At the most basic level, a stand-up comedian’s job is to make his or her audience laugh. So what happens when the audience acts out, making the comic’s job as difficult as possible. Listen up to find out.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve been to your share of live stand-up comedy shows. Having established that, there’s a decent chance you’ve witnessed a few comedian-audience member interactions that began because the latter was being an inconsiderate ass.
But it doesn’t always start that way. As is the case with Todd Barry in the audio below, sometimes the comic simply notices something interesting about the crowd and initiates conversation. Sometimes the comedian’s fear about how the crowd dislikes them takes over, as is the case with Bill Hicks. At other times, its clear that a comedian thrives on bantering with the crowd; as is the case with Jimmy Pardo and his targeting of ultra-young comedy crowd members.
And once conversation is initiated, each comic has his or her own style of attack. New York City based comic Russ Meneve antagonizes a female audience member — she’s not amused with Meneve’s act — by conjuring up the filthiest material he knows. A young George Carlin simply flips out on a loud audience member. And Patton Oswalt shreds an obnoxious crowd member — calling him a “douche nozzle,” among other things — over the course of a few minutes.
But really, you have to listen to get the full effect. So we’ve compiled some of our favorite examples of comedian/audience interaction. Here are the comics in order of appearance on the below audio track.
Todd Barry 1
Todd Barry 2
Todd Barry 3
Todd Barry 4
Todd Barry 5
If you know of some quality-recorded other examples, let us know in the comments section below!