Comedy is brutal. If the audience doesn’t know you, they WILL judge you. That’s true for most things (you can’t walk down the sidewalk in New York City without being judged at least a hundred times).
Bonnie said you have to know your audience. I wondered “how though?” I gave an example, “Okay so do you try to figure out how old the audience is, what gender they are, sexual orientation, race, how much they drank or didn’t drink, etc.?”
“No, I usually just think, ‘Okay, blue collar, I’ll do my marriage stuff.”
It was that easy. That’s professionalism. That’s professional judgement. That’s comedy. And the path to likability.
Bonnie has a joke about using the GPS.
“In Brooklyn I’m not going to do driving material. I have a really funny GPS joke that I can’t do in the city because nobody drives. “I’m so immature about it,” she said. She makes fun of the audience… They didn’t ALWAYS live in the city. “Sometimes it irritates me. I’m like I know you understand what GPS is, if you saw this in a movie you’d get it, so don’t just sit there like ‘oh not my experience’.”
I learned you can lose likability as quickly as you gain it, though. And that scared me. But Bonnie doesn’t care. “I like when the audience is scared for you. If they don’t laugh at something I think is funny, I lash out. Sometimes we start in a love fest, then I insult them and them maybe we still end in a love fest.”
Her process is her art. She has hundred of jokes. “The premises just come,” she said. She takes from life. The premises are there all the time,” she said. “I just write whatever happens to be in front of me.” Right now she’s working on a joke: “what if your therapist was a Syrian refugee?”
I think I did more laughing than questioning in this interview. I hope you do too.