Practice and Being Loose

I did two sets yesterday. The first was at Helium: it looks better on film than it felt in person.

Note to self: until you’ve heard yourself say the material 300 times, make sure to practice your full set outloud twice before you get up on stage. While you don’t want to sound overly rehearsed, you don’t want to forget any major setups or punchlines either. 

Helium was also weird in that everyone was in the back of the room. There were 40-50 people there, but not a soul in the first 3 rows. It felt weird hearing laughs but not seeing anyone or even an outline of people. I’d love to hear some tips on how to adjust in such a situation.

The second set was at Raven Lounge, my Philly comedy home at this point. While it was a pretty sparse crowd, I was interacting with the audience really well and addressed all the interuptions that came up. I think it was my best crowd/situational work to date, which isn’t saying too much, but you gotta start somewhere.

[Note: YouTube has a 10 minute clip limit, so I’ve had to cut up my Raven act into 3 parts. The place is really dark, so there’s no video, just audio. I added an image so it could be stored on YouTube.]


  Part 1                  Part 2                  Part 3

Last Night’s Show

The Phillies playoff game was on so the crowd was small. I’m still trying to figure out how to best address a small crowd: Do I do my regular show lke there’s more people, or tone it down and get more personal? My current hunch, and based on who got the most laughs yesterday is, the smaller the crowd, the more crowd work you should do. Personalize it for them. Make them invested in your performance. Hopefully I’ll be able to adjust to this next time.

Actually, two shows wound up occurring last night as 6 new people came in as the original show was ending. The hosts made a great decision to keep the show going, and you could tell the small crowd appreciated it. (Not to rant, but this is the opposite of what many businesses do when a customer shows up two minutes before closing time.)

I didn’t get to go on a second time, but it was interesting to observe the other comedians and to see how much material they repeated from the first show (at which point I looked over to the the bartender contemplating suicide) versus how much new material they did that wasn’t done that night yet.

Comments about my set welcome.

The Heckler Who Couldn’t

“Ladies and Gentleman, we’re gonna have a guest “oh snap” contest. Sir, you can finally come up on stage,” says The Legendary Wid

The Heckler gets up on stage. 

“So what’s your name sir? What do you do?”

“I’m just a man doin what I do.” The previously vocal heckler is getting a little gun shy now that the lights are on him. I guess being on stage against the night’s best “oh snap” talker can do that to you.

Vid pipes in, “Okay, you don’t have to give a name. We can just call you Ray Ray.”

Chris, the winner of the contest to date, grabs the mic. “Where’d you get that coat, the army surplus store? You look like a poor man’s Kayne West.”

After two hours of trying to out talk and out jokes every comic, the heckler grabs the mic. The actual spotlight is finally on him. You can see the wheels turning. And turning.



he sits down.


Last night’s scene at Laff House reminded me of the old Teddy Roosevelt quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Jelly and Jam

Last night, a singer went on at the open mic after me, and asked me (over the mic of course):

Singer: “What’s the difference between jelly and jam?”

Ben: “I don’t know, what is it?”

Singer: “I can’t jelly my dick up your ass!”

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