Recently I went to see a well-known observational comedian perform stand-up at a community-based theatre in a rather affluent part of town. The scheduling of the gig was such that the audience was smaller than expected and I think this threw the stand-up off his stride a little. Nonetheless there was some extremely funny banter with audience members as the comedian tried to gauge the character of the audience and its boundaries. He established in the first half that a small joke about oral sex was not going to go down well, so to speak, with an audience containing 14 year old boys in the front row. The lights were dimmed so I assume he could not see any further back. A joke about trading down during the Recession from Waitrose to ASDA was met with some incomprehension by the generally affluent audience who were probably uneasy at laughing at fat people in tracksuits. Also because they’d probably never even seen ASDA, let alone been inside one.
Something odd seemed to happen during the interval, though. The well-known observational comedian seemed to make up his mind that he was going to take on this tough audience. So interspersed with very funny stuff about Prep school rugby dads in the second half, there was a borderline bad taste woman joke, which left me so cold that I cannot now remember what it was, and loads more stuff about poo. Poo is only funny to a certain extent. Oh, and lots more about oral sex. Now, I don’t consider myself a prude but I might have laughed a little more if I hadn’t had my 13 year old daughter sitting right next to me, and two much younger children in my line of sight. Oh dear.