Twenty Common Things that Annoy Standup Comedians

Categories: Comedy

Phoebe Robinson

1. When I arrive at a show with a comic and someone there will assume I'm his girlfriend.

2. Waiters who take orders entirely too loudly during the show. Now, I understand that waiting tables is difficult and probably annoying due to some customers, but it just shows a lack of respect to the comics that some waiters are so loud that it's distracting and disrupting the show. If comics can be mindful of the wait staff during the show, then I think it's only fair that waiters/servers simply lean down closer to the customer, so they can hear the order as opposed to just yelling.

3. The politics of it all. I'm not a huge "hanger-outer." I've gotten better now because I'm no longer working three jobs to make this comedy thing happen. But during that time, some comics would chastise me for not hanging out and drinking after a show. I'm sorry, I have to work in the morning, and my idea of a good time is not getting wasted until 2, 3 a.m. I have a boyfriend. Or simply, I just want to go home and relax. I don't think the fact that I'm not much of a drinker should penalize me by meaning I don't get booked on certain shows, but it does, so what can you do?

4. When comics lie about credits. The thing is, when we all start out, we don't have much shit going on. That's just what it is. But some people will audition for something and list that as a credit. Are you kidding me? Do you see Halle Berry's IMDB page littered with all the roles didn't get? No. If you don't have credits, you don't have credits.

5. Comics focusing on everything but the main purpose: getting funnier. Whenever people ask me for advice, which is rarely, they don't want to real truth: that it took a lot of hard work and that I had to put my attention into getting funny. Example, someone will ask me, "How did you get your writing job at Glamour?" I'll tell them, "Well, I had my own blog that I wrote on for about a year, and I didn't make money off that blog and it turns out that someone at Glamour had been reading it and told their bosses to hire me." Yeah, the hiring process wasn't difficult, but when it's revealed that I wrote my own blog and didn't make money off it, some folks get disappointed. Well, no one said comedy, or anything difficult, is super glamorous -- no pun intended. It's just a lot of work.

Ben Kronberg

1. Not being able to smoke weed in the greenroom, like it implies.

2. The "laughs per minute rule." Comedy is more about listening than laughing. Quiet, non-responsive, listening.

3. "The light." Yes, I see the light, but I'm fucking crushing. You don't pull out of a girl that's moaning unless you're ready to finish.

4. Underminers trying to be cool. "Hey, what was that show you totally ate shit at the other night? That was hilarious."

5. Microphones that don't smell like spit. It's like putting on new jeans.

Kevin White

1. "Where do you perform?" This question always bugs me because it's usually from someone who has never been to a comedy show before and doesn't know that we as comics are always moving around to different rooms and different audiences. So now I have to explain to them that I don't really have a residency at one specific spot all the time, which in turn results in them giving me a look of doubt that I'm actually a working comedian. I guess I could just direct them to my website for dates, but honestly that has never occurred to me until right now as I was answering this. OK, I guess I'm the dick.

2. "You're going to use this in one of your jokes, aren't you?" No. I'm not.

3. "Skits." Stop calling it that. I don't know if you're referring to my jokes, my set, my act, but I assure you "skit" isn't the term for it. Maybe you're thinking of a "sketch," which is a short comedic scene, like you'd see on Saturday Night Live. A "sketch" is not a "skit." I'd go on, but you can just Google it.

4. Whatever new joke you're most excited about will always bomb, and whatever half-baked dumb aside you just scribbled down will always crush.

5. Ego. I'm not pointing fingers. This refers to everyone's ego, mine included. As people who get onstage for the acceptance of strangers and get rewarded with very little pay, you can imagine how after a while comedians tend to feel like they're "owed" something. This way of thinking is a trap. Don't worry about how your contemporaries are doing, just be happy that you get to do something so amazing with your time.


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