What does a horse say when he wants his food back? “Gimme Feedback!” BAAHAHAHA!
Feedback, good or bad, is what makes us grow and become better people in every facet of life. Stand up comedy is no exception.
Sometimes you get a lot of feedback, sometimes hardly any. Sometimes from your amateur peers, sometimes from a pro. Sometimes you love hearing it, sometimes you DO NOT. But you gots to suck it up and remember that it’s for your own good. I love getting feedback, tips, suggestions, etc. on any of my material and you should too! Here’s why:
1. Get a New Angle
You can record and listen to your sets over and over again, but you are still only getting your own opinion of that material. Someone else’s response represents a greater thought pool and brings more to the table for you to work from. Also, outside eyes and ears see and hear things that you or people who know you well wouldn’t. Maybe a couple of your jokes are a little to inside-jokey for the average audience to understand. You don’t have to agree with everything that everyone says, but maybe you’ll get a new punch-line, explore coming from another angle, flesh out an idea, or write a catchy tagline based on something someone says to you.
2. “If you can’t take the heat, take Science 14”
This is what our teacher used to say when we thought Science 10 was too hard. And he was right! Although he was talking about Science, it can be said for comedy too. If you can’t accept feedback as a learning opportunity as an amateur, how are you going to take it when you’re a professional? People will always judge what you do as a comedian, since comedy is subjective, so get used to hearing what other people have to say. It doesn’t always have to be taken negatively and you don’t always have to like it. Graciously accept criticism, take it, and grow from it. People generally tell you things because they want to help you improve, not lower your self-esteem and make you feel insecure.
3. Free Advice!
People pay many cash dollars to take classes with professional comedians to learn how to write jokes good. But if you have a pro or two in your audience one night, ask them for some feedback on your set. Professional comedians give some of the best advice because they know what to say and how to say it. They know what to look for when it comes to vocal cadence, timing, physicality, and expanding on an idea, and it may be stuff that you would never have been able to think of or see yourself.
4. Joke Evolution (Jokevolution)
Whether feedback is good or bad, it will help your jokes evolve. All criticism should be taken as an opportunity to re-evaluate and create the best work you can. Don’t be afraid to get rid of material that just isn’t working and instead focus on building some quality material. The more open you are, the more opportunity you are giving yourself to do your very best every single time you hit the stage.