We were delighted to see the Onion spoof of a seven minute standup comedy routine that turned into a hostage standoff. If comedians can’t take a joke, who can? Take a look at what they said and what it means for winning over an audience.
The Onion video shows a group of 35 hostages recounting their harrowing experience at an imaginary comedy lounge in Richmond, Virginia. Marty “The Party” Woodruff had subjected them to painful jokes and forced audience participation. Positive reviews of the show were attributed to Stockholm syndrome. The survivors huddled under blankets and described praying to see their families again as they spoke to the TV cameras after their rescue.
Of course, it’s usually less dramatic in real life when your audience is losing interest in what you have to say. You need to be able to spot signs more subtle than 911 calls and desperate races for the nearest exit. Pay attention to people’s body language. Are they leaning away from you and fidgeting? When was the last time they made eye contact, asked a question or gave you a reassuring nod?
If it looks like people are spacing out, you need to act fast to turn things around. Try to establish a personal connection. Throw in a surprise. Use illustrations or props. Invite interaction. Let’s say you’re trying to sell a health club membership. Talk about which equipment is low impact or popular for marathon training. Present a special offer. Show a diagram of planned improvements to the pool area. Give clients a chance to try out an aerobics class and talk with the trainers.
For standup comedy that’s all laughs and no hostages, contact us at RISE Comedy Playhouse. We’re Denver’s newest and most exciting comedy venue, offering a fun and spontaneous entertainment experience.