Jan McInnis – The Work Lady®


Laughing at things that are uneven

–By Jan McInnis, Comedian and Keynote Speaker

Ask any comedian and they’ll tell you that they are baffled when a joke hits big with one group, and then totally bombs with another. It’s the same joke! And these erratic results aren’t just a phenomenon with comedians: many professions can have uneven results with the same efforts. Baseball players will hit a home run one day, and they’ll strike out the next day against the same pitcher. Football teams win and lose games when matched up with the same team again and again.

Life is inconsistent.

Sure, there are many factors that go into inconsistent results. Comedians are affected by many things: the type of group, the room setup, the amount of alcohol the audience has consumed, and even the act before their set. (I’ve had poetry readings, dancing girls, and fire alarm evacuations precede my show, just to name a few examples.) But even if everything is the same, we can still get different results.

I was driving home from a gig many years ago, and was pretty upset about my show. It was a room that I’d performed in many times, and I always, until that night, had done well. I thought to myself, “When is this ‘bombing’ thing going to stop?” And then the little voice in my head said, “When you get out of comedy.” In other words, I needed to learn how to handle things when they don’t go as planned, because there will always be times when they don’t go as planned.

To help me stay grounded in this inconsistent world, I’ve tried to be consistent with the things I can control. For example, I decided early on that I would be consistent with my act and make sure it was funny without using vulgar or dirty material. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against funny, dirty jokes, but I just don’t think jokes that use profanity for the sake of profanity are a good idea. Personally though, I wanted to have an act that I was proud of, and in which my friends and family would not feel embarrassed about seeing me.

Click Here for Inconsistency – Laughing at things that are uneven – Part 2