Not too long ago I picked up a copy of The Truth in Comedy which is about doing improv. It’s an interesting book, and I’m about a third of the way through the book. One of the main concepts if trying to find the real moments and not shoehorning jokes into a real moment.
A real moment is always more interesting than a prepared joke. I very much agree with this. In the past I’ve been more about getting to the joke and forgotten to play. I try to be good about playing, but it doesn’t always happen.
The hard part is when you have a routine that was built on audience interaction, however the real moments have become so predictable, you are just jumping joke to joke.
For me a good example is my card catch routine. This was built on playing with the audience and for the first about 50 shows it was a lot of playing. Then I noticed the routine became very scripted, people pretty much reacted the same way the whole routine. Once I realized what the routine was becoming, I started working to phase it out of the show for a bit.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the routine regularly in the show. Occasionally I’ll do the routine and it’s playing much better as I’m able to get back into the moment during the trick. It was hard taking the routine out of the show, but it’s made the routine better!