You will have a hard time finding a bigger snob about comedy
than me. As much as I love standup, as
much as I say that standup is a huge umbrella encompassing many styles, as open
as I’d like to be to everything, I’ve still got firm opinions about what is and
what isn’t funny. I’m outspoken about it
as well, to the detriment of my career.

For example, telling a comic, ”I think you’re very talented
but your humor just isn’t for me,” when that comic could’ve got me a guest spot
at Stockholm’s most known club, probably wasn’t a great idea.

Still, even if I knew a way to keep my opinions to myself, I
wouldn’t want to. I’d like to be as open
offstage as I am onstage, but maybe I should pick my battles better.

Everyone has their own tastes and I’m certainly not unique
in that regard, but there times I react so violently to something I literally
groan out loud.

”I’d like to try some new stuff tonight, is that okay?” Fun Fact: no crowd in history has ever said, ”No,
it’s not okay! Do old stuff, even though
we haven’t heard that either and have no idea who you are!” That’s just a lazy way of telling a crowd, ”I
don’t know if any of this is going to work so please give me a break if it
sucks.” If you have to say that, then
just say that.

”This word in Swedish means one thing but in English it means something soooooo different!” This one kills me, even inspired my first blog entry. Swedish words like kock and fart are dirty words in English. That’s the punchline. Not only does that make my skin crawl, watching Swedish crowds double-over in laughter adds insult to injury. SEE ALSO: Being not Swedish and saying any Swedish word as a punchline.

”What do you do? …Oh,
I don’t have a joke for that.” Good
Lord, I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a comic say that during
crowd work. If having a joke ready for
any possible job is that important to you, then write 100000000 possible responses. Or do what I do- don’t ask that question.

(I should mention here that I avoid crowd work like the
Plague, despite it being my 2018 New Year’s resolution. I want to get better at it, but the standard,
”What’s your name, what do you do?” is not inspiring. Also, nine times out of ten in Stockholm, the
answer is ”Student” or ”IT”.)

”How many of you are audience and how many of you are
comics?” This one comes up at Power on a
regular basis and drives me nuts. I get
it, though. There are times we have ten
civilians and twenty comics in the room, and that breakdown isn’t ideal when
you’re performing. I just don’t see the
point of the question, other than broadcasting to the civilians, ”Hey, I suspect
that you’re vastly outnumbered by comics and that sucks. Maybe you didn’t know how much it sucks but I
hope you get it now.”

Generally, any comment regarding the small size of a crowd
is shitty, no matter where you are. ”I
know you’re here to have fun but I don’t think this is fun so let me ruin your
good time as well.”

“Damn, that spotlight is so bright! I’ll stand over here instead.” Yes, in the dark. Being visible is somewhat important in standup.

”OMG you guys, I hate using public bathrooms and you won’t
believe what happened to me in one!” So
do we and yes, we will. Speaking of
relatable humor….

”Round of applause, how many of you use Facebook?” Here’s a better one: ”Round of applause, how
many of you breathe oxygen?”

Taking a sip of water after a punchline to provoke an
applause break. That’s not water in your
glass, that’s desperation. SEE ALSO: ”I
think that joke was worth a round of applause, amirite?”

”Hmmm, that joke usually gets a better reaction.” Either that, or you were better somewhere
else. Be funnier, jeez. SEE ALSO: ”Hmm, that joke was funnier in my

”Here’s five minutes about my penis.” No one’s penis is worth five minutes. And yes, I am a hypocrite.

”I did this thing and you thought I was doing it in private
but now I tell you I did it in public and that’s the punchline!” I’ve had a harder time hearing a train pull
into a station than hearing those punchlines coming.

”Boy, that last comic sure sucked, huh?” There’s nothing worse than bashing another
comic on stage. Could we at least
pretend there’s honor amongst thieves?
We all suck from time to time, so ask not for whom the bell tolls. Save the bashing for when you’re securely
behind that comic’s back.