(Close Window)
Topic: A comedy Theory?
Message: Posted by: Herr Brian Tabor (Jun 29, 2013 04:02PM)
Last night I was thinking about comedy shows, whether they be stand-up, magic, or anything else for that matter. I listen to a lot of comedy on the radio too, and noticed something about the audience. This'll be hard to explain for me lol, so bear with me.

You ever watch a TV show that you normally like, but don't laugh, then watch it with a group of friends and you laugh out loud with them? I've also seen/heard several comedians tell a joke that wasn't really funny, but people still laughed.

I think this is a group behavior, as in "it's more funny with a group that's also laughing".

I've also noticed too that things seem funnier to an audience when they are already laughing. A lot comedians will milk a joke for a few laughs that one their own, wouldn't be funny, but because the group is already laughing they find this funny too.

This being said, I wonder if one couldn't use this to their advantage while doing a show?

We already do in one regard, as a lot of magicians open with something funny to disarm the audience and get them laughing. I think this is important in a comedy show because if they start off laughing, it becomes easier to laugh throughout the show, if that makes sense.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think about these things, just wondering what these theories are called, and your thoughts on these?
Message: Posted by: plink (Jun 30, 2013 07:56AM)
I wouldn't limit this to comedy. Most of us have found group size often(not always) is a factor in response. A small group usually gives you less of a variety of responses to a joke or effect. In a larger group someone usually responds the way you are looking for and that response can be 'massaged' with a smile, nod, quip, etc.
The older concept of using a warm-up can also be a factor. A warm-up basically let the audience get to know you as a person before they viewed you as a performer.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jul 2, 2013 07:53AM)
Laughter can also be used right before a scary moment in a show or movie.

Yes it is easier to get laughter from 500 than it is a "crowd" of 5.

On television, laugh tracks were used/invented to let people at home know it was time to laugh.

We also get laughter at places we don't expect in our show, based on one, then 3 then 33 people build the laughter.

Harris
doctor of laughology,,MACSAPP,B.A. and M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.....
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jul 2, 2013 08:35AM)
What is being referred here comes down to performance dynamics and social behaviors in a group. I have produced comedy shows since the boom in the 80's. Many clubs made tons of money during this time. Venues that never before hosted entertainment, would suddenly have a comedy night and it would be packed and successful. Comedy was everywhere and it was hot.

The boom ended, and the bottom fell out of the market. Now many club, pub and bar owners can't understand that if they try a comedy night why it doesn't have the same effect? It's performance dynamics and social behavior.

There are many things that go into creating a successful performance. More than meets the eye. It may seem like just a comic, a microphone and a spotlight, but in reality we have over 60 points that must come together in concert to achieive the desired effect. Again more than meets the eye.

As far as behavior, people feed off of each other in a group dynamic. Parents of teens understand this as their teen may be fine and act a certain way when by themselves, but put them with just one or more additional teens and the behaviors and dynamics change greatly. Same kid, different dynamics and behaviors from playing off of and combining with others in the situation.

In hypnosis, mentalism and other entertainment venues, understanding this has allowed me to use this to my distinct advantage. This also holds true for the business side of the equation. Marketing and promoting based on these concepts can also be greatly beneficial. I use it daily in all of my entertainment businesses.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jul 2, 2013 09:11AM)
Ah the days of comedy clubs opening in a room in the back of a pizza or steak place.

During those same days, I was doing a comedy radio series and work with an improv troupe.

Those were the building block days for me.

Theory is great, but sometimes I can get stuck in the paralysis of analyst. Also with my bad spelling.

Be safe,well and creative.

Harris
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Jul 26, 2013 05:43PM)
An interesting Thread.

Mindpro, Im curious about "the 60 points" you try to get together to achieve,....
How do you go about "forming the group"?
Then, how do you take them for "the walk",..
and keep them obediently together?

What do you go for?

Does it always work?

Thanks in advance,
gallagher
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jul 26, 2013 06:25PM)
Gallagher,

The performance dynamics I speak of ultimately help the performers and the performance. Most of these things are done to create the right atmosphere and performance environment that ultimately gives the performer(s) the greatest chance to succeed.

These are more about the performance venue that I was referring to. Of the 60+ things we require for our performance venues are things like - no televisions, games, pool tables, or other possible distractions should be on during the performance (in nightclubs, pubs & bars), the showroom should remain closed with the audience being held outside until the proper time to let them in, that audiences are seated (not allowed their free choice of seating), that they are seated from the front of the room nearest the stage back, that there is wait-service, that the serving staff understands and is properly informed and trained to work and operate in a stage/showroom performance situation (much different than in a typical operating club), that the show is properly introduced, that management and/or security know and understand how to properly deal with any problematic or disruptive customers (there is a right way and a hundred wrong ways to comply with the proper performance dynamic, and so on.

The idea is to create the right and close to perfect performance environment to offer the greatest opportunity for performance and financial success.

Yes, it is always very effective when done properly. There are certain venues and mangers we simply refuse to work for if they don't comply. The management must be properly educated and trained on how to create the right, proper and productive performance environment. Literally 99% of venue management do not know these things. They think the put the entertainment in there, do a bit of promotion (there is also right and wrong types of promotion as well), open the door and people and profits should start pouring in. These people are the ones that fail...on many levels. They're the first ones to say - "comedy (magic, mentalism, hypnosis, trivia nights, karaoke, etc.) won't/doesn't work here." Just because they are the management doesn't mean they know our business or or our aspect of the business.

They don't understand how to use and work the media, in-house staff and promotion, how to use other entertainers and in-house tactics to promote our event and so on.

