”Could you give me some feedback on my set?”

”Sorry, wasn’t paying attention.”

I like when comics ask me for feedback. Part of it is an ego kick, part of it is that
I really like talking comedy, but mostly it’s because I like to see comics
trying to develop. Asking for feedback
is very important, but is all too rare.

Unfortunately, most of the time I’m asked for feedback, it’s
after the comic was on. If I haven’t
been on stage myself yet, I’m thinking about my set and not paying close attention to the comics before
me. If I’ve already been on, I’m usually
too busy licking my wounds or patting myself on the back to pay attention. And if it’s at my club, I’m focused on a
dozen things other than paying close attention to every set.

Long story short, chances are slim I ever pay close
attention to anyone. Ask me before you
go on.

I have mixed feelings about giving feedback, though. On the one hand, I’ve been in love with
standup since long before many Stockholm comics were born, I’ve been around, I
have informed opinions. On the other
hand, who am I? A rookie with seven years’
experience, hardly a mentor. It also sucks
to give people advice that they don’t take.

One thing I learned, early on, was to never give unsolicited
feedback. It never goes well, especially
if you’re a man giving advice to a woman.
So many men have given unsolicited feedback to women it’s become a
cliché. I’d like to think it’s a
symptom of wanting to encourage female comics but I think the real reason is
carnal in nature.

I also believe that however one wants to spend
their time on stage is up to them. It’s
not for me to tell someone what to do, what to improve, what to cut. At Power Comedy Club we have a stable of
regulars- God bless them- and I’m happy we give them a place to do whatever
they want. Still, I get the urge now and
then to say to someone, ”Hey, you know that joke you’ve tried the past ten
weeks with the same reaction, that is to say, none? Are you married to it?”

I don’t ask for feedback nearly often enough. Fortunately, I have close friends who know to
criticize me right before I go on stage so my confidence is shaken, or to criticize me right after I finish what I thought was a good set. It’s important to surround yourself with
friends that keep you humble.