The gay singers sang very well, but what caught my attention was how good they were as stand-up comics.
Their comedy material was not my cup of tea. I couldn’t—and wouldn’t—use their genre in my usual venues. As you well know, gay comics ply their trades in comedy bars, hurling insult humor at, and churning blue jokes for, tipsy if not drunk crowds.
They perform for difficult and rowdy audiences. That they survive in this environment is a testament to how good they are.
So I observed them perform last Saturday, since they went onstage ahead of me. I always try to watch other live performers to pick a few lessons in the art of performing.
However, I marveled at their skills in capturing the audience’s attention. The connection they made and their rapport with the crowd were things of beauty, compared to how some magicians would struggle to keep their audience’s rapt attention with appearing and vanishing canes.
I love the way they conducted skillful repartees. They always had funny replies to audience members’ remarks, questions and reactions.
My type of comedy is more studied. I script my lines, even the seemingly spontaneous ones. I do this by anticipating audience reactions, remarks and questions, and preparing in advance funny retorts for them.
I then memorize them, put them in the back of my head, ready to spring upon spectators at the right moment.
When the right moment doesn’t come, these funny retorts stay in the back of my head, patiently waiting for the opportune time.
That’s how a non-comic like me produces the illusion of spontaneous comedy in his show. When opportunity arises for me to let loose those lines, it seems I’m doing extemporaneous comedy.
The two gay comics I watched in that 80th birthday party, though, were dropping funny lines left, right and center. They did it at a rapid, dizzying speed. Some of the lines they use sound hackneyed, but in most parts their repartees were spontaneous.
I believe they got about four to six laughs per minute (LPMs), which is a decent standard for stand-up comedians.
- Don Rickles’ Insulting Joke About President Obama Cut (celebs.gather.com)