Professional standup comedy performances require certain things…
(1) A somewhat sober audience willing to pay attention and shut up.
(2) A stage indoors, theatrical lighting, and a decent sound system .
(3) Bouncers or club managers to escort hecklers out the door.
Most standup comedians have experienced gigs that lack all three.
About eight or nine years ago, I was asked to perform at a benefit.
Without thinking, I immediately said yes.
Any time I get to do what I love and help others typically turns out well but not this time.
When I arrived at the benefit, I learned the show would take place in the afternoon, outside with no stage, no lighting, and in front of an audience that had been drinking beer for hours in the hot sun.
When it came time for me to take “the stage” which was just the part of the lawn where a microphone stood, I began telling jokes to a one picnic table of about six people.
They were the only audience. And as I delved deeper into my act, a middle-aged drunk woman carrying two empty beer cans wandered up to me, dropped the cans, and grabbed my crotch.
Normally I would have enjoyed this but she had been rode hard and put away wet so this groping was far from enjoyable.
I learned a few lessons that day…
(1) Never agree to a gig until you know the particulars.
(2) If you show up and the conditions will warrant a terrible show, pull the plug.
(3) Wear a cup…at all times.
(4) Sometimes comedians wish they were musicians.