fell flat. One audience member was skeptical, however, on his ride home he chuckled and exclaimed “I got it!” This just goes to show that comedy is more than writing funny jokes. It’s about how you control the crowd. Get out there and make sure people know you’re funny!