At Netflix I have been enjoying watching the current (tenth) season of Jerry Seinfeld’s TV show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. In Episode 2 Dave Chapelle says:
“For most people, not caring about the scrutiny of other people is one of the hardest things to do. I would even say harder than public speaking itself.”
In Episode 5 there is a longer exchange between Brian Regan and Jerry about evaluations by critics. It’s way more useful advice than the 1993 comedy routine public speaking coaches keep repeating:
“Jerry: It is one of the comforts of comedy, I think, that almost never do people who are really good not get anywhere. Almost never.
Brian: And I think it’s because of the objective response.
Brian: No one can take away the laughs.
Brian: If it was just acting, it’s subjective and someone could say, ‘they’re not that good. They don’t have this. They don’t have that.’ But if you go on stage and make people laugh, nobody can say, ‘They’re not laughing.’
Jerry: That’s what’s so funny to me when you get a negative review, which we all get from time to time. And you want to say…’They’ve already voted. I’m sorry. I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but the vote – We took a vote that night, and out of 2,000 people – I know you got this job at the newspaper, but it doesn’t mean anything.’
Brian: ‘It’s too late.’ You’re gonna go back and tell those people not to go in the past to the show they laughed at. Don’t. If you have a time machine, I’m telling you, don’t get in it and go back to Friday.
Brian: I’m trying to make the audience laugh, and then – I’m not trying to please some guy at a typewriter, you know?
Jerry: Here we go again. There’s no typewriters any more, okay? Speaking of time machines, you need one. And set it to ‘present.’ “
The microphone image came from Wikimedia Commons.