I think stand-up comedians have it made. Think about it. The majority of people in the audience are there because they have heard their material before and obviously liked it (why would you go see a comedian who you didn’t think was funny?). Not only have they heard and liked what the comedian said on his CD or at another show, but they want him to say the exact same thing again because they think it’s funny. So because they have heard it all before and liked it and it made them laugh, he knows that if he says the same thing they already heard and liked and laughed at before they will laugh at it again.
The really funny thing about all this is that even though some of the people in the audience have heard the material before, can quote it word-for-word, and can even use the same voice and inflection, they will still pay money to come and see the comedian say what they themselves could say in the exact same way they themselves could say it.
When you think about it, the concept really is a bit strange. A bunch of people come together to sit in chairs and watch one person stand up on a stage, recite the same words in the same way that they have previously heard, and wait for the proper time to laugh at what they already know he is going to say before he ever says it.
Is it really funny every time or was it just funny the first time and then people laugh because they remember how funny it was the first time they heard it? I know that if I hear the same material over and over and still find it funny, I seem to laugh just a little less each time until eventually it becomes more of a matter-of-fact “ha, that’s funny” response. I’m never really sure what the proper response is when listening to the same material for the 20th or 30th time, even if I still think it’s hilarious. I don’t want to force a laugh and seem fake, but I also want to seem semi-enthusiastic so that the people I am listening to it with know that I find it humorous. That’s assuming that I am listening to it with others.
I am never quite sure how to respond when listening to something funny while alone, especially if it’s while I’m driving. I will sometimes be listening to something funny in the car and catch myself cracking up – then I start to wonder if anyone else has happened to look over and see me and wondered if I had totally lost it. Then I usually realize that I don’t care if they had because I like to laugh and maybe when they looked over and saw me laughing it made them laugh too. After all, laughing is like yawning…when you see someone else doing it you can only hold out for so long before it overtakes you. (Admit it, you either yawned or laughed just now after reading that sentence.)
Laugh loud. Laugh often. Laugh together.