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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, February 3

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Comedy Fri Apr 29 2011

How To Be A Good Audience Member

Anyone who has seen live comedy knows one of the biggest hurdles to enjoying a show can be hearing the comic over the inevitable presence of the (hopefully singular) drunk, loud, chatty audience member. If you can't think of who that person was at the last show you went to, it was probably you.

Two of Chicago's most up-and-coming comics shared their thoughts with me recently, in an effort to shed some light on the question that is (and should be) looming in everyones mind: 'How can I be a good audience member?'.

Beth Stelling is one of Chicago's rising female comedians who has performed in venues all over the country. Beth co-hosts Entertaining Julia at the Town Hall Pub every Sunday night at 9 pm.

(My) pet peeve is when you get so wasted you start talking louder than the comic onstage. Sometimes you even think you're doing a good thing by going up to said comic after you talked through their whole set to say how funny they were and how they were your favorite and the other comics aren't as funny, while one of those comics is now onstage. ...and the cycle repeats!

Beth's other advice to her future fans and audiences?

Laugh often, laugh loudly. also: I'd love to talk with you after the show!

Dan Telfer, co-producer of Chicago Underground Comedy (Tuesday nights at the Beat Kitchen) and another Chicago comedy rising star, also has some thoughts on the subject.

Forget about your baggage. When you step into a performance venue, set aside your bitterness, your entitlement, your hopes, your pain. This performance is a distraction. The best kind of distraction, but a distraction none-the-less. In particular, nothing ruins comedy more than holding onto baggage. And if you drink, you might make the horrible mistake of having a chip on your shoulder. Nobody wants to hear you drunkenly shriek that your cousin was ripped apart by feral koalas 10 years ago. They want to hear the comedian tell their joke about how koalas are better than people.

The next time you are at a show and you feel the impulse to "contribute," remember this: comedy is an art-form and deserves your full attention and respect. Also keep in mind that a good comic is quick-witted and will not hesitate to request your cooperation - in front of the entire audience.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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