Everyone’s a critic (including the comic)

Every comedian at one point or another will deal with criticism whether it’s from other comedians, audience members, or even armchair psychiatrists trying to analyze them, diagnose, and “fix” them. What a lot of people don’t really understand is that comedians are also critics. John Cleese once said that the very nature of humor is critical. If we’re making you laugh, odds are we’re doing it by criticizing, commenting on, or poking fun at something. We may even be doing it by criticizing ourselves.

I’ve seen loads of comics comment on screwing up their own jokes during a set. That’s what we refer to as a moment call. I open nearly every set criticizing the fact that I’m short and I look like I’m twelve, but I’m not sure if I can call that a moment call since it’s a permanent condition with me. Nevertheless it’s the most obvious thing about me and I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t call attention to it. Besides, if I don’t someone else probably will and there’s 50/50 odds that the person will be a heckler. If I call it out from the beginning, I’ve successfully stolen my thunder and now they have less ammunition to derail my set.

Whether your laughing at a pithy observation of everyday life, some relevant social commentary, or yet another one of my short jokes you’re laughing at criticism and that’s completely okay. After all, it is funny.

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