The worst thing a comedian can do onstage
The "No. 1 rule" in standup according to Richard Belzer.
Terry Gross asked Richard Belzer, “What are some of the mistakes you've seen [bad comics] make that you've learned from?” His answer: Speed up.
Well, a lot of them make the mistake that I made when I first started, and that's to rush your material when you're not getting a laugh, to speed it up. And that's the death knell. That's the worst thing you can do, is to speed up the material. What I used to do, my fatal flaw, was I would get mad at the audience for not laughing, not thinking it was me. So I would get hostile towards the audience for not laughing. And you're just kind of built into this trap that I would put myself in and had to kind of verbally dance my way out of. But I soon realized that the thing to do is to take your time and not rush the material. I'd say that's the No. 1 rule.
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P.S. Here’s Belzer interviewing Leonard Cohen…