One of my favourite things about comedy is talking to the audience, one of my least favourite things about comedy can be talking to the audience. A nice thing about going off script is that it creates the live comedy feel rather than watching TV. In fact because we have a phone ban in comedy shows it's one of the few times people aren't watching the world through a phone. Well, I had a lady in my front row on her phone the other day.
Me: Are you okay?
Her: Yes I’m fine.
Me: Is the person you're chatting to on your phone okay?
Her: It’s my daughter.
Me: How is she?
Her: She is fine, you can continue with your show now.
Me: Are you sure? Maybe we should ask your daughter?
I try not to be nasty but she still hated me for the last 30 minutes of the show.
Most of my interaction with the audience is based on questions that I ask, linking things that I'm talking about, for example ‘How did you two meet?’ If it's interesting then we can chat, boring then I’ll start doing my jokes about chat up lines (Or ‘pick up lines’ as I have more Americans here). That question this week has had two interesting answers.
Me: How did you two meet?
Man: We haven’t.
(I'd already spoken to this man and his wife but I'd aimed the question at him and the wrong woman)
Me: Are you not married? (I’ve still not noticed my mistake)
Man: Yes but to her (I now noticed)
(The audience are laughing a lot, but at my stupidity rather than my ability to be funny)
Me: It’s not my fault that you’re sitting closer to a stranger than your own wife. You’re even holding hands it's very misleading.
(He was not sitting closer to her or holding hands. I lied because I felt like a dick but they enjoyed the show and the non-wife’s husband offered to sell his wife to the man, I have no idea how that turned out).
The second interesting answer to how did you two meet.
Lady: You tell him.
Me: Oh we have a winner, this is going to be a great story
Man: Arranged marriage.
Me: Well this is awkward. I now have a whole room of people wondering if i’m going to say the wrong thing and offend you.
All I'll say is, you sir did much better out of the deal than she did.
(If in doubt compliment the woman and insult the man)
Later on when I was talking about people filling out their online dating profiles I asked them if in India there parents did it for them. They thought it was hilarious but most of the room didn’t. I think they were offended for the people laughing.
Years ago a bloke in the crowd didn’t like me, and I forget how we got there but he said ‘I’ll decide if it's funny or not’. I'm not sure what I said at the time, probably something that proved him right, but now I would say ‘No, you decide if you think its funny. Not whether it is funny’.
My other interaction with people is obviously around the ship, as big as it is there is no hiding. Most people are very nice and will just say they enjoyed the show. One man came up to me a couple of nights back and said.
Man: Are you the comic?
Me: Yes, I am.
Man: Good, good. (and he walked away)
People do seem to like walking past me saying 'you are the comic’ (Maybe the shows aren't going well if they feel I need reminding)
My favourite was last year on Allure of the Seas, I was in a lift and a married couple got in. I could feel the man looking at me and then he did the British compliment.
Man: We watched the comedian last night, he was shit? Only joking
Man: We enjoyed the show
(At this point the lift stopped and they got out as they did the lady joined in)
Lady: Ohh we should have a photo with you.
Me: (in my head) I’m not getting out of the lift.
Lady: (as the lift doors shut) It must be so lonely being on the ship alo…