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The hardest moments on stage

by on Apr.30, 2006, under Uncategorized

Last night at The Laugh Resort was fantastic. We had two packed shows filled with enthusiastic fans. Fraser Young headlined and was his usual hilarious self. I did my regular audience bantering to open the shows. I had one of those moments where I was able to salvage what might have been a disaster. I’m referring to a moment in conversation where something incredibly uncomfortable happens – something that threatens to suck all the fun out of the room. Those are the moments that truly test ad-libbing ability. I had one a few months ago. I did my usual “Who’s from out of town?” shtick. A woman raised her hand and when I asked what brought her to Toronto, she said she was here for an operation. A pall fell over the room as the discomfort washed over everyone. Suddenly, from comedy to sadness in an instant. Fortunately, I saved it by quipping, “Don’t be ridiculous; they’re big enough.” A huge laugh from everyone, including her and I was able to move on without any awkwardness. Last night’s was similar. Asking a woman what she does for a living, she told me she works with terminally ill children. A pause while the crowd went silent in discomfort. I told her I thought it sounded like hard work. Some audience members applauded her. I turned it around by pretending to get angry at them for clapping about children dying. I then apologized to the woman for their insensitivity. Again, everybody laughed, including her. Phew. Those are the moments when thinking quickly can truly save the show. It’s not the ability to think of something witty for a positive situation that mark a professional but the ability to wring laughter from a potential disaster that make us most valuable.


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