Comedy Vocabulary

19 Dec

Have you ever been talking to a stand up comedian and thought, “What the hell is this person talking about??”  Happens to me everyday.  Here are some helpful vocabulary words to help you understand what dafuq is going on.

Blue– (adjective) A comic who tells dirty jokes. “You’re too blue to work in this Downtown Disney club!  Children come here!”

Bombed– (verb) When a comic performs very poorly.  Also known as, “Eating A Dick.”  “They hated me, I completely bombed.  They threw tomato sauce cans at me.”

Booked Open Mic– (noun)  A place to practice jokes, which requires you to sign up in advance. “I’d invite you to come along, but it’s a booked open mic.”

Booker– (noun)  The person who invites comics to be on the show. “The booker told me she would let me open if I… (whisper whisper whisper).”

Bringer– (adjective)  A show that require performers to bring a certain amount of people.  “Please please PLEASE come to this show, I need four bringers or I can’t perform!”

Bumped– (verb)  When a comic shows up to an open mic which they weren’t on the list for, and get to immediately go on stage.  “Louis CK bumped me.  So, in a way, I opened for Louis CK.”

Check Drop– (verb)  The part of the show where the wait-staff gives the patrons their checks, and they completely lose interest in the show.  “I did my most racist material duing the check drop.”

Crowd Work– (verb)  When a comic talks to the audience and bounces jokes off their responses. “I’m like Barbara Walters with my crowd work.  Where you from?  What do you do?  Are you a closeted homosexual?”

Do Time– (verb)  What it’s called when you perform a set.  “I just showed up to drop off these cartons of mangos, and the booker asked if I wanted to do time.”

Dropped In– (verb) When a comic is not booked on a show but comes and does time anyway. “I was at the Comedy Studio when Sandra Bullock dropped in.  No, I wasn’t.  But I heard it was cool.”

Feature– (noun) The performer who goes after the opener, and before the headliner. “During the feature act, I went outside to make out with my boyfriend in the parking lot.  Alright, it was just some guy.  But still.  It was hot.”

Femedian– (noun) A female stand up comedian who is supportive of and cheers on other female comedians. “There are so many wonderful things about being a Femedian, and supporting them too!”

Green– (adjective) Describes a newer comic.  “It was his fifth time on stage, he’s pretty green.  But he did thirty minutes anyway.”

Guest Spot– (noun) An unpaid set on a show, usually not advertised.  “I was just showing up to tell everyone about the British coming, and the booker let me do a guest spot.”

Hacks– (noun) A terrible performer.  “He did fifteen minutes of knock-knock jokes.  And they all ended in the N-word.  He’s kind of a hack.”

Headliner– (noun) The last performer on the show, usually who the majority of the audience is there to see.  “The headliner has been on Last Comic Standing, Dancing With The Stars, The Tonight Show, and I heard he once rode inside a Macy’s Day float.”

Heckler– (noun) A person in the audience who talks during a show.  Not always yelling, “BOO!” but anyone who disrupts the show by trying to participate. “This heckler would NOT STOP talking the entire show so I shot him in the throat with a cross-bow.  I’m waiting to hear back about the court date.”

Host– (noun) The performer who does time at the beginning of the show, and then introduces the other comics to the stage. “When I hosted at Winner’s Circle, I brought the audience salt water taffey candies.  It was a great way to get rid of them.”

Killed– (verb) When a performer does very very well on a show.  “An audience member litterally peed her pants.  I killed.  I destroyed.  I crushed.”

Opener– (noun) The first performer on the show, before the feature.  “The opener was a guy visiting from Arizona.  He lost two fingers in the snow.”

Open Mic’er– (noun) Someone who is new and not yet being invited to perform on booked shows.  It can be used in a derogatory manner. “Your opinion is not going to be taken into consideration because you’re just an open mic’er, so how could you possibly know what we should get as a pizza topping?”

Premise– (noun) The overall idea or theme of a joke.  “It was a good premise, but it wasn’t well executed.  Now, Ted Bundy.  HE was well executed!”

Punchline– (noun) The funny part of a joke.  “That punchline was the line that really punched me in the funny bone!”

Road Comic– (noun) A performer who primary travels around performing. “Need a safe barn to sleep in when you visit Minnesota?  Ask that road comic, she’d know.”

Road Show– (noun) A show that isn’t where the comic locally performs.  “I always get wicked car sick on road shows.”

Room– (noun) Club, theater, bar, art gallery, or basement where stand up comedy is happening.  “Whose room is the best for really blue comics?”

Set– (noun) A performer’s performance.  “The first half of his set went great, the second half went bananas.”

Set List– (noun) The jokes a comic chooses to tell.  “Could you please stop telling me about your back surgery?  I’m trying to work on my set list.”

Set Up– (noun)  The part of the joke that leads to the punchline.  “Judging my the set up, I thought it was going to be a dick joke.  But then it wasn’t!”

Show and Go– (noun) An open mic which is not booked, anyone can perform.  “Get out of my way, jerks!  I’m going to a show and go and I can’t be late!” 

Showcase Show– (noun) A show that has many comedians booked.  “I was the sixth comic on the show.  That’s a good spot because the audience is warmed up but not yet hammered.”

Stretch– (verb) Do more time, keep going, tell more jokes.  “The headliner was stuck in traffic behind a Pride Parade, so I had to stretch.”

Tag– (noun) A part of a joke used to get a second or third laugh.  “You could write like, two or three more tags for that joke.  Keep going!  Keep tagging!  And as a person whose never done stand up you should definitely take my advice.”

The Light– (noun) A way the club indicated to the performer that they have one more minute left on stage.  “I kept giving him the light but he just kept talking!  I’m never booking this pirate again!”

The List– (noun) At an open mic, this is where the comics sign up to perform.  “‘Scuse me, I’m just gonna check the list.  Wanna see where I’m going up so lemme just check the list.  Sorry, excuse me, just gonna take a peek at the list.  Been here  twenty minutes, hasn’t been my turn yet, gotta check the list.”

Tight Five– (noun) The best five minutes of material a comic has.  “I went on Letterman and did my tight five.  Then he handed me a million dollar bill for my efforts.  Nice guy, nice guy.”

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