The Punchline

On Friday night one of my dreams became reality. I saw people in real life for a beer after work. Okay, that is just a recent fancy. A pre-covid fantasy I've always harboured came true five beers into Friday night when I was under the lights of a stand up comedy stage, microphone in hand and crowd waiting for me to speak. I've often wondered if this was a career I missed the calling for, given that I like crafting words together, making people laugh, and having conversations within the bounds of established social structures. When I was offered the chance after Chetan's show I didn't hesitate other than for a second of faux-modesty and I stepped up onto the stage and delivered what I thought were the better of my draft Tweets that I never published between 2019 and 2022. Including such pithy gems as:

"Every morning my wife measures her weight, body fat percentage, muscle tone and then tracks it over time. And yet she claims cricket is boring."

"I keep having the same dream where I grow extra teeth."

"Who here saw their dad's penis at some point in your lives? It's like a rite of passage. But I am thinking of blocking him on Snapchat."

The results were predictable. I enunciated poorly, delivered the punchlines too rapidly, and no one laughed. Sometimes people laughed when other people around them explained the joke. (It was an intimate venue). I'll be honest, I was a little bit disheartened, but Chetan shared some feedback that was very apt and I wanted to record it here so I remember it in future. It boiled down to: You have to read your audience. Some of these jokes might have been funnier with the right delivery, but it doesn't matter how well constructed or clever a joke is if the audience is not ready to hear it. At 9pm on a Friday night after everyone else has had five beers the punchlines need to match the mood. That is something I never truly gave enough significance to in a lot of what I have written and said and almost definitely explains why I never got many retweets. I will be aiming in all pursuits not to simply know my audience, but cater to my audience, in things going forward.


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