8 Things Not to Do at a Comedy Show

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Katie Dutch — used with permission

comedy show is nothing without a great audience. You are a model patron of the arts, practically perfect in every way. But your friend is a jackass. Help keep them in check and everyone having a great time with this handy list of comedy show no-nos.

1. Don’t get wasted

Have a cocktail! It makes us much funnier. But maybe don’t have five. Most clubs and some bar shows have a two drink minimum, but hell, they could both be a Diet Coke or coffee. You don’t have to order two Long Island Ice Teas, my dude. The drunker you get, the sloppier, irritating, and more apt to heckle us you become.

2. Don’t heckle

Did you know anything you say to a comedian during their set is considered heckling? Even if it’s funny or a cute aside, it’s heckling. A comedy show may seem like a dialog between the comedian and the audience, but it’s not. It’s a monologue. It’s a one person show. You’re not adding to the performers set or anyone’s entertainment by interrupting. If you’re offended, leave. If you think you’re that funny there’s an open mic you can sign up for, get on stage, and tell your hilarious jokes. Another comedian’s set is not that time.

3. Don’t get offended

They’re jokes, people. Jokes. If you’re offended by something a comedian says on stage the best way you can convey that is to not laugh. Sit there in silence. During sitcom table reads in Hollywood the jokes that the cast don’t laugh at get cut from the script. Works the same way in comedy. Want to do something bigger? Leave. We notice which of our jokes walk the room. Don’t heckle the comedian because honestly, no one else cares if you’re offended. The show isn’t about you. #SorryNotSorry

4. Don’t be loud

Need to have a conversation with someone? Cool! Leave the room. Need to ask a quick question? Rad! Whisper it. Ordering food or drinks? Awesome! Point to what you want on the menu or, ya know, whisper. Servers are pros at deciphering your gestures. Don’t sit or stand anywhere in the room and talk in a normal tone of voice. There’s a comedian performing on stage. Same goes for the movies. Zip it.

5. Don’t ramble

If a comedian asks you a question, give a quick answer. They don’t need all the details. It’s not a job interview, it’s merely a way for them to transition to a new subject. Short and simple.

6. Don’t play with your phone

Know what’s super disrespectful? Burying your face in your phone while a comedian is on stage performing for you. Need to send a quick text? Do it. You don’t need to scroll Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or anything else. If you’re that bored, leave. Can’t leave? Go to the bathroom, the back bar, the patio. Go anywhere else. Sitting in a dark club or bar with your bright phone glowing in your face is a blatant middle finger to the comedian, and everyone else in the room. We all see you.

7. Don’t forget to silence your phone

On the off chance you know people who still use these hand held computers as telephones, you need to turn the volume off. Ringtones, text notifications, keyboard click sounds are all distracting. If you seriously don’t have your keyboard click sounds turned off you’re a monster.

8. Don’t leave after your friend’s set

The comedian you’re there to see is on a show with five other comics and they’re up first. Sweet! Now stick around for the other four comics. Your friend is on a show with five other comics and they’re up third. Woot! Don’t ask them if they know exactly what time they’re going on so you don’t have to watch anyone else. If the show starts at 8pm and ends at 9:30pm, then you’re there from 8–9:30. Or really, 7:45–9:45. Accept it. Enjoy it! You’re there to be an audience for all the comedians. We need you. Stay for the whole show.

There you have it! A foolproof plan to have an uproarious time at the next comedy show you attend. Support your local comedy scene! You’ll be able to say you saw the star comedian before their Netflix special.

Niki Marinis is a comedian and glamorous idiot. Enjoy her glittering spiral on Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for her newsletter here.

Weird Girl, thrift store owl collector, heartbreaker, lush, aspiring adult. IG: DocJohnnyFever nikimarinis@gmail.com

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