Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There!


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If you have been going to stand up comedy shows or performed on them often enough, eventually, you will see and hear things that make your butt cheeks tighten up and make you wanna say, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!” Well, allow me to share a few of the moments I have been privileged to witness. Disclosure: Once you start reading, you can’t look away. Okay, here we go:

1. At an open mic, I witnessed a young man take the stage and proceeded to freeze. Nothing came out of his mouth. He literally took the mic and looked out at the audience and said nothing. I don’t know if it was stage fright or if this was his “bit”, but this “bit” lasted almost 10 minutes! He just stood there… I think maybe he uttered a word or two, but they certainly weren’t memorable. The audience felt tense for the guy. We all waited for him to say something. Anything! But, nope, it didn’t happen. His 10 minutes were up, he said “Thank you” and got off the stage. I’ve never seen the poor kid up on stage since…

2. At a regularly booked show, a comedian’s set wasn’t going particularly well and he was beginning to get heckled by a couple that took issue with one of his jokes. In an attempt to “riff” (engage the audience in a monologue), the comic dug himself a deeper hole. As the minutes wore on, the couple got louder and the jokes were no longer jokes. The comic tried his hardest to win them over but it didn’t help that the comic just got more insulting and less funny. At the end of his set, the comic tried to make amends with the couple and was completely ignored. That was tough to watch…

3. During another paid gig, a comic took the stage and started off well. Within about 15 minutes, the wheels started to fall off. All of a sudden, the material went a little “blue” (a term used to describe toilet or sexual type humor). The audience was no longer digging the material and the laughs suddenly stopped. Feeling the tension, the comic proceeded to scold the audience for not laughing, (not a good way to win an audience over). The comic ended his set 10 minutes shorter than what he was scheduled for. I watched, staring at the floor hoping I would become invisible…

4. A few years ago, during a weekend show at a comedy club in Arizona, the headliner took to the stage after the first two comics tore the room up! The comic had a “low key” style of delivery and, for the most part, had good material, but on this night, the audience was already used to the high energy of the first two comics. Well, that didn’t result well for him. The comedian started out well enough, but within about 20 minutes, the room started to slowly clear out. People were leaving. That has been the hardest thing to watch. The comedian made up for it the next night and performed an amazing set! But, what a price to pay…

Stand up comedy is like that. It’s not pretty. Each of the four incidents I described above will happen to every comic. If you’re in stand up comedy, and some of these things haven’t happened to you yet, well, you just haven’t been in the business long enough. If you are in denial about the reality of stand up, quit now.

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