Last night, I did a “crowd work show.” I accept these invitations every time they’re offered, because I rely heavily on writing, practice and performance, so crowd work is my weak spot.
Here are some epiphanies that come from last night’s attempt:
• it’s not about you (the comic). It’s about them. Well, it’s really not about them, either. It’s about the interplay between you and them.
• some degree of sincerity is required. You have to be yourself, at least a little, to have meaningful interactions.
• don’t fall in love with a bit. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Sometimes a track will be really going somewhere, and you’re having a ball with it. Then the room will take it somewhere else, and you either go with them, or stay with your beloved bit while it dies on the vine.
• they’re not passengers on your train; you’re all riding a wild horse together.
I don’t think spontaneous crowd work is better than material. And I don’t think material is better than crowd work. I think they’re both tools that belong in a comic’s kit, and I’ve neglected this one for too long.