A week or two back a good friend invited me out for an evening at a comedy club here in town. He had received complementary tickets, and I was glad to have the opportunity to hang out with my friend, so this seemed like the makings of a great evening!
We arrived to the casino an hour early. We made our way to will call where we picked up our tickets without incident. Having at least 30 minutes to kill before it was time to make our way inside the show room, we stopped off at the bar and had a beer. We were having a great time BSing when I looked down and realized it was 5 minutes until show time. We drained our beers and headed on over.
When we walked up to the door I could already see inside. The place was empty except for maybe one or two tables. The hostess walked us to a table right up front. Having been to MANY a comedy show in the past, I wasn't exactly thrilled to be sitting so close. All it takes is for one comic who thinks he's the next Don Rickles and you are in for a long night. We took our seats and a within a few minutes the MC for the evening took the stage to a smattering of applause. I immediately flagged down the waitress and ordered another beer. This was going to be tough.
A -large- part of the fun of going to a comedy club is laughing along with the rest of the crowd. There have been many times when somebody in the crowd gets laughing so hard that they, in a way, become part of the show. This fuels the rest of the crowd to laugh and cheer and because of it the comedian settles in to a rhythm with the crowd and feeds of it.
But what if nobody's laughing?
Here's the thing, there wasn't anything wrong with any of the comedians specifically. If you put any of them in front of a crowd of a couple hundred people, they all would have done just fine. Especially the ‘headliner'. He was really funny. But, with only 8-10 people in the audience, it's hard to build up any sort of real laughter. Think about it. If somebody tells you a joke, even if you laugh, you are only going to laugh for a couple seconds. Now, consider that not EVERYTHING the guy says is funny to all 8-10 people. So now you have 3 or 4 people doing little more than chuckling at any one time. This is not a situation where it's going to be fun for the crowd or the comedian.
Thankfully the show wasn't very long. That's probably due to the fact that none of the comedians had to pause waiting for laughter to die down before telling their next joke. We were able to salvage the night by heading across town to catch the second set of the Sin City Sinners. What's not to love about a bunch of rockers playing '80s cover tunes in a small club with Ron Jeremy hanging out at a table with no less than 3 hot blond chicks at any given time?
If you plan on going to a comedy club and you walk in and realize the place has less than a dozen people in the audience, save yourself and ask for a refund immediately. You'll thank me for it.