Comic’s Corner: What To Do While You Bomb

 Photo by  Edu Lauton

Photo by Edu Lauton


I just got home after watching two comedy shows.

4.5 hours of mostly terrible comedy. And I don’t use the word terrible lightly. [Only heavily.]

Most of the time, I’m a “there’s a comedy type for everybody” kind of guy—I’m annoyingly optimistic—but I watched comic after comic perform a joke, die inside and out, and then immediately blame the audience for not laughing. 

“That killed at the earlier show!”

If the audience doesn’t laugh, the strong comic doesn’t blame them. He uses them to get stronger.
— Anthony LeDonne [yep, quoting myself]

“You guys don’t know good comedy!”

“Tough crowd.” [yes, people are still saying that…]

“Everyone can unclench their assholes now, okay?”

Being told they’re stupid for not being able to identify a joke is the number one reason people come to comedy shows! 😐

Every comic bombs [except me]. And that’s okay!

But a strong comic understands that there will be good and bad rooms. Good and bad audiences. Good and bad jokes. But they run their set and refine based on audience response. If the audience doesn’t laugh, the strong comic doesn’t blame them. 

He uses them to get stronger.

So, wise Anthony. How do I remedy the situation? What should I do when I bomb?

First, I’m grateful you acknowledged my wisdom. Hardly anyone does. [“They don’t know good wisdom!”]

Second, embrace the situation. Call it out. Acknowledge you’re bombing. The audience already knows it! And the sooner you let them know that you know you’re bombing, the sooner you can get back on their side.

Or not! Your job is to make them laugh. And maybe you’re just having a bad day at the office. That’s fine. Finish your set, go home, and work on strengthening your act.

How do I let them know I’m bombing?

Just say it! 

A while ago I heard one comic use the line “You’re not seeing a comedian bomb, folks. You’re seeing a spoken word performer kill.” 

The crowd laughed.

And just like that they were back on his side.

Telling them over and over that they suck ostracizes them. It makes them feel like it’s their fault.

 Photo by  Cristian Grecu

Photo by Cristian Grecu

And it’s not. 

It’s ours.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!