Is It Worth It?

Your opening is important, and that hasn’t changed with shows moving over to Zoom. Recently I was performing on variety show that took place on zoom and one of the acts opened with a “frozen screen gag” where it looked like his screen was frozen, but he was really just holding up a picture of himself in front of the camera. I guess, it’s funny, it’s not a particularly clever gag (Mario’s card gag with a frozen screen is way better and very clever).

Here’s the problem with the gag, if you do it and you’re really having technical difficulties it’s not good. Most of the issue’s I’ve noticed with zoom variety shows are right out of the gate when you first pop on screen. Doing a technical difficulty gag at that point is rough if you are actually having technical difficulty. The act I worked didn’t have their audio on, and the guy running the tech had no way to give that info to the act.

It was awkward.

Had the act not done the frozen screen bit, it would have gotten resolved much quicker. Just imagine if he did have tech problems with audio (which was real) and if he had planned to do the frozen screen gag later in the show, but then pulled that out, it would have played 10 times better and been super funny.

Your opening is soo important, it’s a risk vs reward thing. Is the risk of doing a frozen screen gag before you’re aware that you aren’t having tech problems worth the reward of a laugh or two?

I don’t know.

It’s an artistic choice the performer has to make. Every trick is a risk vs reward scenario.