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This question comes from our friend Pieter, at Ah Dad. Strangely, Pieter’s question mimics almost exactly the evening we shared at Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan, during the time he spent in the US on business. If you’re interested in further Naptimethoughts tom foolery, here is a link to my previous assessment of that evening, Laughing With Ah Dad. 

He writes to Ask Naptimethoughts:

Dear Naptimethoughts
I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to drain some of your wisdom for my own benefit. My question is this:
How should a person, who paid for the ticket and all, handle a very rude and/or unfunny comic in an established comedy club, like umm.. I don’t know Gotham maybe?
I want to be prepared next time.

Regards

Ah Dad…

Dear Ah Dad:

This can be a tricky situation. You paid for the ticket, there’s a three drink minimum, and you want to get your money’s worth, right? So you don’t want to get yourself kicked out.
However, you also don’t want to let a rude or unfunny comic to walk away thinking that he or she was funny and inoffensive, because that would be terribly rude of you.

Most of the time, you will not be asked backstage to visit the rude and unfunny comic after the show, which is a pity, because that is clearly the best time to call quiet attention to the comedian’s poor choice in vocation. You must always be gentle, and remember that what you’re doing is a delicate dance. You want to get your point across, but not hurt anyone’s feelings. One idea, should you end up face to face with your shitty comedian, is to quietly toss your ticket stub at the comic’s feet and say in a nice, yet firm voice, that:

“Your show stank so bad that oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling so that the audience could remain comfortably in the building. It sucked so incredibly bad, that I’ve asked my wife to back over my head with the car, just so that I will never again have to think upon the show that you just presented.”

Or perhaps, although yes, slightly colder, but quicker to the point:

“Your comedy stinks so bad that your teeth are plotting a revolt”.

Unfortunately for you and the comic, you will likely not get the chance to be quite so graceful, so these are my recommendations for a gentle reprimand of the pitiful comedian while they are onstage.

First, there’s the traditional, simple route,  you yell:

 “YOU SUCK”

from your place in the audience. This is a tried and true method to get your point across, but you want to make sure of a couple things before setting out to help your comic in this manner.

  1. You want the comedian to hear you, otherwise you’re simply badmouthing that comedian to other patrons, which is entirely rude on your part. Wait for a quiet moment.
  2. Be understanding. If this comedian, poor thing, had any idea of how badly they stank up the jank, they wouldn’t be up there in the first place. They’d just have a comedy blog on WordPress, and call it a day. So, this person undoubtedly has a swift and snide comeback ready for you. Be ready for their prepared “comeback” with one of your own. Make sure it’s persuasive, but not hurtful. Perhaps something like: “NO, YOU REALLY SUCK. I’M NOT JOKING. YOU STINK LIKE TWO OPEN CANS OF ASS SWEAT IN A BEER HAT”.

Hopefully, that will to get your point across without embarrassing the comedian, because remember, you feel for this person. You are simply performing a community service by letting him or her know the truth, before someone uncouth comes along, and really hurts his or her feelings.

Another option is to throw rotten fruit and/or vegetables at the person on stage. If you decide to go this way, be aware that this method takes some preparation. Be prepared to stink like rotten fruit and/or vegetables whenever you go see a show starring a comic with whom you aren’t familiar. You might want to carry a dedicated bag for your rotten food. Most people who use this method of comic communication choose tomatoes as their rotted item of choice, and I think that’s very kind of them. Tomatoes are soft and squishy when they rot, as opposed to something like a potato, which is still hard, but black and slimy. We don’t want to do permanent damage to our comedian friend, after all.

Our last option requires one to be very close to the stage. Throwing a drink in someone’s face usually gets the point across, but I think it ought to be your last resort. Throwing a drink says “You disgust me to the point that I am willing to sacrifice my liquor just to tell you so”.
If your comedian is particularly sensitive, he or she might see that act as an offensive and hurtful display, especially at a horribly bad show, where most people require a few martinis in order to laugh in the first place.

If you choose this option, be prepared to hurt some feelings. I don’t recommend it.

Hope this helps!

—Naptimethoughts

Disclaimer:

*Naptimethoughts will probably give you bad advice. In fact, I can all but assure you that Naptimethoughts WILL give you bad advice. If I were you, I wouldn’t take anything that Naptimethoughts writes to you seriously AT ALL. If you have a real problem, please seek the advice of a real therapist or Psychiatrist. Ask Naptimethoughts is nothing but a fun way to give Naptimethoughts stuff to write about, and/or plug your blog.

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