I don’t do much crowd work when I’m onstage. I find the whole ‘where are you folks from’ stuff pretty corny, plus as I don’t really like people very much so it’s hard to muster up much enthusiasm for their responses.
But this weekend I played in Temple, Texas and, thanks to the audience, had one of the best shows I’ve ever done. I like playing the club in Temple, the manager and staff are great and while the audiences aren’t always that big, they’re usually enthusiastic and grateful to have something to do other than cattle prodding or shopping at HEB.
The Friday night crowd was small, but quite chatty from the outset. Not in an especially clever way, mostly some ‘whoos’ and ‘yeahs’, but I’m getting better at the ‘whooing’ thing and may some day again attempt the great American ‘yow’ sound onstage, though this is trickier. But we played around a bit and I discovered some other recreational shaggers in the audience and we bonded over our shared hatred of children. I tried out some new material and although it was a bit hit and miss, there were enough laughs to keep me away from the blade. I even went over to the Duckhorn, the local bar, for a few drinks after the show. Valuable lesson kids. Never accept a Jager Bomb from a stranger, it’s far more dangerous than candy. Should have said no. Didn’t. Ended up dancing and eating a Whataburger Taquito. Puked. Enough said.
The Saturday night crowd was bigger. We had about 35 people, most of whom were there for a family reunion. They’d come to see the headliner, Blame, a BET* comic and a bit hip-hoppy cool. I wasn’t sure how well a cocky British white girl would go down. But it was clear from early on that they were willing to be part of the show and once I started ad-libbing with them, it became easier, more fun and my set got better. Plus, to be honest, there’s few better feelings for me than being able to insult someone and make them laugh at the same time. At the end of the show, one of the guys from the reunion group came up to me outside and said ‘girl, you throwed’. Apparently this is a good thing (to me it sounds like slang for being sick) and I think other people should know this about me. But it doesn’t sound so convincing in a British accent and I’m sure that I’ll mess it up in the retelling: ‘so he said “girl, you chundered”.
By the way, the title for this piece came from when I told this story to fellow comic Matt Sadler and asked him if that made me all hip-hop. The title was his answer and that’s what makes Matt Sadler funny. And too clever by half.
*BET – Black Entertainment Television channel