FAQs: 8 Things You Should Never Say To Any Comedian, Ever

By DA Staff 24 November 2018


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1. “Tell me a joke!”

You’d think people would know better by now; this is literally the one thing every comedian has gone blue in the face complaining about. But no. You meet someone at a party. You recognise them immediately or, if not, you ask what they do. They tell you they’re a standup comic. And the words just fly out of your potty mouth: “Ey, tell us a joke, na.” WTF? Do people ask you to do a bit of whatever work you do when you’re out and about for a drink/doing ill-advised shots? And if they did, wouldn’t you think it a bizarre/annoying AF ask?

What’s worse: Do THAT one.
Ok, now you’re really pushing it. This is a person, not a 3D model of your favourite on-demand OTT platform. By asking them to do a specific joke of theirs that you like, you’re asking her/him to actually work. Get your shit together.

Even worse: OMG, are you doing a bit right now?
Argh. No. They’re just talking to you.

2. “Are you friends with Kanan Gill?”

Yes, your struggling open-micer friend/acquaintance might be friends with your favourite comedian. Or at least on a WhatsApp group with them. And yes, they’re already working out how to avoid the hell out of your next question.

What’s worse: What’s he like in real life?
Come on, dude. Imagine being on the other side of this question.

Even worse: Can you give me his number?
What? Fuck, no. What? What exactly are you going to do with his number? We don’t even want to know. You should know, however, that this isn’t appropriate. And nobody is going to/should be handing out phone numbers like that.

3. “You should use this in your material…”

A favourite with parents, their friends, and uncle-aunties in general. But also surprisingly common with extended friend circles as well. DON’T offer alternative punchlines. No comedian is actively crowdsourcing material from anyone in a social setting. If your jokes are so good, YOU get up on stage and share them. Or spam your family’s WhatsApp group.

What’s worse: Don’t use this, haan, it’s my joke
IS THIS SRSLY HOW YOU THINK COMEDIANS GET THEIR MATERIAL? By stealing your party stories? Relax, buddy. Nobody’s wants to work your hideous knock knock joke into their set. In all likelihood, you’re the only one who thinks it’s funny in the first place.

4. “Hey, do you remember me? I was sitting in the second row of your show…”

LOL, whut? Unless you were being exceptionally drastic—i.e. you streaked across the room, got into a fist fight with someone and disrupted the show…you get the idea (we’re going to stop giving you more)—the comic does not remember you because even though they made you feel like s/he and you were buds at the show with some audience interaction, it’s all part of the act. Don’t make them awkward now.

What’s worse: “…it was two years ago”
Sure. You’re such a unique snowflake that this comedian hasn’t stopped thinking about you since they got off stage that night and did 600 shows in between. Sure. Sure they remember you. Sleep easy.

5. “Is this your full time job?”

1 nos. roundhouse kick coming right up.

What’s worse: “Still doing standup?”
Brace yourself for roundhouse kick #2.

Even worse: What next, Bollywood?
Contrary to whatever fantasy you have in your head for your own life, not everything is a stepping stone to Bollywood. And if you’re a journalist still asking this question as part of an interview in 2019, get a grip.

6. “What’s it like to be a female comedian?”

If you don’t get punched in the throat immediately after this comes out of your mouth, rest assured it’s happened in her imagination. It’s still a largely male-dominated industry, sure, but you don’t walk around clarifying female lawyers, female doctors, female engineers, do you? Then why do comedians get a qualifier they didn’t ask for/want?

What’s worse: I’m not sexist, but I just think objectively men are funnier than women.
I’m not sexist, but I just think objectively that you can go fuck yourself.

7. “So are you also depressed?”

Comedians have this wild reputation for all sorts of psychological troubles. Clinical depression and anxiety at its worst, insecurity at the very least. Mostly because a lot of those that do suffer from any of it, have found ways to talk about it, leveraging their stage to spread awareness about the importance of mental health through their own experiences. But like the old Chinese proverb goes, #NotAllComedians. Also have you considered that they don’t necessarily want to talk about it to you at a social gathering?

What’s worse: Fragile ego toh hoga, bro.
So you’re convinced that a well-adjusted comic is like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy; you used to believe it, now you just don’t. And you’re not going to let it go till someone tells you that something’s not right with them, whether or not that’s actually the case. Great. Do you still have any friends?

8. “Can you perform at my event for free?”

They already do perform for free. On the internet. If you can’t get a working budget in place, screen one of their videos on a projector or something. This is what they do for a living, don’t ask them to do it for free. It’s rude. It’s irritating. It’s uncool.

What’s worse: You’ll get lots of exposure
That’s what YouTube said. First. Kbye.