Scotland Green and Alison Zeidman, hosts of ‘The Banter Show!’ premiering at The Creek & The Cave in New York City this Friday, October 30 banter about how to be better at banter in your everyday professional and social encounters! Take their advice, they’re almost experts!
Alison: Office smalltalk is one of the most important types of banter to master, because the longer you can sustain it, the less time you have to spend on actual work. Some surefire topics to get you going, and that’ll please the cubicle crowd: 1. “Man, this printer sure sucks, doesn’t it? What a sucky printer.” 2. “Ooooh, should we do a potluck on Friday?” 3. “You would not believe the customer I had on the phone this morning.” 4. “_______ wants _______ done by _______! How the heck are we supposed to do that?!” 5. “I don’t want to be the one to spread office gossip, but…[[something about adultery and/or fetish porn]]”
Scotland: Those are all good DO’s but here’s one DON’T that I’ve learned through trial and error. Don’t wait by the water cooler for someone to talk to you about last night’s professional wrestling pay-per-view. It’ll never happen.
Alison: Unless your boss is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Wait, it is? Wow, that’s pretty cool. What’s your job, washing sweaty muscle shirts? Oh dang, that’s not as cool.
Alison: Don’t even try it. You’re not cool enough. Also: It doesn’t mean anything that she put a design in your latte foam. She does that for everyone.
Scotland: Now you tell me. There’s four coffee shops in Bushwick that I can never go back to. Sometimes latte art feels really special, you know?
Alison: Wait, is one of them the one on Wyckoff? That’s different. She definitely likes you. Don’t screw it up! And also don’t tell her that you’ve been getting latte arts from other girls, you jerk!
Scotland: On the surface parties seem like an easy place to strike up a conversation. Booze can help but it can very easily hurt. One wrong move and your small talk misstep is the talk of the town. Don’t stay in one place for very long, and remember the easiest way to strike up a conversation is to complain about the bathroom line while in the bathroom line. One of my go-tos is to say to whoever is behind you in line, “I swear I’m going to be so quick in there!” It eases the tension and it’s a ridiculous way to start a conversation. They might even time you while you’re in there! Then you can time them and hope they don’t beat your score!
Alison: But what if you get in there and you accidentally hit your head on the mirror or the edge of the tub or something? Then you’re in there, passed out, and they’re standing there with a timer thinking about what a jerk you are. I think a better strategy would be to just not pee while you’re at a party–wait ‘til you get home. The anxiety over whether you’re going to make it to your apartment in time while speed up all of your conversations, and everyone loves a snappy fast-talker. Trying to hold in pee long enough to get home from a party was actually the inspiration for most of the banter on Gilmore Girls.
Scotland: This is an easy one if you live with more than one person. Just talk trash about the dude who isn’t there. They won’t be there to defend themselves or get in the way of the effortless conversation you’re having! If you only have one roommate, I suggest discussing favorite cheap beer or least favorite bug that’s in the apartment.
Alison: “Hey, ya like beer? Me too! You know who else probably likes beer? Dave, our roommate, that jerk! And Marty, that roach who lives next to the shower! What kind of beer do you think Marty drinks? Oh yeah, probably! Haha! Oh man! Hahaha!” See? Great banter.
Scotland: No one is a better roommate than Marty.
Scotland: This is bantering masterclass. It’s hard enough to strike up a conversation with people you already know but these are strangers. Strangers that are usually angry. Use that. Odds are you’re strange and angry too. “I dare you to cross your eyes in your photo” is a fun ice breaker. But if you want to really connect, you have to complain. Misery loves company and there is no more miserable place than the Department of Motor Vehicles. “Is this better than taking the bus? I’m starting to think it’s not.”
Alison: Only you would have tips on trying to connect with people at the DMV, Scotland. Are you really that lonely? You should definitely take the bus; I think you need to be around other people more.
Scotland: I’m trying to bring joy to joyless places!
Alison: Family banter is tricky, because it needs to be just good enough to get you through, say, Thanksgiving, without being so good that then you have every uncle, cousin, and estranged step-sibling friending you on Facebook and attempting to continue the banter in comments on your posts, because you’ve made the mistake of establishing yourself as “the fun one.” Unless you’re an advanced banter-er, your best bet with family banter is actually to just not do it. Stick to the facts about your life, and if you have to say anything more, try to make it specific to whatever’s happening at the time–things like “Aunt Liz’s gravy is my favorite” or “I’d really prefer we not talk about granddad’s funeral right now.”
Scotland: I’ve found that alcohol helps immensely with family banter. Also, as we learned with roommate banter, it’s always good to talk trash about whoever isn’t in attendance. Oh, Uncle Jeff is staying in Europe for the holidays? “It’s so funny that Uncle Jeff thinks he’s this cool world traveler but he’s really just sad and alone, right dad? He doesn’t have a wife and kids like you do.”
Alison: Dad’s probably jealous of Uncle Jeff’s freedom, though. Let’s be honest, mom and you and your siblings aren’t really that great. But I absolutely agree with Scotland’s sentiment about alcohol being a choice lubricant for family banter. Family event alcohol is also some of the best alcohol, because it’s usually free, unless your relatives are a bunch of cheapskates who wouldn’t spring for the open bar. Ugh. Now that’s a situation that’ll get people talking.
‘The Banter Show!’, a new stand-up comedy showcase where pairs of comedians are challenged to entertain an audience with their banter without any prior preparation, is this Friday, October 30 at 8pm at The Creek & The Cave. For more information visit http://creeklic.com/events/banter-show. ITS FREE!
Hosts Scotland Green and Alison Zeidman invite four pairs of comedians to entertain the audience with their banter, without any prior preparation or discussion prompt. Whenever their set starts to lull, the hosts will interrupt with a random discussion topic to keep the banter going. The first show will feature Shakir Standley (Last Comic Standing), Claudia Cogan (VH1), Rojo Perez (MTV’s Decoded), Jake Flores (SXSW), Katie Hannigan (Oxygen Network), Doug Smith (Montreal Just for Laughs), Myka Fox (Someecards), Nate Fridson (AST Records)