I have 12 shows under my belt now with this bit. It turns out that baby juggling is a somewhat sensitive topic. The jokes that are good get a laugh and I don’t feel like I lose the audience. However, the jokes that are almost there or just plain bad really push the audience away. It’s strange to have them laugh at two or three consecutive baby juggling jokes and then lose them completely with a baby juggling joke they didn’t like. It’s made it difficult to explore the idea because the whole bit feels like a field of landmines. I need some kind of bomb sniffing joke dog. Maybe a dachshund. I would tell people it was a service dog and wear it like a baby. It would sense when I was about to bomb and yip to let me know.
….I’ve discovered two things about the presentation of the Baby Juggling bit that help.
1. If I make it seem spontaneous, like I am thinking these things for the first time, the audience will go further with me.
2. When I mime juggling babies…I lose them instantly.
I also managed to get this joke to work:
I’m not the first person to imagine throwing a baby. I am the first person to imagine catching it again. And then throwing it, and then catching it. You guys know how juggling works.
By changing it to this:
I know most of the people in this theater have imagined throwing a baby…
I also added this joke:
These jokes don’t seem funny now but you’d find them hilarious if I told them on a airplane.
It has been getting a good response but I don’t think the wording is right yet. I feel like the connection between crying babies and airplanes is strong enough that just saying airplanes is enough but it’s possible that I need clearer language or to load up the front end of the joke with a little more information. I hope not. I’m hoping the the problem is in my delivery, timing, or the place,not of the joke in the routine.
I continue to have fun performing my Denangelo and it’s growing show by show into a full length bit. At this point, even if I don’t manage a full Deangelo, I’ve found a couple of okay tags to my original joke and a really fun new joke that gets solid laughs. Because I’ve been paying extra close attention to this bit I’ve accidentally created a simple system for notating the success of jokes. I find it really usefull and I’ll share it on the site sometime in the future.
I’d recommend trying to take a joke about juggling in your show and turn it into a Deangelo. It’s a satisfying expereince and it will stretch the way you think about and perform comedy juggling.