As you said, there is a deep psychological system and methods at work here. Hell, many entertainers themselves do not understand this. They don't understand why they have good shows and bad show, good venues and bad venues, why they kill and why they bomb. It's operating on a much deeper level.

To give you a quick example we once appeared at a nice restaurant with a banquet venue. They booked us for two weekends - a show each Friday and two shows on each Saturday. We require on our rider a minimum audience of at least 80 for there to be a performance. We were assured. The first night, opening night after they spent supposedly $2300 in promotion, newspaper, radio, posters, flyers, etc. only 41 people showed up (this was after they scurried about to try to get family and friends to come just to have some type of an audience). I did the show reluctantly and although those there had a great time it was by my perspective a bad show. We agreed to cancel the two show the next night. I told him he didn't comply with the 60+ items my office had given him and the accompanying DVD explaining them. He admitted he didn't. I said the only way I would do the next week (I was still to be paid whether we performed or not) was to have a meeting with him (manager) and then a full-staff meeting to go over and implement every one of these 60+. I assured him if we did that that we'd have three packed shows the next week (80% or more filled) or I do the week for free. Of course he agreed, but still claimed he knew his business and venue better than me and that he was sure there was nothing else that I cold offer that could improve what he'd done.

I had the two meetings. His world changed. His staff came alive, radio and television stations came out to cover the event, two of the shows sold out by Wednesday of that week, and the final show on Saturday was oversold, all seats sold, no comps, no discounts, standing room sold, and still about 18 additional oversold seats and a standby list of 6 in the event of cancellations. It was a great success and demonstrated the power of the right psychological and performance dynamic.

There's much more to this but this is some general ideas when I mean performance dynamics. This is the stuff that should get the majority of the attention, the performance is the easy part. Psychology and performance dynamics can be a powerful combination.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Aug 16, 2013 09:47AM)
People do laugh more in a group that is already laighing. This is well known. It can even be faked. Hence laughter tracks.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Aug 20, 2013 01:52PM)
[quote]
On 2013-07-26 19:25, Mindpro wrote:
Gallagher,

The performance dynamics I speak of ultimately help the performers and the performance. Most of these things are done to create the right atmosphere and performance environment that ultimately gives the performer(s) the greatest chance to succeed.

These are more about the performance venue that I was referring to. Of the 60+ things we require for our performance venues are things like - no televisions, games, pool tables, or other possible distractions should be on during the performance (in nightclubs, pubs & bars), the showroom should remain closed with the audience being held outside until the proper time to let them in, that audiences are seated (not allowed their free choice of seating), that they are seated from the front of the room nearest the stage back, that there is wait-service, that the serving staff understands and is properly informed and trained to work and operate in a stage/showroom performance situation (much different than in a typical operating club), that the show is properly introduced, that management and/or security know and understand how to properly deal with any problematic or disruptive customers (there is a right way and a hundred wrong ways to comply with the proper performance dynamic, and so on.

The idea is to create the right and close to perfect performance environment to offer the greatest opportunity for performance and financial success.

Yes, it is always very effective when done properly. There are certain venues and mangers we simply refuse to work for if they don't comply. The management must be properly educated and trained on how to create the right, proper and productive performance environment. Literally 99% of venue management do not know these things. They think the put the entertainment in there, do a bit of promotion (there is also right and wrong types of promotion as well), open the door and people and profits should start pouring in. These people are the ones that fail...on many levels. They're the first ones to say - "comedy (magic, mentalism, hypnosis, trivia nights, karaoke, etc.) won't/doesn't work here." Just because they are the management doesn't mean they know our business or or our aspect of the business.

They don't understand how to use and work the media, in-house staff and promotion, how to use other entertainers and in-house tactics to promote our event and so on.

As you said, there is a deep psychological system and methods at work here. Hell, many entertainers themselves do not understand this. They don't understand why they have good shows and bad show, good venues and bad venues, why they kill and why they bomb. It's operating on a much deeper level.

To give you a quick example we once appeared at a nice restaurant with a banquet venue. They booked us for two weekends - a show each Friday and two shows on each Saturday. We require on our rider a minimum audience of at least 80 for there to be a performance. We were assured. The first night, opening night after they spent supposedly $2300 in promotion, newspaper, radio, posters, flyers, etc. only 41 people showed up (this was after they scurried about to try to get family and friends to come just to have some type of an audience). I did the show reluctantly and although those there had a great time it was by my perspective a bad show. We agreed to cancel the two show the next night. I told him he didn't comply with the 60+ items my office had given him and the accompanying DVD explaining them. He admitted he didn't. I said the only way I would do the next week (I was still to be paid whether we performed or not) was to have a meeting with him (manager) and then a full-staff meeting to go over and implement every one of these 60+. I assured him if we did that that we'd have three packed shows the next week (80% or more filled) or I do the week for free. Of course he agreed, but still claimed he knew his business and venue better than me and that he was sure there was nothing else that I cold offer that could improve what he'd done.

I had the two meetings. His world changed. His staff came alive, radio and television stations came out to cover the event, two of the shows sold out by Wednesday of that week, and the final show on Saturday was oversold, all seats sold, no comps, no discounts, standing room sold, and still about 18 additional oversold seats and a standby list of 6 in the event of cancellations. It was a great success and demonstrated the power of the right psychological and performance dynamic.

There's much more to this but this is some general ideas when I mean performance dynamics. This is the stuff that should get the majority of the attention, the performance is the easy part. Psychology and performance dynamics can be a powerful combination.
[/quote]

This is thr type of 'magic book' that interests me. Tricks are tricks but this is true magic