However, the one variable that a comedian doesn’t usually have much control over is the collective audience that will be in attendance at any stand-up comedy performance.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some factors that can be known about audiences in general, despite the fact that every audience can be a bit different and that most of what a professional comedian will learn about audiences comes from experience.
With that said, here are a couple of important audience factors that can have an impact on any comedian show:
Seating. Audiences that are seated more closely together will generate much more laughter than those who are seated farther apart.
The reason is simple – laughter becomes more contagious relative to the closer proximity of those who are laughing.
Let me put this another way:
It is far easier to generate big laughs with an audience that is seated more closely together than it is with an audience that is seated sparsely across a room.
From this perspective, I would be so bold as to say that seating is a more important factor than audience size when it comes to laughter generation as opposed to audience size alone.
Audience size. Yes, audience size can have a great impact on the laughter a comedian can generate during a performance.
However, that is relative to the impact of the comedian’s stand-up comedy performance ability AND audience seating.
Here are a couple of points I want to make:
- A bigger audience won’t make a comedian’s material “more funny”.
- A bigger audience that is not seated close together won’t generate the same laughter response as an audience one that is seated more closely together, no matter how funny a comedian’s material may be.
- As a general rule, comedians who are able to generate substantial laughter with smaller audiences tend to generate a far greater laughter response with bigger audiences.
Like I said in the beginning, most of a comedian’s knowledge about audiences (overall) will come with experience.
But what I have presented in this article are some of the basics about comedian shows and audience factors that every comedian should be aware of.