Dear Constant Reader,
It’s Friday — time for a tip! But first I want to recognize that it’s Juneteenth today. The artists of The Front Porch Arts Collective have been celebrating all week and you should check out today’s programs!
And now your tip:
Review, reflect, revise.
Take a look at your acts with fresh and honest eyes, especially if you’ve been performing for a long time. Are your acts still appropriate to be performed? What can you do to change them up?
Are they at your current skill level? You may have grown beyond where you were when that act was created. If so, up your game or retire the act.
If you’re using pop culture or current event references, are they still relevant? You don’t want the act to feel dated or to leave the audience confused. I’ve seen great topical acts that kill when they debut and the reference is fresh, only to bomb six months later when no one remembers.
If you have very local reference in your act, would they be confusing for an out-of-town audience? Maybe make a more generic version or do some research and tailor it to the locale. Audiences love it when you make the effort.
Are you using any tropes that are no longer acceptable? Even if a classic performer did it back in the day, it may not be okay now. “Vintage style, not vintage values”.
This also applies to hosts and MCs. Check your schtick. Make sure all your stock bits and jokes still fly. Comedy is hard — what’s considered funny changes all the time. Some classic burlesque bits that had them rolling in the aisles in 1930 are horrifying now.