“Awkward Moments” is a monthly column that asks comedians, “What do you do when…” In this installment we talk about how performance is affected by who’s in the crowd.
Do you tell your parents the same stories you tell your friends? Would you describe to your boss the intimate but hilarious details of your last sexual encounter? How would you feel if someone you admired watched you bomb on stage?
We all tailor our social interactions to the particular people we’re talking to, but performers usually can’t control who comes out to see them do their thing. Comedy often includes, and sometimes depends on, material that is personal, embarrassing, or way dirtier than anything you’d find yourself discussing around the family dinner table. So when that family shows up to support the comedian in their lives, how does it affect the person on stage?