Comedy Master Class #3: Working the Crowd with Crowd Work

Even an aggravated assault counts as good crowd work!

Even an aggravated assault counts as good crowd work!

Comedy Master Class is a free online course presented by The Brunch Club so regular people like yourself can earn their comedy GEDs and achieve their wildest dream of laughing out loud. Today, Comedy Master Class teaches you how to work the crowd with crowd work.

When performing stand-up comedy, it's important to remember that you are not in a vacuum (even though it can feel like a vacuum underneath those bright stage lights). There's an audience right in front of you! So why not interact with them? Talking to the audience can kill valuable stage time for the unprepared, get the audience paying closer attention for fear of getting singled out or simply lead to some unexpected hilarity, which, of course, is one of the foundations of funny.

The industry term for interacting with the crowd is: CROWD WORK. Why? BECAUSE IT IS WORK. You're no good with people, you're a comic! And these people...Oh my god. Sometimes they can be real duds.

"What do you do, sir?"

"Military. Did 90 thousand tours of duty."

"NOT GIVING ME A HELL OF A LOT TO WORK WITH HERE, DOG. I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF VETERAN JOKES."

And then there's no segue out of it and you eventually go to jail for treason like Lenny Bruce. Or something. I don't know who the hell that guy is. That's an old, old guard comic. You don't need to know about him. This is Comedy-motherfucking-Master Class presented by The Brunch Club! Not some trivia for history buffs! THIS IS ABOUT GETTING FAMOUS RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Whatever you do with crowd work, don't be mean. There's a difference between heckling and responding to your question. You asked them a question! They answered! Show some respect, goddamnit. Save the mean stuff for the actual disturbances. Then the crowd will love you. Here's the thing about crowd work though. No matter how minimal it is, your crowd work lets the audience know that you're not afraid of them. Reassure them they are in good hands. Stand-up comedy is nerve-wracking for the audience too, remember. Attempt playfully mean crowd work only after 90 thousand tours of duty. 

Most importantly, repeat the audience member's response so the whole room can hear. Buys you time to think of a clever repartee. 

And that's it! That's crowd work mastered by Comedy Master Class present by The Brunch Club. 

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