Well, it’s been an exciting couple of weeks since our show opened. As you can see from what I’ve posted, we’ve received some really nice reviews, and for those of you who don’t know, we had a Nightline segment about our show last week. Apparently, making fun of Hillary Clinton is all the rage these days, and Nightline did a story about it. They interviewed me (via speakerphone, while I had to pretend like I was talking to the sound guy who was sitting across from me) and showed a lot of clips from the scene in the show called “Killer,” where I, as Hillary Clinton, try to hire a hit man (Brian Gallivan) to kill Barack Obama.
All this publicity has resulted in ridiculously swift ticket sales – our Saturdays at 8 are sold out for the next 5 weeks, and we added a nearly sold-out 11pm last night (Thursday). I think the material success of this show has produced some mixed feelings among the cast; I think a lot of us feel that our last show was as good as this one – though also very different – so why is this one getting so much attention? I think the title has a lot to do with it, first of all. Iraqtile Dysfunction got good crowds for the same reason. I think Chris Jones of the Tribune calling it the funniest show in years has a lot of effect. And from there, we get national exposure from Nightline (and the New York Daily News, I just discovered), and so on.
The nice thing is that our peers seem to be praising this show as much as the press. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me after seeing the show and say “Good show,” followed perhaps by a hand on my shoulder and then, “No really, good show.” This speaks to the fact that we all know that compliments are thrown around a lot with varying levels of sincerity. Saying “no really, good show” actually does say something to me – the person saying it is acknowledging that even though they’ve said “good show” to be nice in the past, this time they really mean it.
Which brings me to…what to say to performers after you see their show. Or more like what not to say.
1. Do not say “hey!” and hug me without saying anything else.
2. Do not say “That was fun,” “You looked like you were having fun,” or really any sentence with the word “fun” in it.
3. Do not say nothing at all. If you were at the show and are friends or acquaintances with anyone in the cast, they probably know you were there. If you do have to leave right after the show, send an email to at least one of the cast members within the next 24 hours.
These are all indications that you did not like the show. Now, I have no problem with your right not to like the show, but after many years as a performer and an audience member, I’ve decided that this is a fully acceptable time to lie. If you really don’t want to say “That was a great show” if you really don’t mean it, here are some alternatives:
1. “Congratulations!” I mean, they opened a show that they’ve spent at least 2 months working on. Even if it was bad, they should be congratulated for getting through it. Even if a kid passes with D’s, you still congratulate him when he graduates high school.
2. “You did a great job!” (This works if you didn’t like the show as a whole but thought the person was good)
3. Pick one thing that person did that you really liked. This can be very tricky, especially in a Second City show if you pick something that they didn’t have any hand in creating. Monologues or songs performed by that person are usually a safe bet. “You Al Gore song was hilarious” is good. “The way you said ‘three’ in that Slovenia cast scene was funny” is not good.
Of course you may certainly opt to have everyone know that you didn’t like the show. But know that if you choose this option, the cast will devote time to discussing why you must hate them so much, most likely resting upon the conclusion that you are bitter and jealous.
I hope this serves as a helpful guide for your future show-watching experiences.