I almost walked out.
I told the guy next to me, I am NOT following this guy.
I was just going to quietly walk out the door. That would have been easier.
But before I could do anything I was pushed up on stage.
When he goes on stage he instantly can see through everyone. He sees everything that’s going on in the crowd. And he makes sure to point out every unusual, weird and uncomfortable situation there is.
It’s like he has X-ray vision on the audience.
And behind every unusual thing, there’s a punchline. I can’t tell if his crowdwork is made up on the spot or if it’s prepared for that specific type of person.
I think it’s a little of both.
So I wanted to know what happens when Aaron gets up on stage. What’s going through his mind?
“A while ago I decided I’m just gonna be present and in the moment and just discover those moments on stage,” Aaron said.
Aaron’s comedic process is the exact opposite of your typical comedian. He’s all-natural.
“I used to write something scripted. I would memorize it and then work it on stage, but I’ve found a loophole where I do the exact opposite. I’m not going to write, I’m not going to rehearse, I’m not going to memorize. Instead I’m gonna go with nothing and see what happens.”
Not caring is KEY to his artform. And sometimes it’s over the edge. He’s pushing the boundaries of uncomfortableness in front of every audience.
“I’m just being honest,” he said.
So I tried out Aaron’s style last week.
And I didn’t bomb.
I went up on stage with nothing prepared.
No jokes. No premises. Nothing.
“Where do you work?”
One guy says, “Finance.”
“That doesn’t mean anything,” I said. I moved on. I needed to find my target. The joke knows. So I kept shopping.
“What about you?”
This young kid, with a girl. He says, “NBC.” The girl, too, “NBC.”
“What did HR say when you told them you’re dating?”
The girl was adamant. She leaned forward. Hands up. “We’re NOT dating.”
I got it. The joke ran through me.
“Listen, you may not know it yet,” I said. “But… he’s dating you.”
The crowd laughed. My friends laughed. I continued.
I learned a new skill. And I applied it to the stage.
But more than that, I was taking my own advice. I was going for what I wanted. I was choosing myself.
Aaron said, “The uncomfortableness turns into the cacophony of wondrous, jazzy noise that comes from the audience because stand up is really a conversation. It’s a dialogue. And it turns into this brilliant gumbo of all these emotions coming from the audience.”
That’s what I want. More gumbo.
Links and Resources:
- “American Etiquette: Failing Upwardly in a Fox News Nation” by Aaron Berg
- “Mr. Manners: Proper Etiquette for the Modern Degenerate” by Aaron Berg
- Aaron Berg’s Albums: “Comedy Coltrane” & “Unscripted”, both available on iTunes or Amazon
- Aaron’s Radio Show “In Hot Water” , LIVE Tuesdays at 2pm
- Stand Up NY
- Gotham Comedy Club
- LOL Comedy Club
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