Here's some feedback: Keep your opinions to yourself!
I’m fed up and not taking it anymore! Next time someone asks ‘Can I give you some feedback?’
I’ll respond ‘You could … but I’d rather eat nails’.
It will be less painful than listening to a smug idiot tell me things I already know, without offering any solution.
‘Your ending is weak … maybe work on your ending?’
Oh! Really? I was going to work on my macramé.
‘Try changing your punchlines to something punchier.’
The word ‘feedback’ is defined as ‘information used as a basis for improvement’.
Improvement? If anyone really wants to help … find me a paid gig. Failing that please shut up, because the only feedback I need is my grandmother’s who says I’m the funniest person eveerrr … (and she doesn’t even speak English).
Besides, stand-up comedy provides more harsh feedback than a man-o-pausal Simon Cowell on X-Factor.
I’ll start with Audience Contribution feedback (AC for short), which comes in two basic forms:
POSITIVE: people laugh, clap and can’t get enough, they think I’m funny
NEGATIVE: people frown and look at me as if I’m explaining triple integrals. I’m not. Triple integrals are not funny. Except when you try to solve them and then I laugh hysterically… but that’s another story.
Then there is Drop-Bucket Collection feedback (also known as DC). AC & DC follow each other and are directly proportional. DC can be anything from £0 up to a whopping £16 when a massive crowd of 21 have been very generous.
Sandwich feedback is made up of three steps: commend, recommend, commend. This is usually provided by people who hold a management position and have taken a course on how best to give annual appraisals without getting a black eye.
Shit Sandwich feedback is an offshoot of ‘sandwich’ except there’s no cushion, just brutal excrement, as when a promoter said:
‘You aren’t funny.’
‘No one laughed.’
‘Why did you leave your job at the bank?’
Not even a dozen Andrex toilet rolls complete with cute puppies can clean up that shitty mess. And for the record, No. I can’t get my old job back. They say I’m overqualified. Which really means: (guffaw) ‘Ha ha ha!’
Then there’s pity feedback, which is self-explanatory and occurs after a bad gig when a sympathetic person catches me at the bar drowning my sorrows: ‘Sniff, sniff, I’m a failure’.
‘Your voice projected well…’
Thanks. It’s called a microphone.
‘I love your outfit.’
I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt?
‘They don’t give you much time do they?’
I did 20 minutes – how long do I need to prove that I’m funny?
Finally there is handheld feedback. This is when a more experienced act watches your performance and provides you with a dedicated ‘one to one’.
I got very good advice, although I wasn’t too keen on holding hands while listening to all the information.
Don’t get me wrong I have gotten some great feedback. Problem is that it seems you can’t give positive feedback without adding the negative. (Exception is Aunt Agusta who is on her deathbed and when I visit everyone tells her ‘You’ve never looked better’.)
The lesson to take is not so much discarding feedback, but providing a bit more of the positives (also known as praise).
I myself have started praising fellow acts when things go well.
‘You were brilliant!’
Funny thing is that I’m not really doing it for them. I’m doing it for myself. Because I have learned that when you start praising others, it’s easier to praise yourself.
Published: 7 Feb 2017