Hey Comics! Here’s How To Get More Compliments After a Set

elis sairs

New York comic runs a free comedy show called Wildcats with and every second Friday of the month at 8 pm at The Creek and The Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave, Queens). The Wildcats are a street gang that surprises audiences by invading a respectable event or charity and using it as a playground for their offensive comedy anarchy, like a punk rock 3 Stooges.


Right when you get off stage, if your set was good enough, there are a few seconds of satisfaction. Even happiness! That will likely fade by the time you’ve stood in the back of the room looking at your phone for a few seconds. You’re not really processing what you’re looking at; you’re in your own head. “I’ve been standing here forever, like for at least 19 seconds. Why has no one said ‘good set’ yet? I can understand the audience not saying it, they’re still watching the show, waiting politely to be able to get up and come compliment me. But all these comics standing back here, what’s their problem? Didn’t they see what I just did??”

And you’re right to think that way. Compliments are the best. Compliments are why I do this. I call them ‘ments. I’m not some sell out comic who’s in it for the drink tickets- I’m a true artist who’s in it for the ‘ments. We all should be. A lot of us do comedy because we never got ‘ments in other areas. We get the last laugh, though– those losers from your hometown may get compliments on how attractive they are, the nice job they have, the house they own, their stable and happy life; but we get to be told “hey, good stuff” by a drunk, stumbling 36 year old at 12:30 AM on a Monday. Who’s the real winner here, huh? So while they get their trivial compliments, like “nice hair,” or “you can provide health care for your children,” here are some tips on how to get more of the kind of ‘ments that really matter. Comedy ‘ments.

Talk to an audience member. This is an easy one. It’s preferable for someone in the crowd to just walk by and say “you’re amazing,” but sometimes you have to earn it. By engaging a member of the audience, you’ll get to hear “you did really great,” but will also have to deal with “I’m thinking about doing comedy.” As you tune out everything that’s said after you get that sweet compliment, the only advice you’ll want to give is “No. Don’t become like this. It’s not too late for you.”

Try talking to another comic. Maybe immediately after your set. It only takes about half a minute of no feedback for a comic to second guess whether they should be doing comedy or even be alive, so you may need to get that ‘ment right away. Go up to a comic and whisper quietly (out of respect for the person less talented than you on stage) “hey, when are you up?” But hesitate before you say it- right after the “hey,” give a slight pause (keeping your mouth open like you’re about to say something), leaving a slight window of silence. They will say “good set” before they even know what they’re doing. Got ’em! Look mildly confused, as if you forgot you were even on stage a minute ago, and wave off the ‘ment with an “oh, thanks.” Then finish asking when they’re going up. Or just walk away. You got what you wanted.

You could also wait until after the show to talk to another comic. Make sure both off you are in an area where there will be heavy audience foot traffic. Talk about something comedy related- what shows she’s got coming up, or talk about your respective sets. But also be thinking about the crowd members filing past. It is very important that your body is angled such that you don’t seem closed off. Your head should be facing the comic, but cheat your body out towards the passing crowd. They are already intimidated by how much of a genius you are, you don’t want to completely scare them away. This is the perfect set up for someone to pass by and give a quick “awesome job” and for you to give a “thanks so much!” then immediately go back to talking to your friend. This way you get brief compliments from the people who make all this possible– the wonderful crowd members who you do this for and who give your life purpose– without running much risk of having to actually talk to one of these boring commoners.

When they say “you were funny,” act surprised, like you didn’t expect anyone to even be here, in the only place people can exit. Laugh slightly as you humbly say “Oh, thanks!”

This final one is the Hail Mary: stand by the doorway as people file out of the show room. This is desperate. But maybe you’re going into ‘ment withdrawal and need a fix. There aren’t many ways to make this one look natural. You can lean against the wall looking at your phone, maybe making it look like you’re tired and catching your breath after the 8 minutes of heavy labor you just put in. You could make it seem like you’re looking around distracted, and your eyes just happen to land on an audience member’s eyes right as they pass. When they say “you were funny,” act surprised, like you didn’t expect anyone to even be here, in the only place people can exit. Laugh slightly as you humbly say “Oh, thanks!”

Or, you know what? Just stare everyone down as they leave. Who cares at this point? Bully the compliments out of them. Yes, some ‘ments will be forced and fake, but you can twist them into something sincere in your head. You’ve convinced yourself your big break is around the corner for nine years, you’ve got a gold medal in mental gymnastics at this point. Or even act a little annoyed when you say “thanks.” Make them think they inconvenienced you by complimenting you. This will confuse them and only make them want to compliment you more. You have to know how to play this ‘ment game. It’s a battlefield, look out for yourself. In times like these, it is very important that we do not band together, and that we all look after only our own inflated egos and compulsive need for validation from people we didn’t even know existed a couple hours earlier.


Eli Sairs is a comic in NYC, follow him on Twitter: @elisairs. He runs a free comedy show called Wildcats with Joel Walkowski and Jeff Wesselschmidt every second Friday of the month at 8 pm at The Creek and The Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave, Queens). The Wildcats are a street gang that surprises audiences by invading a respectable event or charity and using it as a playground for their offensive comedy anarchy, like a punk rock 3 Stooges.

The next show is Friday, February 12th at 8 pm, with comics (writer for Inside , ), Ariel Elias (Hell Yes Fest) and more.

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Eli Sairs

New York comic Eli Sairs runs a free comedy show called Wildcats with Joel Walkowski and Jeff Wesselschmidt every second Friday of the month at 8 pm at The Creek and The Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave, Queens). The Wildcats are a street gang that surprises audiences by invading a respectable event or charity and using it as a playground for their offensive comedy anarchy, like a punk rock 3 Stooges.

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Eli Sairs
Eli Sairs
New York comic Eli Sairs runs a free comedy show called Wildcats with Joel Walkowski and Jeff Wesselschmidt every second Friday of the month at 8 pm at The Creek and The Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave, Queens). The Wildcats are a street gang that surprises audiences by invading a respectable event or charity and using it as a playground for their offensive comedy anarchy, like a punk rock 3 Stooges.