When it comes to learning how to be a comedian…
The opening act in the stand-up comedy environment is arguably the hardest spot in a line up of comedians — particularly from a laughter generation stand point.
It’s often referred to as the “bullet taking” spot.
Here’s why that is, no matter what “level” the comedian is at when performing in that critical opening spot…
In comedy venues that are set-up properly, most individuals are seated closely together with strangers — people they have never met and don’t know.
Instinctively, we are “on guard” around people we don’t know and there’s usually a measure of tension that exists until that tension is released and a feeling of “safety” for a lack of a better term exists (from group laughter).
From the comedian’s perspective, the audience is “cold” at this point.
Enter the opening act.
Their job is to break this tension with laughter — and it can be much more difficult to get going when starting with a “cold” audience.
This is something to recognize when using Comedy Evaluator Pro for performance evaluation because…
A comedian will usually NOT get the same response as an opener as they will performing the exact same material as a middle (feature) act or as a headliner.
The important thing to note here is to be aware of this “cold audience” situation and put into perspective that it’s more difficult to get a “cold” crowd going than to get a “warmed up” crowd going.
When I was working as a comedian for the Coach House chain in the mid 90’s, their stand-up comedy line-up was ALL headliners. Rarely did a middle act get on the show.
I have performed in every spot — opener, middle and headliner. Same material, but almost always slightly different results as an opening act — more so than any other spot in a line up of comedians. Why?
It simply takes more time to get an audience from “cold” to “warm”.
So if you are learning how to be a comedian…
Don’t get discouraged if your stand-up material doesn’t quite get the response you would like in the opening act spot.
You have a tough job there “warming up” the crowd that most comedians that follow you will appreciate.