Comedian Applies Lessons From Gilson Lubin and Quinn C. Martin

Update! Jump to Video

It’s been a long time since I last posted…and there’s a reason for that. All will be revealed…TV *cough* Show *cough*…

How To Handle A Tough Crowd?

photo Stage at stone cottage - Jagdeocomedy on twitter

Let me put it to you this way: the comedy show that I ended up headlining was at a bar where the audience members were more interested in the the second game on Hockey Night In Canada than in comedy.

How could I possibly have a great set? I wasn’t completely sure until 10 seconds before I went on

Giving Up

 Things to remember before going on stage - jagdeocomedy on twitter

That’s the picture I set as my iPhone background before I left home that night.

Before the show started, I accepted the fact that – NO MATTER WHAT – I was going to enjoy myself and execute my set the way I wanted to. I was willing to give up anything that hindered my desire (Dr. Robert Anthony).

Engaging An Audience – Gilson Lubin

how to get an audience invested
One night after I bombed, Gilson Lubin pulled me aside and said:

You have to give the audience a reason to listen.

Before the show started, I was nervous because I realized that it was noisy and that I would have to do something to engage the crowd.

Since the place was called Stone Cottage, and because the place was packed with the Caucazoids tribe, I knew I wanted to start with my White People Love Cottages bit.

But I knew that I needed more. I needed something that would grab their attention…

How I Engaged the Audience Using Judo

Central to the philosophy behind Judo is Ju Yoku Go Wo Seisu:

In short, resisting a more powerful opponent will result in your defeat, whilst adjusting to and evading your opponent’s attack will cause him to lose his balance, his power will be reduced, and you will defeat him. This can apply whatever the relative values of power, thus making it possible for weaker opponents to beat significantly stronger ones.

In other words, softness subdues hardness, flexibility overcomes rigidity.

There I am, in the middle of the room, people talking loudly all around me. Off to the side, an SLR camera is recording the entire show.

So with the mic in my hand, music descrescendoing, I walk right up to the camera, ignoring the 100+ people in the room, and sarcastically explain:

It worked. I got a candid audience of 10-15 people that listened to the rest of the set, and that was good enough for me.

Giving Them Permission to Laugh – Quinn C. Martin

Quinn C. Martin, Toronto Stand-up Comedian
Quinn C. Martin schooled me one day when I was complaining that a funny joke of mine wasn’t hitting:

It’s just as important to understand why people DON’T laugh as it is to understand why they do. Sometimes you have to let them know it’s ok to laugh at something edgy.

I have a joke that talks about overweight white women loving black guys:

Attractive white women can get any white guy they want, any Chinese guy they want…heck, with 40 extra pounds they an get any black guy they want.

Now, I think that’s both funny and true, at least where I’m from. However, I wasn’t getting laughs from it.

So, following Quinn’s advice, I added two tags after it to let them know it was ok to laugh:

Cut the shit. I know you guys know what I’m talking about. Am I the only guy that sees overweight white women surrounding a black guy in a bar like a reverse Oreo Cookie? (laughs) It’s like their dicks have their own gravitational field, and when these fat white women get too close – whoops! – caught in the gravity like a moon around Jupiter.

That got laughs. Why? Because I let them know through the additional content (tags) that it was OK to laugh.

Moving Forward

The great thing about Saturday night was that, for the first time, I was. That’s not a typo.

What I mean by that is that I was in the moment. I was present. I recognized that there was life in every breath.

Buddhism, homies…Buddhism.

Michael Jagdeo


About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for
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One Response to Comedian Applies Lessons From Gilson Lubin and Quinn C. Martin

  1. Pingback: Welcome | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

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