I attended a show with some friends.
The audience was a mixture of adults and children. More adults, but there were at least 30 kids mixed in.
A family crowd to be sure.
The first act (who usually works comedy clubs) came onstage and opened with a monologue about sex.
He used no foul language, but the implied references were pretty graphic.
I watched people recoil.
Some of the parents stood up with their kids and left.
Others laughed, while looking at their neighbors. Even though they didn’t have kids, they were thinking about the children around them.
It was an uncomfortable laugh. But since the lines generated that laugh, the performer continued.
Then came the second act. That act had heard the first act from backstage. He figured if the first act could use sexual themes to get laughs, he could too. Plus he added in some colorful language.
The show dived downward.
Afterward, people congratulated the performers. But I overheard comments to the contrary from many in the crowd.
I had performed for this same event a year earlier. When booked, the client told me it was to be a family show.
Family Show: no foul language or inappropriate comments.
I followed that rule and received a great response.
The same client booked these acts, and I’m sure she was just as adament with these acts as she was with me.
So why did these acts resort to inappropriate lines?
It could be a multitude of reasons, but I will share some that popped into my mind.
1. The acts were not “full time” professionals. They wanted to present their act, their way, it was their chance to be a star.
2. The acts may have had no clue how to be funny “clean.”
It happens. When you listen to suggestive comedy, your brain starts thinking that way.
If you listen to country music, a rock tune may not appeal to you. It is the same with comedy, clean comedy may not appeal to you if all you put in is suggestive.
It can be hard to be “clean” funny if that isn’t your forte’.
3. The acts didn’t realize their material wasn’t clean. While this is hard to believe, I think Jeff Dunham hit the nail on the head when he said:
“When people ask if my show is family friendly, I say, it depends on your family.”
Your client will know their audience when booking you.
Determine if you are the right act for that crowd.
If not, don’t take the show.
Even if you need the money.
That paycheck will mean little if it tarnishes your image and creates a bad impression with audience and client.
It is more important that the client looks good and has a show that will please their audience.
That is a success for live entertainment.
Which leads to more demand, which will lead to shows that ARE right for you.