Brock About Town: Comedy etiquette

Illustration by Lev Cantoral

Welcome to the comedy issue of Little Village! This is my favorite issue we’ve put out because, well, I love comedy (thank God for that, because I’m in a little deep to back out now) and I’m excited to share it with all of you. I’m hoping this issue will inspire you to come out to shows, open mics and other comedy events as audience members or even as comedians. On that note, I’d like to offer some helpful tips for success when navigating the scene.

Be respectful. Nothing derails a comedy show like someone drunkenly wolf-whistling from the back of the room. While most of you probably have the sense not to heckle, there are some finer points of comedy etiquette you might not be aware of. For example, try to avoid triggering phrases, like “You’re a comedian, huh? Tell me a joke,” which we hear from every Tinder date we meet, or the old, “So, what’s your real job?” which is very popular among uncles at Thanksgiving.

Introduce yourself. Comedy is a great place to make friends, so don’t be shy! If you’re into comic books, craft beer or making fun of more successful comedians with Netflix specials, you’ll be sure to fit in.

Step outside of your comfort zone. Go to a few shows and see if it doesn’t encourage you to try some comedy yourself! We try to cultivate a relaxed, supportive environment, so don’t be nervous. No matter how poorly you do, there’s no way you’re going to be as bad as that guy who only told jokes about his ex-wives, or the guy who wore a RompHim to every show, or that girl who ripped off Amy Schumer, or — Sorry, what was I saying? Oh, yeah — this is a judgment-free zone, so let this issue inspire you to get involved with comedy!

Don’t forget to plug your or your friends’ shows. Speaking of which: On Oct. 6, I and some of the other scrappy, lovable goofballs you’re about to meet in this issue will be doing a Roast of Iowa City. We’ve got complaints, and we’re going to air them. If you, too, are dissatisfied with this town in which you voluntarily live, come and gripe along with us.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 271.

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