Do you always judge your performance by the engagement level of the audience?
Yeah, exactly. I’ll look at the other acts on, or sometimes even just the atmosphere in the room, and I know what I can expect to get from that.
I’ve had shows where the audience have liked it, but I’m like “no, you should’ve laughed more, I fucked this up” but I’ve learned not to be like “oh, that was a bullshit show” because people are being nice, don’t be a jerk, just take the compliment. It’s horrible to sit there and take compliments for half an hour that you don’t want or deserve.
Do you watch other acts and adapt your set if you need to?
I don’t really adapt my set which is kind of a weakness and in some ways a strength. You’re gonna get me and I just need to learn how to sell you on that idea as opposed to dancing around what the audience wants. But it’s definitely a weakness to be like “I can see they’re reacting to this kind of joke but I’m not gonna do that!”
My main thing with audiences is I’m good at matching their energy. I know whether I need to go in a little bit slower and play up being shlubby and shy or whether I just need to go in “bang” and be the confident guy.
Have you ever been heckled?
Do people heckle differently in different countries?
As I said, funny’s international and so is heckling. Some people, quite commonly British, think that [heckling] is part of it. So, they can be quite exhausting. Sometimes they just want to shout out once so you can insult them and then that’s the end of it.
People like Jimmy Carr have made heckling a popular thing like “this is part of it” – no it’s not you fucking asshole, shut up. I’ve had so many arguments with drunk British people where they say “this is just what it is”. No. I’m at a comedy show five nights a week, don’t tell me what this is!
Some people just don’t understand that it’s a disruptive thing to do. I’ve never really encountered one group that heckle differently to others.
Apart from the British…