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Lesson 24: Compering a Night (And Being Funny While Doing It)

The role of the compere (or emcee/MC) is a crucial one in a stand-up comedy night and the compere has many things to do as the night unfolds. One part of their role is to deal with hecklers . For more on this, see the previous lesson. Aside from that, put simply, as the compere your role is to warm the audience up at the start, bring the acts on and then round off the night at the end. I break down this apparently simple role into a sequence of steps through the night below, and then I go on to consider the ways in which comperes get laughs. First though, the key thing is that the audience must like you. You could be cheeky or rude, as long as they like that. They must trust you are in contr

Lesson 23: Dealing with Heckling

Hecklers often believe that heckling is all part of the fun and that comedians welcome it and that it helps them. While there are some comics who relish taking on a heckly audience, most comics want to do their act without it being interrupted by shouted interjections that they have to deal with. (And you do have to deal with it – ignoring them is not an option). When I interviewed my friend and top compere Barry Ferns for my book (in a quote I didn’t have room for in the final draft) he had this to say on hecklers: “I see audience members as individual neurons that together make up the brain of the audience. But they're all individually firing in their own way. If you get one neuron that's

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