To whom do you listen?


Quote courtesy of thehappinessinsititute.com


This quote resonated with me big-time, not just because of my recent ramblings and thoughts on the topic of jealousy, but because of my tendency as a performer (and I am sure I’m not alone here!) to put undue importance on people in the crowd who do NOT look like they’re enjoying themselves.

I did have a bit of a breakthrough moment one gig a few years back. I was watching Greg Sullivan do his thing (wonderful, wonderful comic and human being), and noticed one woman in the crowd with her arms folded, all but scowling. I watched her all throughout the night, and no matter whose set it was, she kept the same lemon-faced expression. Solid. Committed. I’m not gonna have fun.

Now, there could have been a million reasons for this. She might have had a toothache. Somebody in her family might have died. She might have been peeved at her friends for forcing her to go to a comedy night when they over-ruled her fun-night suggestion of karaoke. She might have been in a really crappy mood. Or…she might just be one of those people who doesn’t like to smile. (Who ARE you? And WHYYYYYYY?)

Bottom line is, as I watched her continue to hold fast to her un-smiling ways during Greg’s set, while the rest of the crowd were having the time of their lives, I suddenly found myself having a silent conversation with this woman: “Honey, if you can’t find it within yourself to enjoy this, then that is 100% about YOU.”

I remember this when I’m drawn to finding those poker-faced members of a crowd. That, and not everybody is going to like me. (I really am totally down with that now, btw. It only seems fair. I don’t like everybody either!) But I now try to make a habit of actively seeking out my allies in the audience – i.e. the faces that smile back, the ones that want me to succeed – and make sure I keep connecting with them throughout. They’re my peeps. Why waste energy trying to win over the ones who dislike you rather than focusing on enjoying the ones who already like who you are?

It kinda reminds me of something the incredible Gary Austin said in his closing comments at the New York Masterclass:

“Associate with good people. People who know things you don’t know, people who are smarter than you, people who do things you can’t do, people who admire and respect you. And walk away from people who hurt you. The best way out of a bad situation is through the door.”

#Improv #audience #negativity #criticism #comedy

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