Audience participation

Last night we went to a local restaurant and caught a group of youngsters who had formed an improv group. (One member of the group is a gerbil 1 I’ve written about before.)

The quality of the improv was not bad and there were indeed some funny moments. There were also some awkward moments and a few where they biffed and fell flat on their face. I guess you’d call them improv faux pas where the action stopped and one of them tried in vain to come up with something – anything – and failed, so they’d throw in the towel and that segment would be over. But overall they did a job job and there were a few choice moments that had me laughing out loud.

At one point the performers stopped the show and told the audience, “Don’t clap. We want to applaud you.” Ah, the old “great audience” shtick. I was like, “Fine, fine. Here’s my tip jar! You guys can pay me!

In typical improv fashion they would ask for some sort of suggestion from the audience prior to each bit. And this is the thing: We were a truly shitty audience. I don’t know if was just your basic stupidity or if we were truly vicious and going for the jugular. Sometimes that sort of thing is a very fine line.

For example, they asked, “What is an item you’d take back to the store to return?” Some obliviot yelled, “the moon.” Yeah, I wanna go shopping with you. Not.

They asked, “This game features Bob and Bill. What is their relationship?” (For some strange reason they used the word “game” to describe their “skits.” Odd.) Right on cue, some obliviot yelled, “insane asylum.” Hmm. What a strange sort of “relationship” indeed. I wanna hang with you and your family. Not.

“What’s a problem they’ll need to solve?” Obliviot, your answer? “Pumping sewage!” Gee, I’m glad I don’t have your problems. I’ll keep my own, thank you.

“Let’s play the dating game! Tell us something interesting about contestant #1.” The suggestion yelled out, “food poisoning.” Did I mention this audience was vicious?

Did I also mention this was in a restaurant. We were eating food. The images were starting to add up. Pumping sewage. Yummy. Simulated vomiting on stage. Yummy. I’m forced to agree that’s just perfect entertainment during our meal.

Then they asked for “genres of film.” For the one and only time all night I participated. I yelled, “Avatar.” Yes, we have a new obliviot playing now! For some damn strange reason they chose western, film noir, and Shakespeare over my excellent idea. What gives! :)

Aside from all that fun, there was one other wee problem. A lady in the front row was obnoxious. She was yelling out her ideas ever single time they asked. And I mean yelling. She was pretty much the only one anyone could hear. And she was talking loudly during the performance. And she was up there without being chosen each time they asked for someone to come up. She was an ass.

Why does there have to be one in every crowd, every frickin’ time???

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go to Wal-Mart now to return The Moon, only slightly used.


1. This gerbil inspired my series of medical marijuana cartoons and his brother was featured in my post Gerbil rampage.

6 responses

  1. Whoa – I like the new format!

    I used to do improv years ago and have watched tons of it. Sounds like your audience is like all of them…

    And congrats to gerbil #1!


    1. Wow. Got any YouTube of your performances? I’d love to see that! You are a true Renaissance woman! 🙂


  2. Who would return the moon if they got it anyway? It could be used as a perfectly nice lamp, or maybe a disco-ball.


    1. Good point. I wouldn’t return it, either. Hold it for ransom maybe… 🙂


  3. I’ve seen many a comedy show. I do enjoy improv because you get to play along – you determine how funny or sour it’s going to be. But the worst – WORST – stand up show I’ve been to was Ben Bailey (Cash Cab). It was not a good show and I felt bad that the guy was going to be doing it for the next three nights. Because it sucked. And the audience sucked. And I was just glad we were given the tickets and didn’t pay for them.


  4. At our show the audience was decidedly not helping much and the guys on stage had some skills but were not the best. There were some funny moments but also some awkward ones.

    I’ve never seen the Cash Cab show so I can’t say if I’m surprised or not.


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